From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Preach to the choir
Icon religion.svg
Crux of the matter
Speak of the devil
An act of faith
"Lord Ivywood is very enthusiastic ... He was saying only the other day at the Flower Show here that the time had come for a full unity between Christianity and Islam."
"Something called Chrislam perhaps," said the Irishman, with a moody eye.
—G.K. Chesterton[1]

Chrislam is, as the name implies, a name for various curious blends of Christianity and Islam. It is sometimes used as a pejorative term for Christians who are seen as being too nice to Muslims, but can also refer to genuine attempts at a syncretic faith uniting principles of the two religions.[2]

It is a cheesy title for an attempt to marry two doctrinally incompatible religions; clearly, Islamstianity would work much better. Although used as a snarl word by the religious right in the USA, in Nigeria it is used to refer to sincere attempts to join the two religions, though there are arguments about who should get the credit. The leading proponents have been Tela Tella's Ifeoluwa movement and Shamsuddin Saka's Oke-Tude.[2][3]

Supporters[Who?] hope Chrislam will focus on the similarities between the two religions and reduce tensions. Others[Who?] are more pessimistic, believing that any blending of Christianity and Islam will result in Islam coming out on top. One example they cite is of churches in London allowing the use of their buildings for Islamic services, which resulted in little change on the Islamic side;[4] however, this might not be applicable to the situation in Nigeria, specifically in that it fails to confirm the unfounded rumors that there are still practicing Christians within the Church of England.

Earlier examples at producing a single unified world religion, such as Sikhism or Bahai, have tended to result in splintering rather than unification, and in the case of Sikhism a bloodbath in Amritsar and assassination of Indira Gandhi. So the prospects for Chrislam are not hopeful.

Tela Tella[edit]

One of the most well-known versions is Ifeoluwa, founded by a Nigerian named Tela Tella who, like so many others, fancies himself a prophet who received a divine telegram from God. Tella goes by the aphorism, "The same sun that dries the clothes of Muslims also dries the clothes of Christians;"[5] God apparently did not see fit to mention to him that disproportionate numbers of Christians use tumble-dryers for that purpose instead.

Tella believes the Bible and Qur'an are inadequate and has been supplementing them with his own scriptures, the Ifeoluwa Book.

In more reality-based terms, Chrislam is a response to the current situation in Nigeria, where there is a good deal of intercommunal violence between Christians and Muslims, which each comprise about half of the country's population. Like many others facing the same situation, Tella has resorted to syncretism in an attempt to unify the two religions and make the fighting stop.

Shamsuddin Saka[edit]

Shamsuddin (or Samson) Saka was born a Muslim but decided he liked quite a lot about Christianity. He performs services at a Christ-adorned mosque in Lagos, mixing readings and prayers from both religions, while also promoting traditional herbalism.[3]


The term is also used to attack anyone who suggests Christians shouldn't hate Muslims. It's unclear whether fundamentalist Christians believe Chrislam is an actual conspiracy to turn all Christians into Muslims, or just use it as an insult. Megastar televangelist Rick Warren has been attacked for his outreach to Muslims by an entertaining website called Exposing Chrislam.[6] Warren has denied this, claiming he is simply following the Biblical injunction to love one's enemies.[7]

Infowars has suggested Pope Francis is part of a Chrislamic conspiracy to impose a "one world religion", presumably in conjunction with a single world government.[8]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Chrislam (with that name) appears in Arthur C. Clarke's novel The Hammer of GodWikipedia as a religion that mixes Christianity with Islam and some Hinduism, founded by a female veteran of the Gulf War who calls herself "(Prophetess) Fatima Magdalene" later, and whose followers end up having an important part in the plot.

See also[edit]