Unformatted text preview: Running head: ANALYTICAL ESSAY: CHRISTIANITY & ISLAM Analytical Essay: Christianity & Islam
RELI448N: Comparative Religion 1 ANALYTICAL ESSAY 2 Christianity & Islam are two of the largest religions with followers all over the world.
Followers of Christianity are referred to as Christians & followers of Islam are referred to as
Muslims. Muslims & Christians follow the writings of holy texts; the Bible in Christianity & the
Qur’an in Islam. Both Christianity & Islam are monotheistic religions in which the followers
believe in the same God, referred to as Allah in Islam, & believe that he is the sole creator of the
universe. There are many historical connections between Christianity & Islam. Both religions
originated in the Middle East. Christianity was founded on the life & teachings of Jesus while
Islam was founded on the teachings of Muhammed, both of whom are prophets of God. While
both religions believe in Jesus, they differ in their beliefs about him. The following paragraphs
will explain the similarities & differences between these two religions.
Both Christianity & Islam originated in the Middle East. Christianity originated in the
town of Jerusalem, now known as Israel. Jesus sent disciples to preach throughout Israel.
Christianity became “the official religion of the Roman empire” & became “the religion of all of
Europe” & “existed on a smaller scale in varied forms in Ethiopia, the Middle East, & India”
(Molloy, 2012). Over the past five hundred years missionary & devotional movements have
spread Christianity to every continent & made it an international religion.
Islam originated in the already religious city of Mecca in the eastern Arabian Peninsula
with the teachings of Muhammed about 700 years after Christianity. Muhammed, in fearing for
his safety, fled about three hundred miles north to the city of Yathrib. Muhammed’s migration to
Yathrib is known in Arabic as the Hijra & is a significant event in the formation of Islam known
as year 1. Yathrib is the home of the first mosque & is know known as Medina & is considered
on of the most sacred cities in Islam along with Mecca & Jerusalem (Molloy, 2012). Islam spread
throughout Arabia & with the weakness of the Byzantine & Persian empires Islam exp&ed into ANALYTICAL ESSAY 3 their territories taking over Syria in 635 CE, Persia in 636 CE, & Egypt in 640 CE. Over the next
70 years Islam spread across northern Africa & then into eastern Africa. In 711 CE Islamic forces
entered Spain & could have spread across western Europe but were stopped in southern France
by Christian forces. “Islam continued to spread eastward into non-Arab cultures, & Arab
domination of Islam waned as Islam spread to present-day Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan,
Pakistan, northern India, & Bangladesh. Islam also spread into western China” (Molloy, 2012).
Christianity is a religion that grew out of Judaism & originated with the life & teachings
of Jesus. Jesus was a Jew who was born in Bethlehem about two thous& years ago to the virgin
Mary & Christian’s believe him to be the son of God (Molloy, 2012). He spent around three
years traveling around Palestine with his twelve disciples preaching & teaching about God. He
was arrested in Jerusalem by authorities who thought he was a threat to public order around the
time of Passover, nailed to a cross, & crucified on a Friday (Molloy, 2012). On the following
Sunday some of his followers went to care for his body but found his tomb empty, & his
disciples were convinced that he returned to life (Molloy, 2012). According to the New
Testament he ascended into the sky forty days later promising to return.
Islam was founded by Muhammed. Before Islam emerged “the religions of the Arabian
Peninsula were Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, & traditional local religious practices”
(Molloy, 2012). Muhammed received his first revelation when he was 40 years old but doubted
it. He confided in his wife who encouraged him to accept the revelation as a true communication
from God (Molloy, 2012). Muhammed began preaching to people about his revelations. His
messages were about encouraging people to show goodwill to each other & care for the weak &
the poor & insisting that there was only one God (Allah) to be worshiped & statues & images of
other gods needed to be destroyed. In 620 CE, Muhammed experienced what is known as his ANALYTICAL ESSAY 4 Night Journey or Night of Ascent in which the angel Gabriel guided him upward toward the
highest heaven after being carried into Jerusalem (Molloy, 2012). During his ascent he
encountered angels & prophets such as Abraham & Jesus before finally entering the presence of
God (Molloy, 2012). “This experience confirmed for Muhammed his vocation as a prophet &
messenger from God” (Molloy, 2012). (Molloy, 2012). Muhammed & his followers viewed him
as the last of God’s prophets, but did not consider him divine, who transmitted God’s word to
humanity (Molloy, 2012).
Both Christianity & Islam believe that God created the universe & the human race with
the creation of Adam & Eve. Both religions also believe in Jesus as a prophet however, there are
differences between what the religions believe when it comes to Jesus. Christians believe that
Jesus is the son of God. Muslim’s believe he is a messenger of God, but not God’s son although
like Christian’s they do believe him to be the son of the virgin Mary which is confirmed in the
Qur’an. Muslim’s also do not believe Jesus to be divine. Christians believe that Jesus was nailed
to the cross, crucified, & resurrected but Muslims do not. They believe that God saved Jesus, & it
was another man with the likeness of Jesus that was crucified. Muslim’s believe that since Jesus
was not crucified, there was no resurrection.
Muslim’s believe that Christianity & Judaism have contaminated God’s word with
translation & human misunderst&ing. “It was Muhammad, Muslims believe, who freed the
divine message from human error & offered it, purified, to all people” (Molloy, 2012). Even
though Muslim’s believe that Christianity & Judaism influenced Muhammed they believe that
his religious ideas came directly from God.
The holy text of Islam is the Qur’an. It is written in Arabic & is the sermon’s & teachings
of Muhammed. The Bible is the holy text of Christianity & it is formed by the Old Testament & ANALYTICAL ESSAY 5 the New Testament. Both holy texts have been translated into every language, but it is the belief
of Muslims that the authoritative version of the Qur’an are the original words of God as spoken
to Muhammed & they can only be spoken in Arabic. Muslims believe the Qur’an offers guidance
for them to follow as Christian’s believe that of the Bible. Muslims follow the Five Pillars of
Islam & Christian’s follow the Ten Comm&ments.
Today Islam continues to spread, grow, & change. There are women’s movements
spreading all over the world. The way women were treated in Islam was once considered
protection, but this is not the case anymore. Dress codes are changing, Muslim women are see
working & no longer just in domestic roles, & in some places, they are fighting for equality with
men. Islam is attracting coverts in places that were formally considered non-Muslim as a way to
deliberately reject Christianity.
There have been many conflicts with Muslims over religious & cultural beliefs over the
years & Islam has been embraced by many for political reasons. Over the last couple of decades
there have been many terrorist attacks that have been linked to the Islamic originations such as
al-Qaida & ISIS. These groups have claimed responsibility for attacks carried out all over the
world resulting in the loss of thous&s of innocent lives & they encourage acts of violence as a
way to achieve their agendas. The deaths of Suddam Hussein & Osama Bin-Laden have
weakened these groups.
Christianity also continues to spread, grow, & change. A lot of the beliefs of Christianity
are based on miracles such as the virgin birth of Jesus, healings performed by Him, & his
resurrection & ascension. The growth of science challenges these beliefs & creates doubts, such
as the theory of evolution, & will continue to do so. Christianity, like Islam, has also seen ANALYTICAL ESSAY
criticism because of political issues. A lot of time religion is used as a way to take a side on a
With either the Christian or Islamic religion, one belief that is the same is the belief in
one God. Christians & Muslims have always believed in the same god & believe that he is the
creator of the universe. There are many differences & similarities that can be found between
these two religions. 6 ANALYTICAL ESSAY 7 References
Molloy, M. (11/2012). Experiencing the World's Religions, 6th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf
version]. Retrieved from ...
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