Comparing Christianity and Islam

Christianity and Islam are the largest religions in the world. Thirty-three percent of the world’s population are Christian, twenty-one percent Muslim. The world’s two largest religions have much in common, but they are also different in some crucial ways. The origins of both religions are fully described in my book, Science and Technology in World History, Vol. 2.

Both Christianity and Islam are offshoots of Judaism. From Judaism, Christianity and Islam derived the doctrines of monotheism, prophecy, resurrection, and a belief in the existence of heaven and hell.

Both Islam and Christianity have a holy book. Christians consider the Bible the inspired word of God. But Muslims believe that the Koran is the literal word of God. Mohammed was merely transcribing the words of Allah, much as a court reporter does. Muslims therefore attribute greater spiritual authenticity to the Koran and Islam than to the Bible and Christianity.

In Catholicism, salvation is obtained through the sacraments of the Church, including baptism, penance, and the Eucharist. Most Protestant denominations hold the doctrine that salvation depends solely on faith in Jesus Christ. But in Islam, salvation is through works and is not limited to Muslims.

Christianity is focused on forgiveness, charity, and mercy, with a side dressing of apocalyptic visions, Hell, and the wrath of God. But Islam is centered on justice and the destruction of unbelievers. Allah is merciful — but not to infidels. The early history of Christianity is one of persecution and martyrdom. Jesus himself submitted to crucifixion. In contrast, Islam was not born in submission and earnest entreaty, but in warfare against the enemies of Allah.

After the Hegira, Mohammed and his followers began a jihad against their pagan enemies in Mecca. At the Battle of Badr in 624 AD, Mohammed’s servant found one of his master’s enemies lying wounded on the battlefield. He cut off the man’s head and presented it to Mohammed as a present. The Prophet was overjoyed. He exclaimed, “The head of the enemy of Allah! It is more acceptable to me than the choicest camel in all Arabia.” After the bodies of his foes were cast into a pit, Mohammed stood at the edge of the pit and taunted the dead by asking, “Have you found that what Allah threatened is true?”

Consider how Jesus and Mohammed handled what was essentially the same problem. A woman who had committed adultery was brought before Jesus for judgment. As she had been caught in the very act, there was no question of her guilt. The sentence dictated by Mosaic Law was death by stoning, but Jesus showed mercy. He said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Embarrassed, the woman’s accusers dropped their rocks and walked away. Jesus told the woman to go home and repent. But when a man and a woman who had committed adultery (with each other) were brought before Mohammed, he exclaimed, “Stone them,” and the pair was executed.

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Islam controversies cast shadow over 9/11 events

NEW YORK – A day of mourning for nearly 3,000 Sept. 11 victims began Saturday with moments of silence and tears near ground zero, and with observers bracing for protests over a mosque planned blocks away on what is usually an anniversary free of politics.

Chants of thousands of sign-waving protesters both for and against the planned Islamic center were expected after — and perhaps during — an annual observance normally known for a sad litany of families reading names of loved ones lost in the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Family members gathering at observances in New York and Pennsylvania brought flowers, pictures of loved ones and American flags, but no signs of opposition or support for the mosque. Reading victims’ names along with rebuilders at ground zero in New York, they urged a restrained tone.

“Let today never, ever be a national holiday. Let it not be a celebration,” said Karen Carroll, who lost her brother, firefighter Thomas Kuveikis. “It’s a day to be somber; it’s a day to reflect on all those thousands of people that died for us in the United States.”

Bagpipes and drums played to open the ceremony, followed by brief comments by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Once again we meet to commemorate the day we have come to call 9/11. We have returned to this sacred site to join our hearts together, the names of those we loved and lost,” Bloomberg said. “No other public tragedy has cut our city so deeply. No other place is as filled with our compassion, our love and our solidarity.”

Moments of silence were held at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m., the times hijacked jetliners hit the north and south towers of the World Trade Center. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were attending separate services in Washington and Shanksville, Pa., for victims at the Pentagon and a rural field.

But the rallies planned in New York embroiled victims’ family members in a feud over whether to play politics.

Read more here.

Local Salisbury candidate outlines views and beliefs

In this time of American uncertainty, I would like to discuss my viewpoints for Wicomico County. I am a candidate for an at-large seat on the Wicomico County Council, but I am not a career politician or part of the establishment.

My viewpoints are:

# Principle over party

# Limited government

# Fiscal responsibility within the city, county and state

# Low taxes for everyone

# A common-sense government

# I am pro-business, for this is where citizens will find jobs

# I do not believe in a centralized police force

# I do believe in an elected school board

# I believe in more town hall meetings where people can voice their opinions and frustrations.

# I believe in private property rights for all, not just farm owners.

# I believe in the representation by elected officials, and not in those who become career politicians steering America towards a position which is contrary to that of the American people.

# I believe the answers to our problems come from the people and not from politicians, nor the government.

These are difficult times that we live in. If your decisions about our county reflect my own, I ask for your vote on Sept. 14 in the Republican primary.

Christopher D. Lewis

Brutally Honest: Interview with Chris Lewis

Learn more here.

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