In this paper I will be discussing what I learned about Christianity and Islamic faiths. How that even though these two religions have differences that they have core similarities and history that show that they have more in common than they do not have in common. I will discuss my interview at a Christian church and what I learned from it. Then I will discuss how much all the religions I have studied in this class have in common. Touching on their philosophies, beliefs, virtues and traditions and any areas that show areas they have in common. The Interview was held at The Rock Church in San Bernardino, California. Their church is huge more like a mini stadium in doors version. Clean well lit and very modern. They have a stage in the church where they hold their services. Where smoke and stage lights light up the stage area when music is performed with a live modern day Christian rock band. Everyone was very nice, energetic and positive. During my interview with Pastor Jim I learned that the basic beliefs are; belief in one God, the trinity which is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
That Jesus Christ was born and suffered and died for our sins so we may enter into heaven. That the bible is the word of God that we are to love one another as we love God & as we love ourselves, to care for one another as well. That people are born with sin so we need to be baptized to be washed of sin. That we all have a relationship with Christ & every day is about honoring him. The rules are simply to obey the ten commandments, the word from the bible, to love one another, care for each other, That relationships with the same gender is a sin, You can only be married in a church once, couples to be married must be of the same faith and must take classes first, No praying to the saints, sins can be forgiven with repenting but no confessions to a human being. All sins can be forgiven except for mortal sins such as murder and not believing in the Holy Spirit. Mortal sins can be washed once you become saved or born again which means becoming a Christian. The traditions of the Christian faith are keeping the Holidays, doing ministries locally or elsewhere.
The practices are to practice their beliefs and rules, to teach and spread the message of Jesus, attending services each Sunday, love others even the sinner. Baptisms are for children and adults but infants are dedicated to God and of course keeping all traditions. They have bible teachings for all age groups and even a college. They teach about the traditions, practices, rules, history, about missionary work. As far as the afterlife they believe that if you have repented your sins prior to death, led a good life, pure in heart that you will have eternal life in heaven with God. The history that is taught is from the bible both new and old testaments. The holidays they have are: Ash Wednesday the beginning of lent, Good Friday the day Jesus died, Easter Sunday the day Jesus was resurrected, Pentecost the day the Holy spirit came to the disciple after Jesus died, The Transfiguration and Assumption the day Mary mother of Jesus was taken into heaven, Christmas the day Jesus was born and Epiphany also known as Wise Man’s day the day the three wise men brought gifts to baby Jesus.
They have Pastors who give the services which can be either men or woman. When I asked what their main difference was with Catholics and Pastor Jim said the main difference is that Christians do not pray to the saints and have some different traditions such as baptism is done only when the person can consent otherwise they dedicate to God and they don’t do confessions to man. Confessions are done between the person and God through pray. Islam and Christianity from the start have many things in common even from the area of the world where they both originated from, Christianity Egypt (P. 285-287) and Islam Egypt, Arabia (P. 397) They both believe in the old testament (P.285 & P 371) and the different historical figures such as Abraham and Moses. Both trace their ancestry to the patriarch Abraham and believe in Adam and eve. They both believe in Jesus however Christians believe Jesus is the son of God whereas Islam faith believes that Jesus was a very great prophet. (P373) Both religions believe there is only one God, who is the creator of everything. (P. 309 & 385) Both believe in an afterlife Islam calls paradise and Christians call Heaven. Islam believes that non-believers and evil-doers ultimately experience great misfortune in this life or the afterlife. (P. 376)
Christians believe that through repenting and baptism there is an afterlife in heaven with God. (P. 321) Both believe in the message of Jesus being correct and good. (P.285 & 373) The Islam philosophy or ethics are that God should be remembered and brought into every aspect of daily life, injunctions against drinking intoxicating beverages, eating certain meats including pork, rodents, predatory animals, certain birds, and improperly slaughtered animals, gambling and vain sports, sexual relations outside of marriage, and sexually provocative dress, talk, or actions. Positive things such as commanding justice, kindness, and charity. They are to exercise justice and honesty in their relationships and business interactions, to manage their wealth carefully, and to avoid arrogance. (P.380) Whereas Christians believe similar things such as kindness, and charity and honesty. (P. 350) To treat others as Jesus would model oneself after Jesus. (P. 334)
Islam also believes in kindness as their prophet Muhammad showed kindness and compassion to others. Islam has the five pillars which are Belief and witness which is the belief of one God and the telling others of him and his message, Daily prayers where they pray five times a day, Zakat where they give a percent of their earnings away to less fortunate people, Fasting during Ramadan, and Hajj where they make a pilgrimage to Mecca the holy land. (p. 370-382) Christians Have lent which is their season where they give up something and on Fridays they don’t eat meat except fish which is similar to the Islam fasting during Ramadan, Christians also believe in one God and the telling or spreading of the word as they call it which is the message of Christ, contemplation and prayer, giving up the pleasures of the material world for the sake of loving and serving God, and belief in Missionaries of Charity. (P. 306, 326 – 336) It would seem that their basic messages of love kindness are the same.
