Wednesday, June 24, 2020

How Does Islam Differ From Christianity?

Since Christianity and Islam are the two largest (comprising about 55% of the world’s population2) religions in the world people often wonder where they disagree and how significant the differences are. A brief look at six doctrinal contrasts will help address this question.
First, it is important to note that Islam shares common ground with historic Christianity. For example, both religions are:
  • theistic in philosophical orientation
  • monotheistic in doctrinal belief
  • Middle Eastern in origin
  • biblically oriented Abrahamic faiths (they connect to the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament)
However, the differences between the two religions are profound. Since Islam emerged about six centuries after Christianity, we’ll outline how Islam reacts to essential Christian truth claims. As you’ll see, traditional Islam denies the essence of historic Christianity.
Six Systematic Doctrinal Denials
  1. Islam denies the Trinity (i.e., tri-unity: One God in three persons). Muslims instead affirm a form of unitarianism where Allah is a single, solitary being (tawhid) with no partners, equals, rivals, or companions. Allah is not begotten nor does he beget; therefore, he has no son.
  2. Islam denies the incarnation (i.e., Jesus Christ was God in human flesh: a single person with both a divine and human nature). In contrast, Muslims assert that Jesus was a mere human being. Yet Islam does concur that Jesus was virgin-born, performed miracles, and lived a sinless life.
  3. Islam denies the crucifixion (i.e., Jesus’s atoning death on the cross). Muslims instead declare that Jesus either didn’t actually die on the cross (though he may have been impaled) or that someone else took Jesus’s place on the cross. But either way, Islam is not a redemptive religion.
  4. Islam denies the imago Dei  (i.e., human beings bear God’s image). In contrast, Muslims affirm that such an image would put creatures too close to Allah (the heresy known as “shirk”). Thus in Islamic theology, human beings are not made in Allah’s image.
  5. Islam denies original sin (i.e., that human beings are born with a sinful nature and a natural propensity to sin). Instead, Muslims assert that people are born morally good. So Islam rejects the Christian doctrine of the fall.
  6. Islam denies salvation by grace (i.e., that human beings are reconciled to God by God’s unmerited favor apart from works). In contrast, Muslims proclaim that personal submission is required to earn paradise. So both paradise (reward) and divine wrath (punishment) are earned.
Both Can’t Be True


Pete Rowe said...

Just analyze their character differences. How does the G-d of the Bible describe himself to Moses to whom he directly spoke?

Versus: How does Allah allow the angel who spoke to Muhammad on behalf of Allah to describe the character of Allah through the Koran?

A man cannot have a more exemplary character than his g-d. If a man's moral character excels that of his deity, then the man's deity is beneath the man and is no deity at all. And from that idea follows the question asked by Jesus, "Why do you call me good (morally perfect)? There is only one who is good, that is G-d." In other words, if you recognize Christ as morally excellent/perfect, then why are not acknowledging him as God?

Pastorius said...

Yes. Well put.

cjk said...

I also deny #5 and #6.

Pastorius said...

Well then, you're unBiblical.

cjk said...

Actually #5 and #6 are most definitely unbiblical