Comparing and Contrasting Islam and Christianity

Introduction

Christianity and Islam share a lot of similarities and at the same time differ on several aspects. This paper will carry out a detailed comparison of the Christian and Islam religions. Among the similarities are: they both worship one God, they both believe that Jerusalem is the holy city and lastly they believe that the date of the judgment is decided when one dies.

Despite the above similarities, the two religions differ on other aspects; their main points of differing are: on their central teacher – Christians consider Jesus to be their main figure whereas Muslims believe in Mohammed as their central figure; in reference to the revered texts; Christians consider the Bible as the holy book and Muslims have Quran as their holy book.

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Both religions also differ with respect to their places of worship; for Christians their place of worship is church or cathedral and according to the Islamic religion the place of worship is masjid or the mosque (Flemming 332).

Main Analysis

Christianity and Islam are closely related religions due to the fact that they revere Abraham and other patriarchs cited in the Hebrew scripture as their spiritual ancestors.

Major denominations of Christianity: a) Catholicism, b) Protestantism, c) Orthodoxy, and d) Latter day saints (Anon 1)

Major denominations of Islam: a) Sunni, b) Shia, and c) Sufism (Akhter 171)

Comparing the World Views of both Islam and Christianity

On religious beliefs: Christianity and Islam have various differences and at the same time related in other aspects. On the concept of the deity, Christians believe in the trinity which encompasses three persons in one God, that is, the God the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. Muslims on the other hand believe in only one Allah who can not be divided. Consequently, both religions believe in existence of Jesus though the Christians consider Jesus as the son of God whereas Muslims consider Jesus as a respected prophet who ranks second after Mohammed in significance.

On the death of Jesus: Christians believe that it was sanctioned by Pontius Pilate and carried out by the roman army and Muslims believe that Jesus was neither killed nor died but he ascended into heaven alive. They, however, both believe that Jesus ascended to heaven. Notwithstanding the fact that they both believe in a holy book, they refer them by different names; for the Muslims, their holy book is called the Quran and the Christians call it as the Bible.

Based on religious practices: On the interpretation of the holy book, Christians interpretation ranges from the statements made by the pope and also resolutions in conventions which is common among the Protestants; Muslims on the other hand interpret the holy book based on the opinion of various scholars and hence there is no individual who is an authority in the interpretation of the holy book according to the Muslims (Brodd and Sobolewsky 10).

With respect to the place of worship: Christians worship in the church or rather the cathedral whereas the Muslims worship in the mosque. Also the two religions differ based on their day of worship; Christians worship on the Saturdays and Sundays and to Muslims hold their worship on Friday.

With regards to the relationship between the church and the state: Christians believe that it should be separated and to an extend Christian countries are democracies. According to Islam, the church and the state are integrated and majority of Muslim countries are governed dictatorial (Christian and Islam 11-19).

On humanity: In the Christian perspective, Christians seek to foster cooperation among their churches especially in their mission to the world. They also seek to heal any historical division that might exist among churches. The main agent of the Christians is the World Council of Churches and they achieve their mission through ecumenical movements. Christians mobilize other Christians in the mission to confront social problems that afflict the societies like poverty and injustice (Young 12).

Islam stresses the need for social justice and they provide for the marginalized and the vulnerable members of the society which include the poor, the hungry and the orphaned. They as well stand against the extreme group of Muslims who take advantage of the conventional brotherhood and sisterhood to further clannism and sexism and they also reject globalization that benefits Multinational Corporation at the expense of ordinary citizens (Young 224)

On human problem: Christians consider a problem as an individual since individuals are sinners and any resolution is personal transformation; they consider the main problem as the separation of an individual from God (Young 213). Muslims appreciate gender justice as a way of promote justice in the Muslim community. Muslims also believe in pluralism. The cause of human problem according to the Muslims is when an individual rejects the guidance of Allah and does not believe in the original sin like the Christians (Young 242).

Cause of human problem: According to the Muslims, human problem is caused by human distraction (Young 242). With regard to the Christians, the main cause of human problem is the original sin that was committed in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve; they argue that individuals should be liberated from sin (Young 214).

End of transformation: According to the Christian theologians, human life is subjected to danger by their sins and these sins may encompass ecological dimensions. To the Christians, there is life after death. They believe that Jesus rose from death in order to transform human life on earth (Young 215).

Sacred: According to the Muslims, there is no other God but only Allah and true connection with him can be established through dedication in prayers and also through Jihad, which is a holy war (Young 247). Christians on the other hand believe that there is only one God who exists in three forms, that is, God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit. This sacred can be known through the circumstances that he is the agent of creation and the fact that he brought harmony and unity to all the reality (Young 218).

Symbols, myths and rituals: Muslims wage Jihad to demonstrate their protection and allegiance to God. They celebrate rituals such as the holy month of Ramadan and also Id ul fitr which is their holy holiday, and Al-Hijra which is the moment of personal renewal, Christians, on the other hand, celebrate Christmas which is a reflection of the death of Jesus Christ and they also remember Good Friday and Easter Monday (Morrill 2).

Conclusion

When the two religions are compared with Judaism especially doctrine wise; both Islam and Judaism are based in the Middle East. Just like the other two religions, Judas believes in Jerusalem as the holy town. Judaism like Christians both shares the history of the Jews but Judaism like Islam designates civilization as a way of life. It is only the secular nature of Judaism that distinguish it form Christianity otherwise they are doctrines which are similar and both are the religions of the tribe of Abraham (Warren 235).

Works Cited

Akhter, Shamim. Faith & philosophy of Islam; Volume 2 of Indian religions series. New York: Gyan Publishing House, 2009. Print.

Anon. Christian denominations, article no.91. Upper Triad, 2011. Web.

Brodd, Jeffrey and Sobolewsky, Gregory. World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery, 3rd.edition. New York: Saint Mary’s Press, 2009. Print.

Christian and Islam. Forgotten Books. New York: Prentice Hall, n.d. Print.

Flemming, Laraine. Reading Keys, 3rd edition. New York: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.

Morrill, Ann. Religious New Year’s Celebrations; Holidays and Celebrations. New York: InfoBase Publishing, 2009. Print.

Warren, Mathews. World Religions, 6th edition. New York: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.

Young, William. The world religions; worldviews and contemporary issues, 3rd edition. New York: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.

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