Thursday, May 7, 2009

Christians and Muslims

Religion influences people as they go through life. At some point, everyone is subjected to one religion or another, usually choosing one to follow. I grew up in Christian home and my mother always made sure I was in church. Recently, I was taking a philosophy course which required me to write a term paper; I chose religion. Researching the paper, I discovered that my Christian faith was being questioned. I had always known that there were many religions, and that they differed, but I never realized how much they were at odds with each other. This particular attack came from the Islamic faith. Christians and Muslims have many similar beliefs, which differ slightly; however, they also have some distinctly different beliefs.

The similarities begin with Christians and Muslims believing that Jesus will return; however, Christians believe his triumphant return will be the beginning of his reign as king, while the Muslims believe he will come back, win a battle, and be killed. Christians and Muslims agree that there is salvation, but their views on obtaining salvation differ; for instance, Christians believe salvation is a gift from god and Muslims believe that salvation comes from good works. Furthermore, Christians and Muslims both believe in Hell. Muslims believe Hell is a lake of fire where non-Muslims live in torment. Christians, on the other hand believe that those who are not saved will be thrown into the fire of hell for eternity.

Both religions have other similarities, but they have many drastic differences. The differences begin when discussing the nature of man. On one hand, Muslims believe that men are basically good. They also believe some men have been guided toward right and some are left to err on their own. They believe all Muslims are naturally good, but believe their God, or Allah, will allow Satan to make them sin. On the other hand, Christians believe men have a sinful nature and are born wicked; believing they are made good through faith in Jesus Christ. Once receiving salvation, Christians try to live a Christ-like existence.

The differences continue with beliefs about Purgatory, a temporary hell where a person can be purified in order to gain entry into heaven. Muslims believe there is a purgatory. Ironically, Christians are actually split on this with Evangelical Christians having the opinion that there is no Purgatory, while Catholics Christians do believe in purgatory. Evangelical Christians believe you ascend directly to Heaven. The two religions are also at odds regarding their beliefs about eternal life. Christians believe that eternal life will consist of fellowship with God, praising God, serving God, and worshiping God. Muslims have a much different view of eternal life. They believe eternal life is filled with sensual pleasure in having sex with virgins, eating, and happiness.

Christianity and Islam are not the only religions, nor are they the only religions that disagree. A few things are common in all religions; each religion believes in a supreme power or being, there is a good and evil or positive and negative in each religion, and each religion believes the life they are living will end some day; however, the disposition of the body or soul will differ. The soul will be reincarnated, live in heaven, live in some other state, or cease to exist. It is the responsibility of each individual to hear the arguments for each religion and decide which is more suitable and convincing for them.

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