In the modern world, there are hundreds of different religions and people follow all the different religions. Two of the major religions that dominate the world are Christianity and Islam. Christianity has 33. 39 percent of the population declaring itself such, while 23 percent of the population declare themselves as Islamic (Johnson). There are three religions that begin a monotheistic faith meaning that they believe in one God. These religions are Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
Islam and Judaism are in constant turmoil in the Middle East, but throughout the world Christians and Muslims believe they have the most differences between the religions. These two do not have that many differences though. These two religions have similarities such as a sacred texts, locations of historical sites, and prophets. In these similarities, there are huge difference in what is contained in their scriptures, types of prophets, and celebrations. The major difference between these two religions is the belief in who Jesus Christ was. The Islamic religion is a strictly monotheistic religion with a highly revered prophet in Mohammad.
He went into the desert and was found by Gabriel or Jibra’il, who told him that God wanted him to spend his word. Mohammad eventually told his wife about happened and then eventually began to spread the word that he was supposed to. Mohammad changed a pagan society into a monotheistic, political powerhouse that would be a force to reckon with for centuries. He did not even mean to start a religion. This was a political movement for the Arabic people who were constantly the joke of the people in that day of age. On the other hand, the Christians believe he was more than a man and was sent to spread the word of his father, God.
It has been proven through history that Jesus was a real person, but no one can prove what has truly happened. According to the Christian faith, Jesus’s mother was a virgin and his father was a carpenter. Around the age 30, Jesus began to perform miracles. Jesus was spreading the word and angering people in high places. Eventually, Jesus would upset both the Romans and the Jewish communities with his belief that he was coequal with God and having a personal relationship with God. The Jews would condemn him for blasphemy and the Romans would pass the actual judgment.
After Jesus was sentenced, he was crucified, then he rose from the dead. Unlike in Christianity, where the new word was about follow Jesus’s teachings and his lessons from his life, Islam was about following the rules set by God and follow the five Pillars of Islam. The word that Mohammad recited from Gabriel is what makes up the sacred text for Islam and makes up the Qur’an or Koran, which is the Islamic sacred text. Christianity has a very different sacred text, which is the Bible.
This is a sacred text that is made up of the Old testament, which is very similar to most “Abraham” based religions, i. Islam and Judaism. However, the Bible has the New Testaments which has all of the teachings from Jesus. Unlike the Qur’an, which has not changed much over the years, the Bible is vastly different from the original version that was around centuries ago. It is believed that are upwards of 40 missing books from the New Testament. The Bible can also have slight variations depending on which sector of Christianity the Bible comes from. Both of these religions have a sacred text that are available to the followers of the religion. Just like Christianity, the Islamic religion has different variations.
However the variations tend to be a more political difference, whereas Christianity has more spiritual and methods of spirituality differences. In the Islamic religion, there are Sunni, who believe in the four Rightly Guided Caliphs beliefs and think that these caliphs should be elected. The other sector is that Shia Muslims. They believe that after Mohammad’s death, his nearest male relative should have lead, and that the imams or prayer leaders should be direct descendants from the prophet’s daughter and this male relative. These two sectors still fight for control of the Islamic religion today.
In Christianity, the sectors of religion are vast. The most widely known are Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox, but there are many sub branches within in branches of Christianity. Then, within these sub branches, there is many difference. For example, priests within the Catholic Church many not marry, but within the other branches they may. Also, a woman may not enter priesthood in Catholic Church, but she may become a nun. On Sunday’s, some churches sing hymns loudly, where others pray in Latin for hours. It varies church to church. Both of these religions have communal places of worship.
Christianity has churches and Islam has a mosque. Both of these religions started in the Middle East, near Jerusalem. However, this is where the similarities end in terms of their holy sites, celebration, and rites. In Christianity, most of Jesus’s life took place in modern Palestine. His birth took place in a stable in Bethlehem and his crucifixion took place in Jerusalem. After Catholicism took off as a new and major part of Christianity, Rome, where Vatican City is located, become a holy city because the Pope is there. In Islam, there are three chief holy sites for these religion.
One is Mecca, which was home of the Prophet Mohammad. Medina, which is the city that the all the Muslims had to flee to when persecuted. Finally, Dome of the Rock where Mohammad went to heaven and the Islamic followers built about that sacred rock he rose from. All of these cities were within close proximity. When it comes to major celebrations in each religion, this is a huge difference between the two. In the Islamic religion there are a few major celebrations. ‘Id al-Adha is one and it means, the fesat of sacrifice and it is held yearly after the annual pilgrimage of Hajj.
It is a feast to memorialize when God provided Abraham a ram instead of the son he had been asked to sacrifice. Another festival is Id al-Fitr, which is a huge feast that is held after Ramadan. Id al-Fitr is all about gift gifting and feasting. Finally, ever Muslim is suppose is go on a Hajj at least once in their life time. It is a pilgrimage to Mecca. In Christianity, a huge part of the religion is weekly worship, typically on Sunday mornings. Most churches include a reading from the Bible, some sort of singing, and some include a Eucharist. Christians celebrate Jesus’s birthday on Christmas and his resurrection on Easter.
Another major rite in Christianity is Lent, which is a time for self-examination and fasting. The day before Lent is known as Fat Tuesday, followers eat things they will not eat during Lent, and begins with Ash Wednesday. Typically, Lent ends before Easter and followers of Christianity eat bountifully on Easter. Between these two religions, there is celebration that is similar in each. They both have an extended period of fasting. In both religions, they had a “mouthpiece” that had to go through many trials in order to deliver the word of God. Jesus and Mohammad both went through extended periods of fasting in order to become closer to God.
In modern times, each religions followers do the same things, to feel closer to God. In the modern times that people live in, there are many wars on the religious views that others have. People fight on the street about their religion being better than another. They are currently two religions that feel that they have the least in common among religions. However, this is incredibly untrue. The differences are there, of course, but they are not as strong as some people like to think. With every religion comes extremists and unfortunately in a world of media that is driven by ratings, the public is shown only the bad side of every religion.
The world does not get to see the average Muslim or Christian family. Instead, they see the radicals blowing each other up for not believing what the other believes. If you read either sacred text, both religions teach a sense of tolerance. Of course, they want converts, but they teach peace, harmony, and love. People need to get back to reading the actual texts in these religions and stop listening to only the leaders in them. Maybe one day people will realize that these two religions have so much of the basic foundation in common.