Comparing and Contrasting Christianity to Islam

Religion forms an integral part of the culture of a people. Its meanings, relevance and input to humanity have mainly been subject to interpretation as influenced by affiliation of the interpreter. The two largest world religious affiliations – Christianity and Islam – can be traced to the Middle East region. Though both religions have areas where their advocacies converge, they also differ in several other aspects including the individuals to whom their origin is credited. The purpose of this paper is thus to compare and contrast the various aspects of the two religions. First the paper presents an overview of Christianity, then that of Islam. Secondly the similarities and differences of the two religions are presented.

Christianity

The origin of Christianity can be traced to the Jews who were dissatisfied with the interpretation of the laws governing behavior and social system as presented in the Pentateuch – the five first books of the Old Testament that are advanced to have been authored by Moses, the one  whom God trusted to lead Israelites from bondage in Egypt (Davidmann, 2006). Those Jews who regarded the Pentateuch highly kept its laws, observed the Sabbath and performed circumcision and to them Jesus was a great teacher (rabbi) whose mission was to enlighten the people on the intent of the Pentateuch (Davidmann, 2006; King James Version, KJV, John 6:25). In pursuit of his role Jesus thus tried to have the laws of behavior and social systems – that the rich and powerful showed no intention to apply or had changed the application methodologies to suit themselves – become applicable across board in people’s everyday lives (Davidmann, 2006). Accordingly Christians came to believe that Jesus was the Son of God who had come to redeem them from the sins they had  fallen into after Adam and Eve had disobeyed God’s command in the Garden of Eden (Romans 3: 10 & 23). As such Christians believe that Jesus was destined to die for them to be redeemed of their sins (Matthew 26:28), an event that is advanced to have taken place via Jesus’ crucifixion (Luke 23). But before his death, it is recounted of Jesus’ intent to leave his followers with a helper – the Holy Spirit – who would guide them towards Godly ways (John 14: 16-18). Christianity is thus framed on a Holy Trinity concept where the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are deemed to be one (Gaudet, Mills & Ali, n.d; 1 John 5: 7). After his crucifixion, the Apostles’ Creed advances that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and ascended to heaven where he resides on the right hand of the Father. Through Jesus’ affiliations, crucifixion and ascension, Christians believe that those who repent their sins and do the will of the Father would be assured of a place in heaven (Matthew 7:21).

Though Jesus is credited with the authorship of Christianity, it is those who spread his teachings after his death who came to be known first as Christians. Following what they believed to be a command to propagate the religion (Matthew 28: 19), Jesus followers continued to propagate his teachings to gain more converts.  Specifically, Paul, a persecutor turned follower was influential in the spread of Christianity. It is he following resistance from the original Jews Christians that was able to expand the religion to incorporate Gentiles – people who initially were believed to fall beyond being accorded the “privilege” to become Christians (Davidmann, 2006). Eventually Christianity was advocated on such basis to be granted to anyone who would believe in the Son, thus to such people the reward being everlasting life whereas for dissenters, it is believed that they will eventually perish come the end of the world (John 3:16). Go to part 2 here.

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