Comparing Christianity and Islam - Religion Essay Example
Comparing christianity and islam
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Islam and Christianity are the two major religions in the world. With following from almost all the parts of the world, the two religions have majority following compared to other religions which are confined to a particular community or a given geographical region. The roots of the two religions reveal a common source in that they all revere Abraham and other patriarchals which shows that there is a degree of relatedness between the two. Both are sometimes referred to as Abrahamic religions. However this similarity has not guaranteed cohesive coexistence between the followers of the two religions and serious religious conflicts culminating in loss of life has been witnessed throughout the history of their existence. There are imminent differences between the two religions which have been a point of conflict in beliefs and religious practices. On the surfaces, the two religions appear to have very little in commonness, but digging deeper into their practices like rituals, beliefs, founders, revered sacred objects, religious ethics, and others depict a strong similarities between the two. These differences and similarities in the two will become clear as we compare and contrast the two in different perspectives.
Similarities and differences
The first important point of comparing and contrasting the two religions will be their meaning and the roots of the two religions. The word Christianity started to be used immediately after the death to Christ who can be considered as the founder of the religion. Christ is a Greek word meaning Messiah. A believe of Christianity is called a Christian which means that one is a follower of Jesus Christ. Christianity is thought to have been founded around circa 30 CE after the death of Jesus Christ. After the death of Jesus Christ, a man named Paul is though to have spearheaded the growth of the religion in collaboration with 12 disciples of Jesus. Therefore the root of this religion can be traced to the teaching of Jesus Christ. Christianity has world’s majority following which is approximately 33% of the world religious population. The rate of growth of Christianity in the world is approximately 2.3% every year. In the US, Christianity is believed to have a majority following at 76% but which is declining at a rate of 0.8% every year. Christianity is internally divided into Roman catholic, Eastern orthodox, Anglican, and Protestants.
On the other hand, Islam means submission to God. A follower of Islam religion is referred to a as a Muslim. Islam is thought to have been founded in 622 CE. Although Muslims date the religion to the time of creation, historians have credited Prophet Muhammad with the foundation of Islam. This is after Muhammad had a calling from God to form a religion that would call for total submission to the will of God. Islam comes second to Christianity in terms of following with an approximately 20% following in the world. However Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world compared to Christianity recording a growth rate of 2.9% yearly. The population of Muslim in the US has been estimated to be 2 million followers but a recent study revealed that by 2001, only 0.5% of the US population followed Islam. Like Christianity, Islam has internal division including Shiite, Sunni, and Sufi which is a mystical tradition.
In terms of the beliefs in the two religions we find that there are similarities and differences unlike the differences we have reviewed above. To start with both religion believe in God who is a supreme deity deciding the destiny of all men in the world. However there is a difference in the way they see this God. Christianity believes in God of trinity in which there is God the father, God the son and the Holy Spirit. In contrast, Islam believes in only one God who is indivisible. This means that Islam is strictly monotheism. All over the world, Muslim refer to their God as Allah which is a Arabic word for God. Both religions accept that Jesus Christ was born in Nazareth and is highly respected in both religions. However while Christians believe that Jesus was the son of God, and therefore worshiped as a part of the trinity, Muslims believe that Jesus as a respected second last prophet. On the birth of Jesus Christ, the conservative arm of Christianity believe that he was born through virgin conception to a woman called Mary while the liberal arm believe that Jesus was born through conventional birth. On the other hand Muslims believe that Jesus as born through virgin conception. On death of Jesus, Christians believe that he was executed by Roman army around circa 30 CE for blasphemy while Muslims believe that Jesus was not killed, crucified or suffer death but he just ascended to heaven alive. Both religions agree that Jesus Christ is currently located in heaven.
The major difference between the two religions in term of their beliefs comes after the death of Jesus Christ. Christianity identify the alternate helper that came after Jesus as the Holy spirit who was sent from heaven and descended upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, and therefore is regarded as the third part of the trinity. On the other hand, Muslims believe that the alternate helper who came after Jesus was Muhammad whom they regard as the prophet from Allah. From this common source of the belief in the two religion, we find that the greater difference or the foundation of the two religions came after the death of Jesus Christ when Christina were inspired by the Holy spirit to follow the teachings of the Jesus while Muslims followed the teaching of Muhammad. From this point the holy books followed by the two religions were developed. Christianity believe in the Bible which is collection of the early teaching in the history of Israelites and the teaching and life of Jesus Christ, and it is believed to have been written under God’s inspiration. On the other hand Muslims belief in Quran which was originally written in Arabic following the teachings of Mohammad. To Christianity, conservative believe that it is the inerrant word of God while liberals takes it a spiritual document. On the other hand to Muslim, Quran is the word of God and the final revelation as dictated by angel Gabriel. Both religions believe that once we die we all go to hell or to heaven.
In terms of their practices, we find that Christianity is led from the Rome which is the residence city of pope. The interpretation of the holy book which is the bible ranged from the statements that are made by pope to some of the resolution that are arrived at in conventions for the protestant wing of Christianity. The interpretation of the holy book comes from the different learned scholars from various countries. There is no single spokesperson or an authoritative body that leads Islam. Christians worship in churches and cathedrals while Muslims worship in Mosques. The worship day for Christians is on Sunday and Saturday for some groups while Muslims worship on Friday. Christianity considers church and state as two different entities and most Christian counties are democratic while Islam believes church and state are integrated and most of the Muslim countries are dictatorship regimes with restricted human rights.
These are some of the similarities and differences that we can identify between Christianity and Islam. These are the major similarities and differences and going into deep details of the two religions, we are likely to find more similarities and difference between the two largest religions in the world. However it is very clear that they both had similar nature and source of their belief and their differences may have emerged in the course of their development.