Monotheism in Christianity and Islam – Term Paper Example
The paper “Monotheism in Christianity and Islam" is a engrossing example of a term paper on religion and theology. Among the monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam are the largest with approximately 2billion and 1.3 billion believers respectively. It comes as no surprise therefore that they are the primary interest of most studies of religion and faith. Both are Abrahamic religions and share the practice of worshipping one deity, God. Monotheism is the name of this culture. Though it is ideally the same thing, in general, this element is uniquely different in the two faiths. These differences and similarities are what form the basis of this paper.
Islamic monotheism has its origins in the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, who the followers call Rasul i.e. the messenger of God. Muhammad was the last prophet among others, such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Naturally, Islam considers Muhammad as the mightiest, and his teachings taken as the absolute truth. They are, therefore, to be followed by all. It is possible to believe that Muhammad’s prominence among the believers was as a result of where he came from (Peters, pp. 36). At a period when the country, Arabia, practiced polytheism, the worship of many gods, Muhammad was born. Despite these ‘odds’, Muhammad taught of strictly monotheistic faith and a life that denounced idolatry and ritualism. At forty years, God spoke to him through Gabriel in which he was affirmed as an apostle of God. The Quran records Allah telling him to narrate the Lord’s name, who created man. Your Lord is the mightier. It is after this that he began to spread the religion to all sundry. At first, his followers were a paltry few, but it later grew steadily in followers. Islam is termed as a religion of the book with all the teachings recorded in one book, The Quran. The teachings of Muhammad are also recorded in the Hadith.
Christianity, a Semitic religion as well, is deeply rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ otherwise referred to as the Saviour. Though from Nazareth, Jesus was born of a virgin mother, Mary, in a place called Bethlehem. Christianity is primarily linked to Judaism, another monotheistic faith, partly because Jesus himself was a Jew, and his preaching focused on cleansing Judaism. Though monotheistic, the idea of the Holy Trinity sheds doubt as to whether it is a monotheistic faith. Christians believe in an all-powerful God, whose ideas are written in the holy book, the Bible. In the new testament of this Bible is a record of the teachings of Jesus and other disciples such as Paul, John, and Mark.
Both Christian and Islamic faiths are religions of revelation and centered on a book, either the Bible or the Quran. In these two books, Abraham is an important figure considered to be the first prophet of God. Both religions believe in the absolute truth that there is only one single God. This belief means that God does not compete for supremacy with other lesser gods. The two religions’ monotheism is decisively ethical, and is based from a God-given law code and most importantly the moral standards (Catherwood, pp. 46). Another similarity is in the fact that they all are Semitic religions and as thus seems to have originated from the same doctrines. In fact, the Quran recognizes Jesus, only that he is just a prophet in their religion. The two books agree on one fact; that there is no other god besides God (Allah).
It might seem that both Christianity and Islam have similar monotheistic views. This notion is however not correct as Islamic, and Christian views have less compatibility on this front (Langermann, pp. 97). Whereas Islam identifies the presence of just one God, Allah, Christianity believes that their God is three in one. This doctrine is famously called the Holy Trinity where there is God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, all serving as one God. This discrepancy forms a significant difference in the monotheism of Islam and Christianity. Islam condemns and outright denies the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The Quran declares that there is no other god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Apostle. This declaration is entirely different from the Bible, which proclaims Jesus as the Son of God and necessarily a God. Islam considers Jesus as only a prophet to whom the gospel was revealed to be taught to the people. They believe that his true teachings were changed and are not as reflected in the New Testament. There is also a conflict when the Bible claims that God had a son, Jesus. Islam wonders how an immortal God could sire a son and then die on the cross.
Despite all these differences, both religions respect each other to a great extent. In fact, the Quran instructs Muslims to consider the Bible as God’s revelation and, therefore, heed its scriptures. It comes out clearly, therefore, that the beauty of religion is in its uniqueness and distinct packaging.