This research paper focuses on a side by side comparison between the religious beliefs and practices performed in Christianity and in Islam, which form the two largest religions in terms of the number of believers. However, the main aim of this research paper is to bring into light the fallacious beliefs that both religious hold and not to promote any particular religion.Most importantly, the paper seeks to foster a better understanding despite the divergent opinions both religions share. There are various ways in which the practice of Christianity compares with the practice of Islam. Both religions share common beliefs about the existence of a Supreme Being. As well, there are sharp contrasting differences that are evident in the two most populous religions (Medearis).
First of all, the word Islam derives its origin from aslama, which means to resign or submit to a Superior being. It refers to the practice of monotheistic doctrines in which the followers accept in the existence of one God at the same time accepting Muhammad as the last prophet from God and their chief. The word Islam is derived from the Arabic word aslama, which means to resign oneself or to surrender. On the other hand, Christianity refers to a monotheistic way of life in by which the followers respect the doctrines and teachings of Jesus Christ based on the New Testament. It is divided into several denominations such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churchand the Protestant.
Based on the research findings and statistics, the Christianity movement consists of more than 2.2 billion followers from every corner of the earth(Renard). It is worth noting that, over the years, the mutual distrust between Christians and Muslims has become apparent. The reasons for the development of mistrust between the two groups is accredited to the divergent cultural practices both religions hold and political tensions between Muslim dominated countries and Christian dominated countries. Efforts have been made in order to diffuse the unhealthy tension with a view of finding common ground and maintaining peace and prosperity throughout the world (Catherwood).
Similarities between Islam and Christianity:
There are many similarities that are apparent in the teachings and doctrines of Islam and Christianity. Firstly, they both believe in the existence of one Supreme Being who controls the whole world. Thus, they believe that God is the provider and creator of all the living and non-living creatures found on earth. They also believe that God makes it possible for the sustenance of all things. In addition, both religions share a common ground. They have a similar background in that they trace their origin and existence to the days of Abraham. The teachings of the Old Testament are useful in both religions. For example, they both believe that God sent his prophets and messengers to warn the people against the consequences of sin in the world. Some of the biblical prophets that both religions believe in include the following: Noah, John the Baptist, Moses, David and Joseph among others.
The observance of the Ten Commandments is another important factor that both the religions have in common. The followers of both religions are educated and trained to lead socially accepted moral lives based on the teachings of the biblical prophets and the Ten Commandments. For example, both religions condemn evil practices such as stealing, lying, worshipping of idols and giving of false testimonials and false witness. They also deny all the actions of Satan and affirm that he is evil and that all his ways should be shunned completely(Rose Publishing).
They both have faith in judgement day which is believed to take place at the end of the world. Every individual shall be held accountable for his actions by God during the final day. They believe that the sinners shall be punished severely while those who led morally accepted lives on earth shall be redeemed. Evidently, the teachings of the Koran and the Bible show that there is life after death of the faithful. The Christians believe that their bodies shall be resurrected on the last day whereas the Muslims have confidence in faithful followers shall experience a good life in paradise while those who are not will experience torture and punishment in hell.
The Islam and Christianity teachings also recognize the existence of hell and heaven. Heaven is considered to be the dwelling place of God while hell represents the home of Satan. Moreover, they both assume that non-believers shall be sentenced to eternal judgement in hell while the faithful believers shall enjoy good life in heaven under the presence of God. The role of women in Christianity and Islam is another issue that brings the two religions into agreement(Medearis). Both of them believe that women have equal opportunities just like they fellow male counterparts. Though they may have different roles to pursue in the religious setting, the teachings stress that women are not inferior in any way.
Differences between Islam and Christianity.
There are several differences that manifest themselves between the Islam teachings and practises and those of Christianity. Firstly, Christians believe that the church was founded by Peter through the authority of Jesus. To the contrary, the Islam teachings show that Islam was founded by Prophet Muhammad. As well, the places of worship sharply differ between the two religions. For the Islam society, a place of worship is referred to as a mosque whereas the Christians offer their prayers and sacraments in the church. The leaders are also known by different names. For example, the Christians have church leaders such as priests, monks, sisters, brothers, pastors, bishops, arch-bishops and the pope while the Muslims faithful is led by such leaders as Sheikh, Mullah, Maulana and Mufti among others. Furthermore, the Christians use the Bible during the prayer and worship session while the Muslims use the Quran(Renard).
There are strident differences regarding the treatment of non-believers by both sets of religion. For example, the Muslims teachings encourage the mass killing and extinction of those people believed to be non-believers. All those people who do not submit to the teachings of Allah and Muhammad should be eliminated from the face of the earth. Contra wise, the Christian teachings have a dissimilar perception regarding the treatment of non-believers. They believe that no one except god has the authority to judge the non-believers. They are, therefore, left at the mercy of God who will who will judge them in accordance with his wishes (Catherwood).
The crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ presents another point of divergence between Islam and Christianity. The Christians affirm that Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross because of their sins, died and buried. They are affirm that He was resurrected on the third day after the burial and taken up to heaven. To the contrary, the Islam teachings deny the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. They affirm that Christ did not die but he was ascended into heaven by the power of God.
The ideology of the holy trinity that is upheld in Christianity does not have a place in Islam. The Christians believe in one God but in three persons, i.e. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Christians strongly believe that Jesus Christ is divine and that he is the only Son of God. However, Muslims recognize Jesus as the literal Son of God and, therefore, cannot be recognised as the Son of Allah. The Islamic teachings, however, prophesy in the presence of one God known as Allah. Furthermore, the origin of sin differs between the two religions. The Islamic faith preaches that people are born without the blemish of the original sin unlike the Christian teachings.Christianity teaches that the sinful nature that originated from our first parents, Adam and Eve is passed down from generation to generation. The Islamic religion further affirms that the people continue to remain sinless until they sin against the Supreme creator(Rose Publishing).
As a final point, the paper highlights on the similarities and differences existing between Islam and Christianity. In the contemporary world, the level of mutual mistrust between the two religions have been on the increase mainly because of the practice of divergent doctrines and due to political tension. However, efforts are being made to breach the difference with a view of maintaining peace and unity in the world.Some of the common beliefs that both religions share include the existence of on Supreme Being known as God.In addition, the observance of the Ten Commandments is strictly followed by both religions(Heck). Nevertheless, there are major differences that stand out between the two biggest religions in the world. The Christians view God in three persons whereas the Muslims only affirm in the existence of one God. The crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is also a topic of contention between the two religions. The Islamic teachings affirm that Jesus Christ was neither crucified nor buried but believe that he ascended into heaven by God. However, Christians affirm that Christ was crucified, died, buried, resurrected and ascended into heaven on the third day(Medearis).
Catherwood Christopher. A god divided: Understanding the differences between islam, christianity, and judaism. Colorado: David C Cook, 2007.
Heck Paul L. Common Ground: Islam, Christianity, and religious pluralism. Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Pres, 2009.
Medearis Carl. Muslims, Christians, and Jesus: Gaining understanding and building relationships. Bloomington: Bethany House, 2008.
Renard John. Islam and Christianity: Theological themes in comparative perspective. California: University of California Press, 2011.
Rose Publishing. Islam and Christianity: Compare basic teachings and beliefs. Carson: Rose Publishing Inc, 2004.
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