What Muslims and Christians believe

Published 8:26 pm Saturday, August 12, 2006

If you need a brief comparison of Islam and Christianity, this might help:

What Christians believe:

The central belief in Christianity is that Jesus is God incarnate. In order to be saved a person must accept him as one’s own personal savior because he is the only true path to Heaven. Most Christians hold that Hell is the absence of God, that the soul has one physical life, and will not re-incarnate into another physical form after death.

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When Jesus died on the cross his sacrifice was sufficient. The good works of a believer are to serve Christ, not in order to help pay for salvation. Good works are the evidence, not the means of being saved. The gold standard for good works is the ten commandments which Jesus condensed into two: love God without reservation and love others by doing for them what we would wish for ourselves. Good works include loving, praying for, and doing good for everyone including our enemies.

What muslims believe:

Muslims believe that Muhammad, who lived from 570 to 632 A.D., was a chosen prophet and is to be revered but not worshiped. Islam also recognizes that there were other prophets before Mohammad — Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus — but strongly believe that no other prophets will follow Muhammad.

There are six basic beliefs in Islam:

Belief in God — Allah as the one true all-powerful God with no partner, equal, or son. No other God is to be worshiped but Allah.

2. Belief in the Angels — Honored creatures that do Allah’s work. Gabriel was the angel that brought the Qur’an down to Muhammad.

3. Belief in the Prophets and Messengers of God — Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus (among others). Muhammad is the last of these chosen prophets.

4. Belief in God’s Revealed Books — Muslims believe that God sent his message to prophets to record in books to serve as guidance for all mankind. The Koran contains the instructions by which a believer can work out his or her salvation.

5. Belief in the Day of Judgment — A day of judgment will take place when all people that have ever lived will be resurrected and judged by God according to their deeds and beliefs.

6. Belief in Divine Predestination. Although Allah the Creator, has given man freewill, each person will be held responsible for his or her actions. Predestination includes four main facets: God knows everything that has happened and will happen, God has recorded all that has and will happen, What God wills to happen will happen and what he does not will, will not happen.

Muslims hold, there are Five Pillars of Islam which prescribe a lifestyle that a proper Muslim is required to follow.. These five pillars are:

1. The Testimony of Faith — Saying with conviction, “There is no true god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.”

2. Prayer — Muslims pray directly to Allah five times per day.

3. Giving Zakat — Zakat is the giving of a percentage of one’s property and wealth to the needy.

4. Fasting During the Month of Ramadan — The fast takes place from dawn until sundown and Muslims abstain from all food, drink, and sex.

5. The Pilgrimage to Makkah — Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca to visit the Ka’ba. All Muslims that are able should make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.

For those who believe in the oneness of God and do good works, God has prepared an everlasting Paradise. Anyone who believes and practices this may enter Paradise — Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others. Muslims believe that this world is their one and only chance to earn this gift. Life involves preparing the soul to become worthy to pass through death, and move into eternity in Paradise. Allah will judge each person and one’s salvation depends upon how well he or she has fulfilled the prescribed Muslim lifestyle.

These are the basic tenets of the Muslim faith that Muslims believe and practice… President Bush was thinking about them when he described Islam as a good religion. America can welcome Muslim moderates who honestly subscribe to this view.

On the other hand, the downside of Islam is that a believer is locked into a system from which he cannot leave. If he converts to another religion he must be shunned and may be killed. The Koran allows no tolerance of other faiths to the degree that, if an “infidel” cannot be persuaded to accept the Muslim faith he may rightfully be killed. In short, Christians are free to examine the Muslim faith but a Muslim must not risk looking into the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. This seems strange and clearly out of step in ourAmerican society which is dedicated to freedom of expression.

Radical Islam interprets the Koran as teaching that the earth belongs to Islam and the Muslims are fully justified in destroying all the nations and their inhabitants including other Muslims, who do not submit to their view of the Islam faith. Franklin Graham was referring to radical Islam’s bombing of the twin towers and the Pentagon when he described it as a terrible religion.

An altogether different view of human life was offered by Jesus when he identified the greatest commandment as the love of God and the second commandment as the love of our fellow man.

Paul also described the heart of the Christian faith in this passage of scripture:

“When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us.by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:4-6.