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:
of the religion:
|Meaning of the name:
Christ (a Greek word meaning Messiah).
to the will of God.
|Name of a believer:
|Date of founding:
|Name of founder(s):
Nazareth (aka Jesus Christ, (pbuh) 3
. However, Muslims generally
regard Islam as dating back to the time of creation
|% of world's population as
|Worldwide growth rate in
numbers of members
|Growth rate: % of world's
Numbers have been steady for decades.
|Estimated year when Islam
will become the most popular world religion:
CE (if above numbers are valid) to beyond 2200 CE (as
estimated by some religious futurists)
|% of U.S. population as
study estimates 76%, declining about 0.8% a year.
study estimates 0.5%; some Muslim groups estimate 6
Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant, and
Sunni, Sufi. Sufi is a mystical tradition.
of the religion:
|Concept of deity:
believe in the Trinity; three persons in one Godhead:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
is one and indivisible. believing in a strict
monotheism. "Allah" means God in Arabic.
|Status of Yeshua of
Nazareth (Jesus Christ):
considered the Son of God, worshiped as God; part of the
respected as the second-last prophet.
|Birth of Yeshua:
Liberals: conventional birth.
|Death of Yeshua:
Roman Army circa 30 CE.
killed, crucified, or suffered death. Muslims believe that
he ascended alive into heaven.
|Identity of "another
helper" or "comforter" *
|Second coming of Jesus
expect in near future. Liberals: varied.
the second coming in the future.
|Status of Adam:
God in the Garden of Eden.
all major sins and faults. Some regard him as a prophet.
|Status of the holy book:
the inerrant Word of God. Liberals: a historical spiritual
and final revelation, dictated by angel Gabriel.
the leaders of the early Church. For Roman Catholics:
-- sayings of Muhammad (pbuh).
|Ethic of reciprocity
all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,
do ye even so to them." Matthew 7:12
one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother
what he loves for himself." Fourth Hadith of an-Nawawi
|A baby's status at birth
A baby is born with a sin nature, separated from God. God
needs to give him grace so that he may be saved.
are a born in a pure state of submission to Islam.
However, as they mature they are often taught other
|Life after death:
Heaven or Hell. Catholics believe in Purgatory as a third
|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
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.
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
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.
internal, personal struggle towards the attainment of a
noble goal. Many incorrectly equate it to "holy
* 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."
- 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.
- Most religious historians view Islam as having been founded
in 622 CE. However, many if not most of the followers of Islam
- Islam existed before Muhammad (pbuh) was born.
- The origins of Islam date back to the creation of the
- Muslims traditionally acknowledge respect for Muhammad,
Jesus and other prophets (peace be upon them) by adding this
phrase or an abbreviation "(pbuh)" after their
- Greg H. Parsons, Executive Director, "U.S. Center
for World Mission," Pasadena, CA; quoted in Zondervan
News Service, 1997-FEB-21.
- 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
Copyright © 2001 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-AUG-4 Author: B.A. Robinson