An Overview The Virgin Mary and Jesus The Prophet Jesus (pbuh)

Islam vs Christianity 

The Proclamation by Jesus of the Mission of the Prophet of Islam 

 

 


Overview:

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are three closely related religions. Because they all revere Abraham and certain other patriarchs mentioned in the Bible as their spiritual ancestors, they are called Abrahamic religions. However, their many points of similarity are no guarantee that their followers can get along. Most of the serious religiously motivated conflicts, mass crimes against humanity and genocides in the 20th century have been between Muslims and Christians. This has included genocides in Bosnia Herzegovina, East Timor, and the Sudan, as well as serious conflicts in Cyprus,  Kosovo, Macedonia, and the Philippines. As of mid-2001, two of these conflicts (Sudan and Philippines) are still active, and three others are inert only because of peacekeepers on the ground.

It is difficult to compare Christianity to any other religion, because there is such a wide range of beliefs and practices among various wings of Christianity: Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox churches, the Anglican communion and the tens of thousands of Protestant faith groups. Some commentators have suggested that Christianity consists of a number of different religions which share little more than the Bible and the name of their religion. Protestant Christianity is obviously divided into at least liberal and conservative wings -- divisions which hold few beliefs in common. Some of the descriptions below will thus necessarily be somewhat simplistic and lacking in precision.


About the religions themselves:

Name of the religion: Christianity Islam
Meaning of the name: Believer in Christ (a Greek word meaning Messiah). Submission to the will of God.
Name of a believer: Christian. Muslim.
Date of founding: circa 30 CE.  622 CE. 
Name of founder(s): Yeshua of Nazareth (aka Jesus Christ, (pbuh) 3 & Paul. Muhammad (pbuh) . However, Muslims generally regard Islam as dating back to the time of creation
% of world's population as followers: 33%. 20%.
Worldwide growth rate in numbers of members   2.3%/year. 2.9%/yr.
Growth rate: % of world's population: About 0.0%. Numbers have been steady for decades. Increase of about 0.6%/yr.
Estimated year when Islam will become the most popular world religion: 2023 CE (if above numbers are valid) to beyond 2200 CE (as estimated by some religious futurists)
% of U.S. population as followers: 2001 ARIS study estimates 76%, declining about 0.8% a year. 2001 ARIS study estimates 0.5%; some Muslim groups estimate 6 million (2%).
Internal divisions: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant, and others. Shi'ite, Sunni, Sufi. Sufi is a mystical tradition.

Beliefs:

Name of the religion: Christianity Islam
Concept of deity: Most believe in the Trinity; three persons in one Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God (Allah) is one and indivisible. believing in a strict monotheism. "Allah" means God in Arabic.
Status of Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ): Generally considered the Son of God, worshiped as God; part of the Trinity. Very highly respected as the second-last prophet.
Birth of Yeshua: Conservatives: virgin conception.
Liberals: conventional birth.
Virgin conception.
Death of Yeshua: Executed by Roman Army circa 30 CE. Was not killed, crucified, or suffered death. Muslims believe that he ascended alive into heaven. 
Yeshua's location Ascended into Heaven Ascended into Heaven
Identity of "another helper" or "comforter" * Holy Spirit Muhammad (pbuh)
Second coming of Jesus Conservatives: expect in near future. Liberals: varied. Anticipate the second coming in the future.
Status of Adam: Disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. Free from all major sins and faults. Some regard him as a prophet.
Holy book: Bible. Qur'an.
Original languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek. Arabic.
Status of the holy book: Conservatives: the inerrant Word of God. Liberals: a historical spiritual document. God's word and final revelation, dictated by angel Gabriel.
Additional guidance: Writings of the leaders of the early Church. For Roman Catholics: church tradition. The Hadith -- sayings of Muhammad (pbuh).
Ethic of reciprocity  (Golden rule): "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Matthew 7:12  "Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." Fourth Hadith of an-Nawawi 13
A baby's status at birth Conservatives: A baby is born with a sin nature, separated from God. God needs to give him grace so that he may be saved. All babies are a born in a pure state of submission to Islam. However, as they mature they are often taught other beliefs.
Life after death: Either Heaven or Hell. Catholics believe in Purgatory as a third state. Heaven or Hell.
Basis of determining destination after death: There is no consensus in Christianity. Different faith groups hold Various diverse beliefs: trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior, good works, church sacraments, baptism, avoiding certain actions. Once they reach puberty, his/her account of deeds is opened in Paradise. To attain paradise, at death, their good deeds (helping others, testifying to the truth of God, leading a virtuous life etc.) must outweigh their evil deeds.
Confessing sins: Roman Catholic: to God or Jesus, either directly or through a priest; Others: to God or Jesus To Allah (swt) Shi'a believe you can make dua through Imams but they do not pray directly to them. 
Probably the most misunderstood term: Immaculate Conception: Roman Catholics believe that the conception of the Virgin Mary, circa 20 BCE, was without sin. Many incorrectly relate it to Yeshua's' conception. Jihad: internal, personal struggle towards the attainment of a noble goal. Many incorrectly equate it to "holy war."

* From John 14:16: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever."


Notes:

  1. The Christian church is normally considered to have begun at Pentecost, 50 days after Christians believe that Jesus was executed. Unfortunately, the year of his death is unknown.
  2. Most religious historians view Islam as having been founded in 622 CE. However, many if not most of the followers of Islam believe that:
    • Islam existed before Muhammad (pbuh) was born.
    • The origins of Islam date back to the creation of the world.
  3. Muslims traditionally acknowledge respect for Muhammad, Jesus and other prophets (peace be upon them) by adding this phrase or an abbreviation "(pbuh)" after their names.
  4. Greg H. Parsons, Executive Director, "U.S. Center for World Mission," Pasadena, CA; quoted in Zondervan News Service, 1997-FEB-21.
  5. One exception is the Nation of Islam which promotes a black supremacist ideology. For example, leader Louis Farrakhan stated that "White people are potential humans…they haven’t evolved yet." (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2000-MAR-18). However, most Muslims do not consider the Nation of Islam to be part of Islam, because of its unique beliefs about God, humanity and the rest of the universe.

Copyright © 2001 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-AUG-4 Author: B.A. Robinson