Essay: Christianity and Islam World Religion

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Christianity and Islam

By the 13 century in Europe, Christianity though was a relatively young religion, in comparison to Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and others had become the largest religion in the world. What accounted for that rapid growth and what can we learn about that experience that can contribute to the continued spread of Christianity in our time?

One of the biggest factors that contributed to the tremendous rise of Christianity was its acceptance as an official religion of the Roman Empire. At first it was often considered to be a sect (in comparison with pagan deities that were worshiped). Then, it became popular with the writings of Bishop Augustine and Monk Benedict. They believed that the world was a constant struggle between good and evil. In their works, they talked about how everyone will be forced to choose a side in this conflict. Those who support, righteousness will spend eternity in paradise. While those who engage in actions that are considered to be evil will more than likely spent eternity in hell. This was used to influence thinking, by helping people to realize that they play a part in the world around them. Therefore, their actions should be in line with these objectives at all times. These writings increased the popularity of Christianity by: spreading these ideas to others and allowing them to identify specific techniques for reaching out to everyone. (Malloy, 1942) (Shipp, 2002) (Shenk, 1980) (Kidd, 2009)

Many times objectors to the Christian faith make the argument that being a Christian is an accident of historical location. This means if we were born in China or Japan for instance we would most likely be Shinto or Buddhist. Hence geographical location is the biggest predictor to one's religious allegiance. How would you respond to such objection or critique?

The best way to respond to this critique is to agree with it. The reason why is because a particular regions of the world, are influenced by specific traditions and ideas. At the heart of these beliefs, are social norms and customs that are embraced by specific regions. Religion is a uniting force for these ideas through: teaching everyone about specific philosophies and how they can be applied in their daily lives. As a result, someone who is born in China or Japan will embrace these ideas. The fact that these two countries were closed off to the rest of world, meant that Shinto and Buddhism had less of a following than Christianity (based upon the geographic location). (Malloy, 1942) (Shipp, 2002) (Shenk, 1980) (Kidd, 2009)

Islam is motivated by Jihad. This concept has been responsible for much of its evangelistic zeal and its rapid spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa, especially during the first 200 years of its existence. Similarly Christianity grew rapidly because of the motivation and challenge of the Great Commission. How would you compare both motivations?

In Islam the term jihad is used to show how all believers must rally together to fight against the infidels at all costs. This is considered to be a battle for the religion and civilization. During this process, is when the faith has become more radicalized with: many people questioning the conviction of others and their commitment to Islam. It is at this point, that select groups will be criticized for not being as committed to the cause as others. In Christianity, a similar kind of approach was used with the Great Commission. This is when religious scholars and radicals openly questioned the loyalty of different members of the church. In both cases, there were atrocities committed against those who were not as fundamental as others. This is the point that both religions began to have internal conflicts from within. (Malloy, 1942) (Shipp, 2002) (Shenk, 1980) (Kidd, 2009)

What are some of the key intersecting points between Islam and Christianity? How are they similar and how are they different?

The key intersecting points between the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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