Animism, Christianity and Islam
“Animism comes from the Latin word anima, which means “soul” or “breath - Animism, Christianity and Islam introduction. ” It refers to that which empowers or gives life to something. In this paper I will endeavor to look at answering life’s greatest questions through, Animism, Islam and the Christian worldviews; summarizing these three opposing worldviews; (or are they opposing? ) with seven questions: What is Ultimate Reality? Where is Ultimate truth found? What are we? What is the key problem? What is the key solution? How do we know right from wrong? And lastly, what happens to us after we die?
So let’s begin with the Christian worldview on ultimate reality, simply this term is easily identified in the Christians view, ultimate reality is God. In the Bible, God states, “I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. ” (Isaiah 44:6). The God of Christianity is triune, God is three in one, (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) a unity who is three persons in one (Genesis 1:26, Matthew 3:16, 28:18, John 10:30). The God of Christianity is truly merciful and personal and calls us his children, and friend, the creator of the universe has desire to fellowship with man (John 15:15).
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Islam founded by the prophet Muhammad (around 570 A. D. ) calls the god of Islam, Allah. Allah is an eternal being, considered magnificent and almighty. In the Qur’an, it says, “Say, He is God, the One! God, the eternally besought of all! He neither begets nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him. ” (Surah 112) Islam’s Allah has similar characteristics as the God from the Bible. It is likely the Qur’an was influenced by the Old Testament which predates the Qur’an, but to say Allah is the same God of Christianity would be incorrect since believing in the trinity is a sin.
According to the Qur’an, “Surely, unbelievers are those who said, “Allah is the third of the three [in a Trinity]”. But there is no god but One God. And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful torment will befall the unbelievers among them (Qur’an5, 73). Animism God exists, but he is beyond our abilities to know him or to communicate with him. Formal religions are concerned with the ultimate issues of sin and salvation, but animism offers the power to cope with the immediate everyday needs.
We see here that Christianity, Animism and Islam believe in one God, but the Allah of the Qur’an is illustrated and defined in a way that shows Muhammad was not presenting the same God. The God of Islam is not accessible, and he is not intimate (Surah 112). In Islam, Jesus is simply a prophet, and is not the Son of God. This also shows that Islam does not believe in the Trinity as you see in the Qur’an 5, 73 nor the belief that Jesus is the son of God. In Animism most world religions have a concept of God that makes him out to be distant, abstract, and unknowable.
Animism holds a tremendous attraction for people. So what is truth? Saying that no one can know truth is to say this statement is true and, the view of this statement is defeating. There must be truth. “If Christianity is true, then it’s dangerous to your eternal destiny not to be a Christian. Likewise, if Islam is true, then it’s dangerous to your eternal destiny not to be a Muslim. ” (Geisler pg. 47). If Animism is true, than what we must deal with consists of both personal spirit-beings and impersonal spiritual energy. We can draw reasonable conclusions that there is a God.
The Bible reminds us “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. ” (Romans 1:20) Truth is, that there is one God, the proof is the evidence of the establishment of the universe, the detail in the design of life and the moral law that each man contains in their conscience. Truth and morals are unchanging, worldwide, and appropriate for all cultures despite any circumstances or time in history (Exodus 20).
What is true in the past is true for today, and what is true for me is true for you, unlike the opposite so many like to claim (What is good for you may not be good for me). The truth of the matter is Animism, Islam and Christianity believes in one God who created the universe. Christians understand that man is created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26). How incredible that is, but unfortunately man’s vanity played tricks on him and found ourselves in trouble. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12) This is the problem with man today, broken relationship with God. Man is constantly trying to fill this void in his heart, seeking for spiritual fulfillment. Man is looking for redemption from their evil ways and trying to fix themselves by themselves. Islam sees creatures; man, made by a creator very much like that of a Christian view, but lacking Gods image where Animism has spiritual forces which can be manipulated according to the person’s will. We are beings fitted to survive here on this earth, children of nature.
From the research there was no indication that the creator was truly lovingly caring for the creature in the womb as we see in the Old Testament, I found that very lonely and distant. Muslims are born under the Islamic law, and one could be enslaved to their passions if they do not use their free will to discipline themselves, but “Through sincere faith and worship, as well as adherence to the Prophets’ pristine teachings, we can attain the highest degree of elevation, even becoming worthy of heaven.
There is no other escape from the snares of worldly life, the oppressive ignorance of false human-made systems, or the tyranny of self-appointed clerical authority. ” (2) Heaven is attainable for the Muslims if they are obedient to the Islamic Law; this is done through self discipline, and obedience. Salvation comes from man himself by obeying the Islamic Law. For Muslims, the teaching is that only Muslims will go to heaven. The non-believers will not reach heaven. So being a true Muslim is what it takes for them to reach the heavens.
Animism is the spiritual realm with which you must deal with consists of both personal spirit-beings and an impersonal spiritual energy. Animists believe there are two different kinds of spirit-beings: those that had been embodied and those that had not. The spirits are often seen as being mediators between us and God. The Christians, however, have a redeemer; “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare die: But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. ” (Romans 5: 6-9) The Christian is rescued by the love of God the father by sending His Son to earth, to become a sacrifice for our sin. He rose on the third day and conquered death. God is in pursuit of a relationship with us, a personal relationship, restoring what was destroyed in the beginning. However Islam requires obedience to the Islamic law, by the power of mans free will to do the requirements of the law, they are redeemed by their orks, but In the Bible it tells us “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8) This gift is free to all who believe. It is true that all men know that taking another’s life is not right; the reason for this is that God has instinctively given us a conscious of right from wrong. The Bible confirms this when we read, “When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. ” (Romans 2:14) Not only is there instinct of some kind we also have a written law.
The Ten Commandments are the written law delivered to Moses for Israel. The commandments are for Humanities own protection as well as servitude to God. Jesus came and fulfilled this law and summed these Ten Commandments up by saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. ” (Matthew 22:37-40) Islam is a combination of Judeo/Christian tradition that culminates in Islamic law. ” Lunat, Iman of Elizabethtown Mosque (1). As we have seen this can not be so. First a Christian is going to hell and will be punished because of the belief of the trinity, and Muhammad had hoped to convert the Jews to Islam and when they did not they experienced death by the sword. Why would one follow after a man made copy of the law to suite his own opinion instead of the original creator’s law? Islam can not call to the Christian or the Jew to worship together. This is a disturbing statement.
Both Islam and Christianity base their beliefs on faithful acceptance of revealed truth that goes beyond what our human mind can wrap it self around. But since our universe, our lives are designed with such detail (details science still is discovering); the explanation of our existence has to come from a designer, someone who has a plan. Animism base their beliefs on Spirits are seen as being either intermediaries between us and God or as representatives of God the spirits and the instruments of magic have the power either to do harm to others or to bring benefit to us. There is no other higher authority then the Creator.
In the Bible, it says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This is the reality of the Designer, the highest authority for Christians. Faith is believing and trusting in what is not seen. Man cannot answer his own questions; God has come in the form of man to bring us to himself. He makes it clear; open your heart to hear his call. “God is not overt, and written language is a precise medium of communication that can easily be duplicated and passed on to succeeding generations”(Geisler pg 201) I recommend you open the Book, the Holy Bible and find the answers to life’s greatest questions.
The News-Enterprise ^ | July 31, 2005 | BRIAN T. KEHL
Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek (2004) I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist Dean Halverson (1996) The Compact Guide to World Religions