Christianity and Islam Not so Different

Christianity and Islam are the largest two religions in the world. Both are easy to study as they are both based on written holy books. It is easy to cherry-pick sections out of their texts that align with a certain view, but looking at many different verses both Christianity and Islam they both contain contradictary lines that promotes violent and pacifist views. Looking back on the middle ages with a broad view makes it looks like the two major religions are not compatible with others. However, taking a closer look at the religions themselves as well as the context in which they fought it can be seen that Christianity and Islam are similar and the conflict between the two over the ages has been more political than spiritual.  

There are some interesting similarities between Christianity and Islam that might not be known to the common Christian from the West. Followers of Islam and followers of Christianity worship the same God. Both tie their origins to Abraham, but Christians believe their messiah Jesus is descended from Abraham’s son Issac while the Islamic messiah Muhammed is descended from a different son Ishmael. Islamic beliefs also hold that Jesus was a prophet of God, but they do not believe he is God in human form. All of these things are surprising to many because the western media only reports on extremist groups in the Middle East that want to kill non-muslims instead of the actual religious beliefs of the average person.

Reading some excerpts from the Quran and the Bible makes the two religions look more alike than different. Either side can take verses out of context to make the other look violent and barbaric. For example, a line from Sura 9:29-31 reads “Christians call Christ the Son of God… God’s curse be on them; how they are deluded from the truth”. However, Sura 109 1,2,6 says “I worship not that which ye worship… To you be your way, and to me mine”. Looking at only the first verse would make an outside source believe that followers of Islam hated Christians, but the second verse says that Muslims should not hate others for having different beliefs. Many Christians in the west know the Bible preaches loving your neighbor, but have never taken the time to study Islamic teachings to see that they are very similar.

The argument that the religions have been in conflict since the crusades is somewhat misguided. The crusades were romanticized to make the crusaders look like they were defending their religion and coming to the aid of fellow Christians. However, the crusades were more of a political matter than a matter of religious differences. Byzantine Emperor Alexius asked Pope Urban for a few thousand soldiers to be used as mercenaries to help him recapture Anatolia. Pope Urban wanted to use the invitation for help to prove to western kingdoms that the papacy had great power under its control. This call for a crusade by the pope had nothing to do with the differences between the religions but was about the Byzantines asking for help and the Pope wanting to prove he was a relevant power. Believing that the two religions are intrinsically at odds because of past wars is wrong because the call to crusade by the Pope had little to no impact by actual religious beliefs

Although there have been numerous conflicts from the middle ages to the modern-day, Christianity and Islam can coincide. Both religions worship the same God and have holy texts with similar messages. Modern-day western media usually does not delve into the actual beliefs of Islam and focuses on the extremist view of certain violent groups that do not reflect the majority of Muslims. If both sides understand the other religions it would not be hard to coincide and live in peace.

Word Count-641

-Seth Hanson

2 thoughts on “Christianity and Islam Not so Different

  1. The explanation of how Christians and Muslims came to be at odds with each other is really helpful in understanding the cause of the general relationship issues between the two groups. I am glad that you made it clear that the general divide seen today between Muslims and the West is largely due to the extremist views that are made public from mainstream media. I think it would have made your point even stronger if you included an example from the Bible that would have been the same as the Sura verses you used in your blog. Indeed, there are many similarities between the two that could make them not mutually exclusive, but I am also happy to see that you included what makes the two groups so different. Maybe to even further strengthen your point that the two are similar, you could have included another example of a similarity between the two books. Nonetheless, excellent job on elaborating on the history between the divide! We could live in harmony with each other if everyone understood the roots of the divide.

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  2. I really liked your post and you hit on several important points that are often glossed over. One of these aspects that I think is crucial is that the both these religions can coexist. The majority of Muslims are peaceful people and don’t seek to carry out some of the more violent verses presented in the Quran. Your example of the verses from the Sura reinforced this point well. While I do think there are some issues with current day commandments in the Quran, as I said it is a largely peaceful religion. In an age where information is so readily available, it is disappointing that so many people do not take the time to read up and study a religion that so deeply effects both the world as well as our military as a whole. We would all be able to understand each other much better if we did.

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