Current political and social climate around the world largely pits the views of Christianity and Islam as oposing religions in constant conflict with each other. In a geopolitical sense, these two religions can be made to represent the West versus the East. The teachings and values of Christians align with and are supported by the United States and many other prominent western cultures, contrary to the spread of Islam in predominantly Middle Eastern countries. These differences in religions are oftentimes made to represent an “us vs. them” mentality in which our values are the only correct ones and the teachings of Islam and its supporters are a threat to our way of life. This way of thinking leads to great political tension and can be used as rationale to fuel armed conflicts between the United States and countries in the Middle East. What may be surprising to many Americans, however, are the many similarities between the two religions. A closer analysis of Christianity and Islam finds them in agreement with many of the same religious principles, a connection oftentimes overlooked in today’s society.
A key idea concurrent with both Christianity and Islam many people may not understand is the point of both religions following the same teachings and linneage from God up to a certain point in time. Both are what are considered Abrahamic religions, or religions that trace their ancestry back to Abraham. Abraham was promised a son from God, but when his wife was very old, he had a son with their maid and named him Ishmael. Shortly after this son was born, Abraham’s wife Sarah bore a son as promised by God, naming him Isaac. These two sons are the split between the two religions, with Isaac going on to form Christianity while Ishmael is the decendent for Islam. Everything prior to this split, however, is the same and agreed upon by both religions. The creation of the Earth, heaven as a place of salvation, and God are all the same in both Christianity and Islam. This concept of the two being so closely interconnected was a concept I did not understand prior to this analysis, specifically the fundamental agreement of the early parts of each religion. I feel there is a stigma around Islam in the United States that leads many to be predesposed to write off Muslims as enemies. With Christianity being the most prominent religion in the United States, members of Islam are viewed as a threat to our way of life by many unaware Americans. What I learned that many may not understand, however, is that our two religions come from the same fundamental roots and may be more alike than many consider. With this new open-minded approach to the religious views of others, many international conflicts may be reconciled.
While there are many fundamental similarities between Christianity and Islam, I still believe the two religions are mutually exclusive. The core beliefs of each religion separate them from each other and make them distinct in their values. Christianity is rooted in a belief of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and an acceptance of him as your savior for sins is the only way to reach salvation. Islam, however, does not view Jesus as the Son of God but rather as a great profit. Salvation in their eyes is reached through worship to Muhammad and living a rightous life. While the two religions are closely interconnected, I feel the differences are so significant that they make them mutually exclusive.
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