Islam believe and follow the word from their text known as the Qur’an, the believe that the Shari’ah is the sacred law of Islam. (P.371 & 380) whereas the Christians text is the Bible (P.285) Both of which have are written based off the important historically figures of their faiths. Muhammad’s life story is important to Muslims, for his character is considered a model of the teachings in the Qur’an and because his words are the words of God. Muhammad is the founder of Islam. (P. 366 & 393) Jesus was equally as important to Christians because he taught them how to treat each other as Muhammad did and also was a role model for what he preached plus Jesus is believed to have been God present in a human life, walking among them. Jesus’s words are also believed to be the word of God. He is also considered the founder of Christianity. (P. 286 & 303)
We have discussed the five pillars of Islam which are also the practices of Islam faith. (p.382) With Christians the rituals and practices are: baptism for forgiveness of sins, worship on Sabbath in churches, the holidays which are lent, good Friday, Easter Sunday, Pentecost, the Transfiguration and Assumption, devotion to Mary and the saints, and Christmas. (P309, 335-342) other rituals are prayer, celebrations of the liturgical year, Holy Communion or Holy Eucharist, Confirmation ceremony. (P. 335-339) One of the biggest events of the Christian faith is the life and death of Jesus which was what help strengthen the Christian faith, other events are c.50–60 St. Paul organizes early Christians, 1095–1300 The Crusades, 1054 Split between Western and Eastern Orthodox Church. (P. 298-312)
For Islam a big event was the life and death of Muhammad, The Ka’bah built by Abraham, Muhammad & Ishmael, The first three caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman, election of Abu Bakr as first caliph. (P.370) The following are; ethics, philosophies, practices, traditions or virtues from each of the religions we have studied. You can see that they have many things in common. Judaism: Love your fellow as yourself and ethical guidelines such as the Ten Commandments, laws concerning all aspects of life, such as land ownership, civil and criminal procedure, family law, sacred observances, diet, and ritual slaughter. Idolatry the worshipping of many gods or images of God, blasphemy against God, murder, theft, sexual behaviors outside of marriage, and cruelty to animals are all prohibited (P. 264) Hinduism: As we love God, God loves us. (P. 82) love and devotion, Dharma, often translated as religion, encompasses duty, natural law, social, ethics, health, and transcendental realization.
Dharma is a holistic approach to social coherence and the good of all, corresponding to order in the cosmos. (P. 69) ethical principles are non-violence, not to steal, continence, and non-covetousness, plus cleanliness, contentment, self-study, and devotion to God. (P. 78) primary ethic: that the happiness of others is essential to one’s own happiness. This consideration of others before oneself is a central dharmic virtue. (P. 91) Buddhism: Logic, meditation, cosmology, psychology, and monastic life. (P.168) The use of prayer and fasting. (P. 154) The reason that desire leads us to suffering, so one should relinquish thoughts of fame or fortune, let go of vanity. (P. 135) One lives happily and fully in the present moment, free from self-centeredness and full of compassion for others. One can serve them purely, for in this state there is no thought of oneself. Not to talk in a way that shows you are vain, divisive speech, or use harsh words. Avoid destroying life, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, gossiping, and intoxicants. Beyond these, we are to base our actions on clear understanding. (P.137)
Confucianism: Honor and respect one’s parents (P. 196) ethics such as humanity, trustworthiness, sincerity, and altruism. (P.202) encourages becoming a responsible member of one’s family and of the community and having a sense of voluntary service to the community. (P.204) innate goodness, love, benevolence, perfect virtue, humaneness, and human-heartedness, unselfish public service, human kindness. (P.195) Daoism: Simple life in harmony with nature & having great mental and physical discipline (P. 180- 181) the dead is paid proper respect so that ancestors will help their descendants (P. 177) respectful ceremonies for the highest heavenly beings are done. (P. 179) practical concern with improving harmony in life. (P.181) Both Daoism and Buddhism emphasize the ever-changing nature of things in the cosmos. (P. 193) Meditation is at the base of the Daoism. (P.181) Islam have injunctions against drinking intoxicating beverages, eating certain meats (including pork, rodents, predatory animals, certain birds, and improperly slaughtered animals), gambling and vain sports, sexual relations outside of marriage, and sexually provocative dress, talk, or actions.
God should be remembered and brought into every aspect of daily life. Positive things such as commanding justice, kindness, and charity. They are to exercise justice and honesty in their relationships and business interactions, to manage their wealth carefully, and to avoid arrogance. (P.380) Christians believe in missionary work, treated others as they want to be treated, one God, the ten commandments which basically say not to do many of the same things the other religions are against as well such as not to lie, steal, kill, vanity, to honor your parents, (P.294) To pay more attention to the life of the spirit than to physical comfort and wealth (P. 291) each religion has ethical and moral beliefs to keep their society morally correct and on the right path. All believe in a form of prayer or meditation, basic golden rules or ten commandments or Li or however each religion likes to call them but at the core they are the same. Not hurt others, pure body, minds, and souls.
Teachings of being responsible, doing public services, missionary work, and to be humble not prideful, to have compassion and humility, to not concern oneself with earthly possessions or fame to concentrate on the spiritual life. Modesty rules or beliefs they all seem to have that in common as well along with not being cruel to animals, or put toxins in the body. I have learned many things about all the different world religions and even though they may differ on whether Jesus was the son of God, or what holidays to celebrate, details about how, when or where to worship, the core of each is to try to become a better person whether that means finding enlightenment, becoming a better Christian, following the Qur’an or whatever words to describe it are used the basic message of treating others as you would yourself, being honesty, trustworthy, kind, compassionate, loving, humble, charitable, and remember what is truly important the spiritual life not possessions or anything that feeds the ego.
Those are the same in any religion or faith. I have come to realize that Islam and Christians are very much alike it seems that where the split began is on whether or not Jesus is the son of God because both see him as delivering the word of God and both agree with the message he gave. Respect the differences and recognize how many similarities there are. The interview showed a very positive modern high energy side to Christianity that I did not know of before. They are very modern with their missions to help get the word out and even have live services on the web. They offer so many different kinds of missionary services and do these missionaries all over the world as well as locally.
Fisher, M.P. (2005). Living Religions (6th Ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Lecture on Christianity; Laura Templeman
Lecture on Islam; Laura Templeman