The Differences and Similarities between the Christian and Muslim Faiths Date Introduction Inarguably, Islam and Christianity are the world’s two largest religions and while they have many points of contacts, they have points of differences as well (Rousseau, 1999)…
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In order to understand the two religions, this paper will discuss the differences and similarities between the Christian and Muslim faiths. The first main difference between Christian and Muslim faiths has to do with the recognition of Jesus. Even though both faiths recognize Jesus, their beliefs on him greatly differ. Both faiths believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and that he was infallible and sinless; however, while Christians see Jesus as God Himself, Muslims view Jesus a prophet of high regard (Renard, 2011). Christians are of the view that Jesus was a spiritual and not a political leader, and this is why most dominantly Christian nations practice separation of state and church. To Muslim, however, Muhammad was both a religious and political leaders, and this explains the integration of state and Islam religion in many Muslim countries. Related to this difference is believe in the Holy Trinity; Christians believe in the Holy Trinity, that is three persons in one divine nature, while Muslims believe that God is one person only. To Muslims, Jesus was not divine but was a human prophet who was sent by God just like prophets Moses and Muhammad (Riley-Smith, 2011). It is for this reason that Muslims are of the view that since these prophets were human beings, they should not be worshipped directly or indirectly. The other main difference between the two religions is in regard to their founders. To Christians, Jesus is the founder of Christianity and they ought to live according to His teachings. However, to Muslims, Muhammad is the founder of Islam; he was both the religious and political leader (Rousseau, 1999). It should be noted that both religions believe their founders are sinless and infallible. In addition, Christian and Muslim faiths differ on the idea of how salvation is obtained. On one hand, Christians believe that Adam and Eve committed sin and that all people, aside from Jesus, were born with this original sin (Al-Moghamis, 2002). They also believe that human beings are imperfect, and therefore man can only earn salvation through God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrifice. Besides, Christians believe that they can earn reparation and indulgences for their sins, through the saints’ good works (Riley-Smith, 2011). On the other hand, Muslims believe all humans are born sinless, and therefore they are responsible in maintaining this state throughout their life. Muslims also believe that all individuals are responsible for their individual salvation, and that no individual can receive an indulgence. The Quran cites two reasons why Muslims do not believe in the Original sin: God forgave Adam for his sin; and no one should bear the mistake or sin of someone else because it is unfair (Renard, 2011). In spite of the aforementioned differences between Christian and Muslim faiths, there are a number of identifiable similarities. The both have similar beliefs regarding what will happen at the end of time. They believe that all human beings will be judged and will go either to heaven or to hell (Rousseau, 1999). In addition, they both believe that heaven is eternal and all human beings should strive to go to heaven. Both Christianity and Islam have certain similar religious aspects: almsgiving, fasting, and prayer. They both have particular holy day where followers are obligated to prayer and engage in other religious rituals.
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