OpEd, Politics

The Differences and Similarities between Christianity and Islam

By Joseph Akim Gordon

Religion plays a greater role in human life; it advocates for world peace; it is involved in humanitarian services around the world; it provides education and health services; and it provides many other humanitarian services.

The major religious groups include Christianity, with 2.382 billion believers (31.11%), Islam 1,907 billion (24.9%), secular/non-religious/agnostic/atheist 1.193 billion (15.58%), and Hinduism 1.161 billion (15.16%), the world would be a safer place if religious groups adhered to their doctrine. Although they all advocate for peace, others are also involved in causing conflicts. terrorism and wars in the world.

Christianity has six branches: Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Oriental Orthodoxy, and Assyria. The Christian denominations are: Catholic 50%, Protestant 37%, Eastern Orthodox 9.4%, and Oriental Orthodox 2.5%. Christians believe in one God who created heaven and the universe. Their belief in one God originated with the Jewish religion. Christians believe Jesus is the Messiah or Saviour of the world. They also believe that he is the son of God.

Islam is also a world religion; it comprises two sections, Suni and Shia, but the bitter split between the two dates back 14 centuries. The division originated with a dispute over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad as leader of the Islamic faith. Basically, the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims is that Sunni Muslims believe that the prophet did not declare his successor, but Shia Muslims believe that the prophet publicly designated his cousin and son-in-law Hazr Ali as the first in the line of hereditary Imams from the prophet’s family to lead the community after his death. Suni is the largest branch of Islam, accounting for 85–90% of the world’s Muslims. The two sectors of Islam have existed for centuries and share fundamental beliefs and practices, but differ in doctrine, ritual, laws, theology, and religious organization.

The differences between Christianity and Islam A key difference is that Christianity is founded on the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and those who follow this dogma are called Christians, whereas Muslims believe that the word of God and the teachings of Islam were shared by Prophet Muhammed, who is believed to be the final prophet who taught Allah’s law and revealed the Islamic faith through the angel Gabriel. Islam views Jesus as a Messiah, sent to guide the children of Israel, and a messenger of God, not the son of God. whereas Christians believe Jesus to be the messiah son of God. Muslims believe that Allah or God passes messages down to earth through the prophets Jesus and Muhammad, and all prophets should be respected but not worshipped. The Muslims regard Jesus as a human prophet and do not believe that Jesus is divine.

There are also some similarities between Christianity and Islam. They are the two largest religions in the world and share many similarities, although there are some differences. Both religions have a similar place of origin, which is the Middle East. Christians believe in Jesus as the Son of God, who was born in the Middle East in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago, while Muslims believe in Islam, which was founded over 1,400 years ago in Makkah, which is known today as Saudi Arabia.

Other similarities between Christianity and Islam include the following:

  • They both believe that practicing their religion is good for them because it creates harmony and peace.
  • They believe that Satan is real and works to tempt people away from God and to commit sin.
  • They believe that paradise or the heaven family is the foundation of their belief, and hell is a literal place.
  • They believe that Jesus was born to the virgin Mary.
  • They believe that family is the foundation of their beliefs, and it has a big impact on society.
  • Moslems and Christians believe that obeying God creates peace and harmony and brings blessings to life after death.
  • Both believe that Jesus will return from heaven.
  • Both faiths believe in the afterlife.
  • Both religions believe that humans will have a day of judgement and will be judged for the lives they lead on earth. For Christians, it determines whether they will go to heaven or hell for the rest of eternity. But for Muslims, they refer to the afterlife as Akhirah, meaning that they will stay in their graves until the end of the world when they have their day for judgement. They will come before Allah or God if they lived a good life; if they lived a bad life, they would go to Jennah or heaven; if they lived a bad life, they would go to Jahannam or hell.

Living in Sudan for many years, as Christians the declaration of Islamic sheria laws created problems among Christians they restricted the growth of the church, they made it sure to occupy senior positions in the country, you must convert to the Islamic faith so that you can be promoted to senior positions you be accessible to wealth once you become a Muslim, many of South Sudanese politicians became Muslim, they practiced Islamic faith in secrecy, at one occasion one of South Sudan politician who converted to Islam when he died, the family members were denied the right to conduct Christian prayer, the Muslim took over and show a proof that the politician was already a Muslim.  If a Christian wanted to marry a Muslim woman, they were obliged to change their religion. But in case you marry and refuse to convert to Islam, the consequences are that when you have two wives, one Muslim and the other Christian, the Muslim wife will have the right, together with her children, to inherit your properties, while the Christian wife and children will have no right to inheritance.

When a Muslim converts to Christianity or any other region, he must be condemned to death, but when a Christian converts to Islam, it is normal and accepted. I had a neighbor in Khartoum who was a devout Muslim; he had a bible. I asked him, you are a Muslim, why do you have a bible? He told me that the Quran says that if they cannot get some facts in the Quran, they better read the holy bible. He further commented that people do not read the Quran but memorize some chapters. Those who are literate and follow the text of the Quran They often act in line with what is dictated in the Quran, which advocates for peace, justice, and tolerance.

The South Sudanese are good Muslims, which is why there is a cordial relationship with Christians. When there is a Christian festival, they join the Christians and vice versa in celebrating together. In one family, you can have a Christian living together with a Muslim without any segregation. You must maintain this status. If there are foreign Muslims living with us, they should not poison you with negative ideology to disturb our good relationship with Muslims in South Sudan. Let the Christians and Muslims pray to bring lasting peace to our country, and let God bless you all.

The author can be reached through email: akimgordon222@gmail.com

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