Similarities and Differences between Christianity and Islam
The Muslim and Christian religions are two religions that share many concepts and beliefs while at the same time having major differences in some areas of faith. The Islamic religion was influenced in part by Christianity but developed into a very different practice with its own unique rituals, prayers, and beliefs. In the Muslim faith, their primary source of religious belief is the Qur’an, which was written by the prophet Muhammed in a series of revelations, which lasted for 23 years from about 610 CE to 622 CE.
The similarities between the two religions begin by looking at the basic concepts of each religion. First, both are monotheistic and god is recognized as the creator who is omnipotent and all knowing. Both believe that a prophet, Muhammad for Islam and Jesus for Christians, were the last prophets to come to earth sent by god and each of the prophets are responsible for at least some of the religion’s holy book writing. In both religions, god has a unique relationship with his people and makes covenants with them. It is also understood in both religions that the world will come to an end someday and no one knows when. At the end of the world, an evil figure, Satan, will be defeated and god will judge all humans based on the moral code specified in the agreement with god. Both religions also have books that are the primary source of religious knowledge. If a sin or transgression from what is desired occurs both religion’s god accept an apology and are forgiven if they truly are sincere. The moral codes of the religions are also similar in that in both, parents have special rights as do spouses and consequently adultery is forbidden. Also, both maintain that society’s laws must be obeyed and intoxication and suicide are prohibited.
The differences between these two religions can begin with the fundamental fact that the practitioners of Islam do not believe in the trinity and Jesus is not viewed as the same as god. Muslims believe that Christ was not crucified nor killed by the Jews and that certain circumstances created an illusion in the minds of his enemies. They also believe that God raised Jesus from earth to heaven to reside with him (i.e. they are two different people.)[Qur’an 4:157,158 & 3:55 & 4:157]. Christianity maintains that in fact he was killed and crucified by the Jews under Pontious Pilot. Christians believe in original sin, where all mankind is held responsible for the sins of Adam and Eve, which only the sacrament of baptism can terminate. Muslims believe that all mankind is born pure and people are responsible for their actions and not anybody else’s. Entering into heaven in the eyes of a Christian is an advantage enjoyed only by them while the Muslims believe that no religion has a monopoly on salvation and all who follow a pious and faithful life will enjoy paradise [Quran 4:124]. The Qur’an exists today exactly how it did the day it was revealed to Muhammad. A special council was called in the early days of Christianity where Constantine presided over the debate regarding the Nature of Jesus around 325 C.E. The council codified standard Christian belief (Nicene Creed) and gave the New Testament its current form. This action deprived some books the status of scripture and thus made them less important. These books survive today and are known as the Apocrypha. In Catholicism the pope, and the Patriarch in the Orthodox faith, has a direct connection to god and interprets his word for the masses and can change various beliefs from time to time claiming god himself inspired the changes. Muslims derive their law from the Qur’an and from the Hadith, which in no ways contradicts the Qur’an.