Challenge/What If: Christianity Revival/Comeback In The Middle East and North Africa During The Modern Era

Is it realistically possible for Christianity to become more mainstream and more common in North Africa and the Middle East again by the time of the modern era? What would have to happen for it to occur? Can a native Middle Eastern government pull it off on its own? Does this require European colonization and/or influence? And what are the effects?
 
Except for Lebanon, this needs to have something related to European settlement or colonization to have a small amount of chance. Don't expect the Native ME people to convert, though. Unlike Americas, they had an organized religion and structure already.
 
Except for Lebanon, this needs to have something related to European settlement or colonization to have a small amount of chance. Don't expect the Native ME people to convert, though. Unlike Americas, they had an organized religion and structure already.
Christianity was also common throughout the Middle East back then. Encouraging similar policies the Muslim caliphates used could help. That or coupling modernization efforts with Christian conversion efforts.
 
There was some minor conversion to Maronite Christianity from Islam during the French colonial period and 1800s let me find the source but some members of the Chehab family did convert from Islam to Maronite Christianity .
 


Thought this map would help. At least get Egypt, the Levant, Anatolia, and/or even Iraq to see more Christians. Bonus if the rest of North Africa, Iran, Sudan, the Horn of Africa, Eritrea, and/or even the Arabian Peninsula can do.
 
Spain takes Algiers instead of Tunis in the 1530s; it's too far from the Ottoman base of power and closer to the Spanish, making it far easier for the Christian powers to retain it. From there, you get a gradual Spanish and/or French takeover of North Africa, lasting from the 1500s onwards, which perhaps would be enough to get to a majority Christian population as that's roughly the same timeframe it took Islam to get to (slight!) majority status in Egypt.
 
Make sure that the Europeans manage to take control of all the Middle East, destroy Mecca and all the mosques they find before massacring en masse the remaining Muslim population to force them to convert. However, I'm not sure that this is desirable...
 
Not realistic at all.

Only case of large scale Islam to Christianity conversion is when semi nomadic tribes convert to Russia Orthodox Church. There are no condition that enable modern Christianity able to convert settled Muslim people. Islamic conversion to atheism/communism is more likely. There are no indication modern Christianity had any ability to pull Muslim convert.
 
I think your best chance is the Maghreb. If the French Revolution you both keep an absolutist Catholic monarchy in power and also keep a very high birth rate in France. Any annexation of the Maghreb could thus be swamped by French settlers and have a very active evangelical movement if a King so desires it.

A much greater stretch, but an idea I have been flirting with, is to have a brutal Arab regime in charge of Egypt result in nationalism playing out in a way that sees Coptics as the "true" Egyptians with an Egyptian faith and Egyptian language, with Islam increasingly being seen as an Arab colonial culture. Basically, it reflects the role Christianity had in Korea vs Japan, where a native Christianity is seen as the liberation movement against the occupier. If the regime combats this by trying to destroy elements of Egyptian culture like the pyramids etc, it could further push a lot more people to being non-religious and/or Christian.
 
Not realistic at all.

Only case of large scale Islam to Christianity conversion is when semi nomadic tribes convert to Russia Orthodox Church. There are no condition that enable modern Christianity able to convert settled Muslim people. Islamic conversion to atheism/communism is more likely. There are no indication modern Christianity had any ability to pull Muslim convert.
Spain, Sicily.
 
A much greater stretch, but an idea I have been flirting with, is to have a brutal Arab regime in charge of Egypt result in nationalism playing out in a way that sees Coptics as the "true" Egyptians with an Egyptian faith and Egyptian language, with Islam increasingly being seen as an Arab colonial culture. Basically, it reflects the role Christianity had in Korea vs Japan, where a native Christianity is seen as the liberation movement against the occupier. If the regime combats this by trying to destroy elements of Egyptian culture like the pyramids etc, it could further push a lot more people to being non-religious and/or Christian.
Egypt's has been Arab majority and Islamic for centuries. Coptic language has been dead for centuries and has the church has no prestige.
 
