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Comparing Islam to Christianity

Comparing Islam to Christianity

Introduction

This research paper focuses on a side-by-side comparison of the religious beliefs and practices of Christianity and Islam, which are 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 differences in beliefs of both religions but not to promote any particular religion. Most importantly, the paper seeks to foster a better understanding despite the divergent opinions of the abovementioned religions. There are various ways in which the practice of Christianity can be compared with the practice of Islam. Both religions believe in the existence of a Supreme Being. As well, there are sharp differences evident in these two most widespread religions (Medearis).

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Islam promotes the practice of monotheistic doctrines according which the followers accept the existence of one God at the same time accepting Muhammad as the last prophet of God and their leader. The word “Islam” is derived from the Arabic word “aslama”, which means “to resign oneself” or “to surrender”. On the other hand, Christianity implies a monotheistic way of life in which the followers respect the doctrines and teachings of Jesus Christ based on the New Testament. Christianity is divided into several denominations such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Protestant Church. According to the research findings and statistics, the Christianity movement consists of more than 2.2 billion followers from every corner of the world (Renard). It is worth noting that over the years, the mutual distrust between Christians and Muslims has become rather apparent. The reasons for the development of mistrust between the two groups are accredited to the divergent cultural practices of both religions and political tensions between Muslim-dominated and Christian-dominated countries. There have been made efforts in order to diffuse the unhealthy tension with a view of finding a common ground and maintaining peace and prosperity throughout the world (Catherwood).

Similarities between Islam and Christianity

There are many similarities apparent in the teachings and doctrines of Islam and Christianity. Firstly, they both believe in 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 think that God provides the sustenance for all beings. In addition, both religions have a common ground. They have a similar background as their origin and existence is traced back to the days of Abraham. The teachings of the Old Testament are respected in both religions. For example, both Islam and Christianity believe that God sent his prophets and messengers to warn 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 common for the abovementioned religions. The followers of both religions are educated and trained to lead socially and morally accepted 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 idols, and giving false testimonials and witnessing. They also deny all the actions of Satan and affirm that he is evil and all his ways should be shunned completely (Rose Publishing).

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Both Islam and Christianity 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 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. Christians believe that their bodies shall be resurrected on the last day whereas Muslims think that faithful followers shall experience a good life in paradise while those who are not will face torture and punishment in hell.

Both Islamic and Christian teachings also recognize the existence of hell and heaven. Heaven is considered to be the dwelling place of God while hell is 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 with their 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 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. On the contrary, according to the Islam teachings, Islam was founded by Prophet Muhammad. As well, the places of worship of the two religions are different. In the Islam society, a place of worship is referred to as a mosque whereas Christians conduct their prayers and sacraments in the church. The leaders are also known by different names. For example, Christians have church leaders such as priests, monks, sisters, brothers, pastors, bishops, arch-bishops, and the pope while Muslims are led by such leaders as Sheikh, Mullah, Maulana and Mufti among others. Furthermore, Christians use the Bible during the prayer and worship session, and Muslims use the Quran (Renard).

There are strident differences in the treatment of non-believers by both religions. For example, Muslims’ teachings encourage the mass killing and extinction of those who are thought to be non-believers. People who do not submit to the teachings of Allah and Muhammad should be eliminated from the face of the earth. On the other side, Christian teachings have a totally different 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 judge them in accordance with his wishes (Catherwood).

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The crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ present another point of divergence between Islam and Christianity. Christians affirm that Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross because of their sins. They affirm that He was resurrected on the third day after the burial and taken up to heaven. On the contrary, the Islam teachings deny the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. They affirm that Christ did not die but was ascended to heaven by the power of God.

The ideology of the Holy Trinity that is maintained in Christianity is not accepted in Islam. Christians believe in one God but in three persons, i.e. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Christians strongly believe that Jesus Christ is divine being the only Son of God. However, Muslims recognize Jesus as the literal Son of God; therefore, He cannot be recognized as the Son of Allah. The Islamic teachings, however, accept the presence of one God known as Allah. Furthermore, the origin of sin differs in 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 originating from our first parents, Adam and Eve, is passed down from generation to generation. The Islamic religion further affirms that people continue to remain sinless until they sin against the Supreme Creator (Rose Publishing).

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Conclusion

To conclude, the paper highlights the similarities and differences existing between Islam and Christianity. In the contemporary world, the level of mutual mistrust between the two religions has 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 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 abovementioned religions. Christians view God in three persons whereas Muslims support the existence of one God. The crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is another debatable topic between the two mentioned religions. The Islamic teachings claim that Jesus Christ was neither crucified nor buried but believe that he ascended to heaven by God. However, Christians affirm that Jesus Christ was crucified, died, was buried, resurrected, and ascended to heaven on the third day (Medearis).

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