The cracks in the category of Christianism: A call for ambiguity in the conceptualization of Christianity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In what is commonly called the current refugee crisis, Christian values are claimed by both the defenders and the despisers of migrants coming from countries with Muslim majorities. The conflict between them has been captured using the category of “Christianism” which contrasts “honest Christianity,” which is hospitable to Muslim migrants, with “hijacked Christianity,” which is hostile to Muslim migrants. This chapter analyzes and assesses the category of Christianism as a contrast category, arguing that the contrast it constructs carries a logic of purity from the streets into scholarship. If scholars accept the category of Christianism, they can neither adequately study nor adequately shape the role of Christianity in the current migration crisis because they cannot “see” the ambiguity of any appeal to Christian values. Countering the clear-cut category of Christianism through ambiguous cases from Christianity's past and present, this chapter advocates for a methodological acknowledgment of the provocative and productive ambiguity of Christianity. The cracks in Christian values are crucial to countering the logic of purity where it is put to work. They offer public and political scholarship the chance to equip people to claim “Christian values” in a way that counters the distinction between the Christian West and the non-Christian “Rest,” identified with Islam.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Christian-Cultural Values
Subtitle of host publicationMigration Encounters in the Nordic Region
EditorsCecilia Nahnfeldt, Kaia S. Rønsdal
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781003046646
ISBN (Print)9780367495657, 9780367495664
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021

Publication series

NameReligion, Resistance, Hospitalities


Dive into the research topics of 'The cracks in the category of Christianism: A call for ambiguity in the conceptualization of Christianity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this