Most Americans tend to think of religion as something rather fluid. It’s very common for us to say things like “all religions are basically the same,” and “we’re all just pursuing god on our own path.” What a religion ACTUALLY BELIEVES is just not seen as that important. But, as some famous person somewhere once said, “you become what you believe.”
It is also very common for the American media to talk about “Muslim extremists,” by which they refer to the small, fringe group of people who actually believe in orthodox Islam. Muslims who follow what Islam actually teaches are not “fanatics.” They are simply Muslims, and the same goes for Christianity.
Maybe you don’t believe that specific tenets of faith are important at all to salvation. Perhaps you are one of these “many paths up the mountain,” people. That’s all well and good. I wish you luck on your journey. However, even if you think that beliefs are unimportant to God, perhaps you can concede some small ground. At least let’s all agree that if one applies belief to life, belief leads to action, and action impacts our world. So lets look at three interesting ways that Islam and Christianity just don’t quite line up. I’ll let you decide which one, if lived, might have the better impact on the human race.
“Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.” Ayatollah Khomeini
“Joy is a gift from God. It fills us from within. It is like an anointing of the Spirit. And this joy is the certainty that Jesus is with us and with the Father.” Pope Francis in his Christmas homily last year.
Pope Francis is absolutely speaking the message of Jesus, whose Spirit is Joy itself. As he says in scripture: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
– John 15:9-11
The Arabic word love, “hubb,” in all its grammatical forms, is used only 69 times in the Qur’an. Out of those 69 times, God’s love for man is mentioned only 20 times, and only in relation to what he loves and does not love. For example: “Those that keep their plighted faith and act aright, — verily Allah loves those who act aright.” 3:76
Just in ONE CHAPTER of scripture, “love” is used 27 times.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love….” I John 4:7-8
The New Testament alone lists 223 uses of a comparable translation of the word “love.”
Allah’s Apostle (The blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “In Paradise there is a pavilion made of a single hollow pearl sixty miles wide, in each corner of which there are wives who will not see those in the other corners; and the believers will visit and enjoy them.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 4879.
Sounds like a great place for men if you’re a sex addict! Doesn’t sound so good for women though. But that’s ok, because most women won’t make it:
“O women! Give to charity, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were women.. You curse frequently, and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 1462
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 8:4-6
“Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. Luke 14:21-23
Who does God have a heart for, according to Christianity? The poor, the oppressed, the suffering, the outcasts. In Christianity, heaven is a place of complete unity where the lowly are lifted up and the high and mighty are made low. Sounds like a win to me.