What is the "modern era" in this context? This being pre-1900, I'm assuming something like "after the Enlightenment" is meant-- or do you mean the broadest interpretation of "modern", which includes basically everything as of 1500 or so? I'm asking because it really matters. For Christianity in North Africa and the Near East, "the sooner the better" is the adage by which a POD should be selected if one desires the greatest success. The history of Christianity in the Islamic World has been one of decline, and later PODs thus give it a greater disadvantage.

If we're talking about a fin-de-siècle POD here, then the map provided by @RandomWriterGuy gives you the answers, really. In addition to OTL's creation of Georgia and Armenia, there would be potential for a much bigger Armenia, and Greater Greece, and a Christian state(let) in Lebanon, as well as maybe an Assyrian statelet. Cyprus could be entirely Greek and Christian as well. All this would require at least a degree of ethnic cleansing, although it could be limited to the population exchange variety (as opposed to the "mass graves" variety). None of this is happening without European involvement, just as the more modest developments of OTL didn't happen by themselves.

The more willing you are to entertain harsh methods, the greater the potential areas in question become. For instance, the above scenario suggests that an Armenia may be larger than OTL, but it certainly wouldn't be likely to include everything claimed by Armenian irridentists following OTL's Great War. To get such vast claims awarded (and cleared of mot or all Muslims, so as to ensure a Christian majority), you need to prepare for a very bloody scenario indeed. Still, there are things along those lines that could happen. Forinstance, given the right (or "right") premise, one could see the Islamic-majority areas North and North-West of Dagestan getting ethnically and religiously cleansed by a vengeful Russia-- thus making the region Christian by default. But given a POD this late, something like a viable Coptic state seems utterly unworkable, unless you're willing to commit full-scale genocide against the Muslim population. (On the other hand, the ruthless and brutal appoach could lead to, ah, "results" in Algeria-- just have the French plans to carve out a pied-noir state actually go through.)

So there are possibilities, even with a late POD, but they are limited, and they all require force. And the more expansive your goals, the more force you'll need to apply.

The further back you go, the higher the relative number of Christians will be, and the less brutal force you'd have to apply in order to establish Christian-majority regions. (The war to gain control of the region would still be brutal, of course.) If, for instance, a stable and strong anti-Ottoman coalition had formed somewhere in the 18th century, that could have seen the Ottoman empire carved up-- with several Christian states coming into existence as a part of that process. The percentage of Christians in all the aforementioned regions simply gets higher the further back you go. And if you're willing to go back to 1500 or thereabouts, the odds are even better. (Plus, of course, the fact that over five centuries, you can basically force Christianisation of any captured region by making conversion the only avenue for upward mobility.)
 
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Except for Lebanon, this needs to have something related to European settlement or colonization to have a small amount of chance. Don't expect the Native ME people to convert, though. Unlike Americas, they had an organized religion and structure already.
Make sure that the Europeans manage to take control of all the Middle East, destroy Mecca and all the mosques they find before massacring en masse the remaining Muslim population to force them to convert. However, I'm not sure that this is desirable...
By that logic, the Middle East should never have become majority-Muslim in the first place, since Christianity already had an organised religion and structure, and the Muslim conquerors didn't conduct a brutal campaign of religious genocide against their Christian subjects.

Anyway, the best way, IMHO, would be to do what the Caliphate did, but in reverse -- i.e., give Christians various legal and tax privileges, support Christian church-building and missionary activities whilst restricting similar activities from Muslims, and make it so that certain high-status positions are only open to Christians. People would start converting to Christianity as a result. Given enough time, there'd be enough converts for Christianity to be mainstream and common once more, as the OP requires; given even more time, Christianity would become the majority religion in the area.
 
Are you going with an alternate Egypt that is Islamic but Coptic speaking in 1800s ruled by an Arab speaking minority or something similar to otl Egypt demographically ?
In the 1800s, Egypt was about a third Christian and Coptic was alive as a widely understood liturgical language. That gives Christianity a better headstart than it did in Korea and Coptic a better headstart than Hebrew had in Israel.
 
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If Spain and Portugal can hold on to their early modern North African conquests, you might see something there.
 
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