A Comparative Study of Christianity and Islam
--Collaborated by Lin Chuangsen, Lin Fan, Zheng Feng & Zheng Jia I. Introduction
Christianity and Islam, along with Buddhism, are considered to be the world’s three largest religions. As a particular form of human experience with distinctive qualities and patterns, they play an important part in all human cultures. Christianity and Islam are closely related to each other, because they both revere Abraham and certain other patriarchs mentioned in the Bible as their spiritual ancestors. However, their similar points are not nearly guarantee that their followers can get along, owing to numerous differences between them. And it has been proved that most of the religiously motivated conflicts, mass crimes against humanity and genocides in the 20th century were between Muslims and Christians. Thus, it should be of great value to probe into the similarities and differences between these two religions. II. Similarities
Firstly, the origination for both religions has a lot to do with the class conflict and oppression. They both came into being in response to people’s eagerness for peace and stabilization. Secondly, both religions profess monotheism, holding belief in a single God. Thirdly, they both have internal divisions, with various wings of unique beliefs and practices. Christianity has many more wings, such as Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, the Anglican, the Protestant and many others. As for Islam, there’re three main wings, namely Shi’ite (conservative), Sunni (moderate) and Sufi (mystical). Fourthly, they both believe in life after death, maintaining that people will go to either Heaven or Hell according to their deeds, good or evil. Fifthly, both religions show the same reaction to apostasy, practicing execution to apostates. Finally, both religions have substantial representation in all the populated continents. III. Differences
1. About the religions themselves
1) Meaning of the name. “Christianity” is a Greek word meaning Messiah, a believer in Christ. But the word “Islam”, in the Arabic language, means “surrender” or “submission”—submission to the will of God. 2) Name of a believer. A follower of Christianity is called a Christian while a follower of Islam is called a Muslim. 3) Date of founding. Christianity was founded by Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth at the middle period of the 1st century, much earlier than the founding of Islam which was created by Muhammad in the early 7th century. 4) Original home. Jerusalem had been the center of the Christian movement at least until its destruction by Roman armies in ad 70, and it was from this center that Christianity radiated to other cities and towns in Palestine and beyond. Islam, however, was originated in the Arabian Peninsula and gradually spread into Syria, Egypt, North Africa, and Spain to the west, and into Persia, India, and, by the end of the 10th century, beyond to the east. 5) Their development and percentage of the world’s population as followers. It has been pointed out by most religion theorists that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world. Today about 1 billion Muslims are spread over 40 predominantly Muslim countries and 5 continents, and their numbers are growing at a rate unmatched by that of any other religion in the world. Despite the political and ethnic diversity of Muslim countries, a core set of beliefs continues to provide the basis for a shared identity and affinity among Muslims. According to some rough statistical calculation, the percentage of the world’s population Muslims take is up to 33% or so while Christianity occupies merely 20%. What’s more, it has been noticed that numbers of Christians have remained quite steady for decades while Muslims keep increasing with a growth rate of about 0.6% per year. And it is estimated that Islam, rather than Christianity, is to become the most popular world religion in the near future....
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