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The Definition of Religion

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Islam and Christianity: Similarities

Islam and Christianity are two the major religions that exist in the world nowadays. These religions have a historical connection that makes them have either similar or different features. Both of two faiths come from Middle East. Both religions claim that there is one God \ Allah and his messengers (apostles). The two faiths provide their messages to believers by scriptural writings. Islam is based on Quran. The Bible is the holy book on which the religion of Christianity is based.

Both Islam and Christianity trace their roots to Abraham. Abraham religions are the faiths, which trace their roots to Abraham. Islam and Christianity also recognize spiritual traditions identified by Abraham. According to statistics, more than 55% of the world’s population has confidence with Abrahamism, in early twenty – first century. Christianity and Islam are two of the three key branches of Abrahamism. The third of these faiths is Judaism.

Christianity and Islam say that God\Allah created the universe, the heaven, the earth and is sovereign in the lives of living beings. It is seen from the first lines of the Holy books "Praise be to God, who created the heavens and the earth, and made the darkness and the light." (Quran, sura 6:1); "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Bible, gen. 1:1).

Either Muslim’s or Orthodox’s worshipers believe that God\Allah is a source of morality and justice. The main argument, which shows God’s \ Allah’s ultimate justice is dispending the life after death. The followers of both religions believe in the resurrection after death. The scriptural stories tell that the lives of worshipers will continue in heaven or hell. The two faiths trust in scripture and revelation. Either Islam or Christianity has sacred writings that retell stories of saints’ lives and suffering. The main task of such writings is to bring to worshipers the doctrines of God\Allah. The revelation in both faiths shows to believers the way in the world to come.

The centralization of community of believers plays great part in the two faiths. Admittedly, churches are communitarian dimensions. What the ‘umma’ is for Muslims, the ‘church’ is for Christians. The worshipers accept umma\ church as the house of Allah\ God and have specific treatment to it.

Islam and Christianity: Contrasts

In spite of similarities, Islam and Christianity have many differences. Christianity and Islam have identical views on basic rules for human lives, but they provide vastly different comments upon those views.

God Understanding and Doctrine of Trinity

The understanding of God is similar in both religions. Nevertheless, the conceptualizing of theologies is different. The basic thesis of Islam is 'shahada', which states that ‘there is no god but God’. Christians affirm this statement, as well. However, Muslims understand God as an ‘absolute unity’ (‘tawhid’). There is no definition within the Godhead. Therefore, it means that God is sublimely one, and the main polemic of Muslims against the Christians is a belief of Christians in the Trinity (Kuisma, 2001). In Christianity, the Trinity means that God exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The words of Bible state that all authority on Heaven and Earth has been given to God. Everything on the Earth and Heaven is made in the name of the Father and ofthe Son and ofthe Holy Spirit (Bible, Matthew 28:19). The central point that causes problems among Christianity and Islam is the doctrine of Trinity. Because of trinity, Muslims insist that Christians believe in three gods (Quran, 4:171). As the matter of fact, Christian doctrine of the trinity is perceived by Muslims in the wrong way. This refers to the history.  Early interactions of Muslims and Christians brought inadequate understanding of Trinity in Christian faith (Saud & Na%u01E7m%u0101b%u0101d%u012B, 2005). Actually, Christians as well as Muslims believe in one God. Bible proves this statement: "Jesus answered: ' The most important one is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one'." (Bible, Mark 12:29). Moreover, Apostle Paul said: "We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one." (Bible, 1Cor8:4). Trinity is not easy to understand. However, it does not proclaim three Gods. It proves greatness of the God.

The Understanding of Revelation

The main believe in Christianity is that God reveled himself for our sake. His deed frees us from sin bounds and leads to fullness of life in this world and in the world to come. According to Islam, revelation is not to redeem worships. The revelation in Islam is for ‘guidance’. It means that revelation of God provides guidance for living in this world.

The Understanding of the Word of God

In Islam, Quran is accepted as the ‘unmediated’ word of God while Christians consider the Bible as the mediated word of God. Christians tend to believe that the Bible is not a collection of some ahistorical, mystical revelations of God. It is rather chronicles of God’s wonderful intervention in human history, written by human words within human history. Islam stresses that Muhammad was illiterate and completely detached while receiving revelation. Muhammad simply received what was put in his mouth. Therefore, Quran means ‘recitation’. The Quran eternally exists in heaven. It was expressed by Muhammad as a passive instrument of revelation. Speaking about scriptural writings, it is significant to note that Islam is a book-centered religion that Christianity is (Kuisma, 2001). It is often said that the New Testament means the same for Christianity as the Quran for Muslims. However, it is not true. It would be more appropriate to say that Quran for Islam is the same as Christ is to Christians. Therefore, Islam is a book -centered religion when Christianity is a person-centered religion. Anyway, avoiding misunderstandings among faiths, either Christians or Muslims found the way out. Muslims tell that since the Quran is a Word of God, it always coexists with God. Christians explain this cross-purpose saying that there is one God, who is eternal, and the Christ exists for all eternity. As the World of God Christ always exists with Father, so God the Father could never exist apart from his word.

What is Atheism?

Atheism is described as the absence of belief in gods’ existence. The main reason for Atheism is an inherent inability to believe religious doctrines and teachings, which seems to be literally incredible (Alper, 2008). The aspect of Atheism is a deliberate choice of the person. They say that Atheism is not a lack of belief. It bases on simple ignorance of religious teachings. Basically, many Atheists go beyond the absence of belief in the Supreme Being or Beings existence.  There exist ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ Atheist positions. The ‘weak’ Atheist position generally means that a person believes that particular god or all gods do not exist. While, ‘strong’ Atheist position proclaims that particular god or all gods cannot exist. It is significant to note that many Atheists do not believe in existence of all Gods, some of them limit their atheism to particular Gods’ existence (Alper, 2008).

There are many philosophical justifications for Atheism. Majority of Atheists consider that almost all religions’ idea of God as presented by the major religious is essentially self-contradictory. They say it is logically impossible that such Gods could exist. However, there are Atheists through skepticism because they do not see the evidence that God or Gods exist.

Conclusion

Comparing Christianity and Islam, one understands how many similarities and differences these religions combine. Both Muslims and Christians have a belief in righteous living and doing good to others. Main principles of each of the two religions are the same. However, the interpretation of key doctrines is completely different. For example, the central point that causes problems among Christianity and Islam is the doctrine of Trinity. This doctrine is the main concept of Christian faith. Muslims do not accept it at all. One of major differences between the two faiths is that Islam is a book-centered religion while Christianity is a person- centered religion.

Islam rejects original sin of Adam and Eve while Christianity asserts that humans have guilt of Adam’s and Eve’s sin. Christ always exists with Father, so God the Father could never exist apart from his word. Atheists generally deny the existence of supreme powers. Even after centuries of efforts to explain God’s existence, people of different confessions did not found logical proof for that. Unfortunately, reality is not always decided by logic. 

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