//Exploring Religions: Islam and Christianity

Exploring Religions: Islam and Christianity

Student essay comparing foundations of faith
Tara Elizabeth
Guest Writer
Islam and Christianity have always been viewed as two completely different religions, each with their own rules. Each have been viewed as radical due to the nature of the people who follow the religions, but are they really?
It’s all about interpretation of their own sacred text. Most of us know about the different sects in Christianity; Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant and many more within each category, but Islam also has their own sects within the religion. Shia and Sunni are the main two different sects, with groups of people who interpret the Qur’an in a multitude of ways within each sect.
Although both religions have their own laws given to them by their God, interpretation of the laws vary by each sect. Christians accept the Ten Commandments but core beliefs, according to The British Library: Elements of the Abrahamic Faiths, are:
The belief that there is only one God
Jesus Christ is the Messiah, sent to save the world as prophesized in the Old Testament
God’s Character is in threefold, The Father (the Creator), the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit (unseen guiding force).
Jesus Christ died to save the world and rose from the dead.
Muslims follow the Five Pillars of Islam, the Five pillars being that there is only one God, Allah and the messenger, Muhammad; that they are to pray 5 times a day; donate to charity; pilgrimage to their holy city of Mecca at least once in their lifetime; and to fast during Ramadan each year. According to the British Library: Elements of the Abrahamic Faiths, the core beliefs are:
There is only one God: Allah
Muhammad is the final prophet of God and the Qur’an is God’s truest revelation
Reverence for many of the prophets of Judaism and Christianity, particularly Moses and Jesus
This brings us to the prophets of each religion. To explain lightly, it began with a prophet named Abraham. According to the British Library: Elements of the Abrahamic Faiths, they all believe that Abraham was told by their God that if Abraham followed their God’s laws, he would become the father of a great nation. They also believe that he was told by their God to sacrifice his son, to test his obedience to God. Abraham listened but at the last second, their God sent an angel to intervene with the sacrifice. Christians believe the son who was to be sacrificed was Isaac but Muslims believe the son is named Ismael.
All three religions also recognize that a man named Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, to freedom of new land. They all believe that God dictated laws to Moses to pass down to the Israelites as well.
There stops the agreement on Prophets and other religious figures. Christians believe that a man named Jesus, is their Messiah, and gave him the name Jesus Christ. Muslims believe that Jesus was a great prophet but did not believe he was divine.
The last Prophet is a man named Muhammad. Only Muslims recognize him as a figure of importance, as he provided them with the Qur’an over a period of 23 years. They believe that the Angel, Gabriel, provided Muhammad with the sacred text. Muslims do not believe that Islam is a new religion but a restoration of God’s word, revealed by earlier prophets. They believe that that religion was corrupted and misinterpreted and they are merely restoring the religion itself.
It is described on the British Library: Elements of the Abrahamic Faiths that there are three Abrahamic faiths and “each religion acknowledges the proceeding text and draws from them, with difference of interpretation and emphasis.” Basically, Christians draw some of their faith from Jews and the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanakh or Old Testament) as they also use their own book, simply called the Bible (the Old Testament and also the New Testament). Muslims draw from both Christians and Jews and both their sacred texts but Muslims also have their own sacred text, called the Qur’an. The beliefs of each religion differ in some areas but are quite similar when you look at the origins of each religion.
Overall, this is just a small summary of each religion, the way that an individual interprets a religion is completely their own. Some honorable mentions to how people can interpret their sacred text in some questionable ways include: the Westboro Baptist Church, the KKK, and ISIS. All three of these groups are viewed by the religions they claim to be a part of as severely radical and are not very well accepted by many others who practice the religion.