this state of nature and the moral, political, and social order it implied were equally consequential for religion. was yaman influenced by byzantine christianity or persian zoroastrianism, and did it influence in turn the arabian peninsula? it would seem so, especially in the case of christianity. the missionaries of christianity were as active in those days as they are today. moreover, unlike the life of the city, desert life is especially conducive to the rise of religious consciousness. in the desert, man is in constant touch with the universe as a whole. he senses the infinity of existence in all its forms and is thereby prompted to order his relationship with the infinite. the city man, on the other hand, is distracted from the consciousness of infinity by his constant occupation. he is protected from the angst and dread such consciousness of the infinite brings by the group to which he gave up part of his freedom. his submission to political authority and the consequent security arising from this submission prevent him from establishing a direct contact, beyond the civil power, with the spiritual powers of the world, and weaken his speculative thinking about them. in the case of the desert man, on the other hand, nothing impedes his speculation over religious meanings and problems to which the life of the desert naturally leads.
and now we may ask, did christianity, with all its missionary activity, benefit from these circumstances to spread and propagate itself? perhaps it would have done so had it not been that other factors went into play and enabled the peninsula as a whole to preserve its paganism, the religion of its ancestors. only a very few tribes therefore responded favorably to the christian call.