Christianity and Islam: Similarities and Differences - Religion Essay Example
Christianity and Islam: Similarities and Differences
The Christian faith holds the highest number of believers in the world - Christianity and Islam: Similarities and Differences introduction. During the late 1990’s there are about two million believers world wide. The followers of this religion believes in one God who has three personas—God the father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God the father is the Supreme Being; he is the creator of the world and the source of all powers. God the Son is also known as Jesus Christ. He is considered as the Redeemer and Savior of mankind. He is the only son of God and he assumed the human form, was crucified and died on the cross in order to save mankind from all their sins. The Holy Spirit on the other hand, is a special being who leads and guides the Church as well as the members of the Christian faith.
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The source of their belief is written in a collection of books called the Holy Bible. The latter is divided into two categories, the old and new testament. The Old Testament deals with the events that happened before Jesus Christ became a man. It contains the story of creation and the life of the Chosen people as well as the prophets who were used by God in order to spread his teachings. It also contains the Ten Commandments of God or the basic rules which every Christian must follow in order to attain eternal salvation. The New Testament on the other hand is a collection of scriptures written by the Apostles of Christ. Their works describe the life of Christ on earth and the miracles that he has performed while on earth. The Holy Bible is used as the basis of the teachings of the Church.
Christians worship their God by attending the Holy Mass on Sabbath day or Sunday. Through this ceremony, the Last Supper of Christ on earth is re-enacted and the verses from the bible are read. These verses are later on explained and related on real life by the priest, who presides the ceremony. Sunday is considered as rest day and worship day. It is a day dedicated to the Lord, thus, all works are suspended. Christians believe in doing good deed because this will determine their life after death. When one dies, he either goes to heaven or hell. Good people go to heaven and eternally enjoy a peaceful life with the Lord while bad people go to hell where they will forever suffer (MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia).
One of the major rivals of the Christians is the Muslims or those people who profess their belief for the Islamic faith. Islam has the second highest number of believers in the world. Followers of this faith believe in only one God, Allah. Just like Christians, the Muslims believe that Allah is an all knowing and all powerful God. He created the world and everything that exists. They base their beliefs and teachings on the Qur’an, the holy book of the Islamic faith. Aside from the Qur’an, the Muslims are also guided by the Five Pillars of Islam. In comparison to the Ten Commandments, the Five Pillars consists of the basic duties that every Muslim must fulfill during their lifetime. It included the profession of faith, almsgiving, prayer, fasting and pilgrimage.
Unlike Christians, the Muslims, who have the physical and financial capability, are required to pay homage to Mecca, the Holy Land at least once in their lifetime. Ordinarily, the Muslims pay homage to their God in mosques. They perform their worship by reciting verses in the Qur’an and executing series of bows. They are also required to pray at least five times day wherever they are. They pray at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, during sunset and at night. During Fridays, the Muslims gather in congregations and worship together. Their ritual begins with two sermons and followed by a congregational prayer led by the imam. Muslims also believe in life after death but do not necessarily believe in heaven and hell. They believe that the performance of good deed will positively benefit the spirit of someone who dies while bad deeds harm the spirit. Unlike Christians, Muslims do not practice long wakes neither do they embalm their dead. They usually wrap the dead in white cloth, utter a special prayer and bury them on the same day that they die (MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia, 2008).
The Muslims and Christians despite many similarities in their practices and beliefs still fail to come to terms due to the differences in their philosophies and interpretations of the teachings of their Gods. Such disparity continues to serve as a barrier among them.
“Islam”. (2008). MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia. 7 November 2008