Tuesday, July 29, 2014

From Birth, Differences

This graphic comes from Wikimedia, taking figures from two Wikipedia articles that give membership counts for Christianity and Islam in the world. It reminds me how different these two religions are, even from birth.

A Muslim co-worker explained to me that everyone is born a Muslim. Some are born where they are immediately led astray and others are born where Islam is predominate and life is a struggle to retain the relationship with God. I have seen this elsewhere:
"No babe is born but upon Fitra (as a Muslim). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist." (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6426) Source
Christians, on the other hand, believe mankind is born with a sin nature and that we all have gone astray. God tells us this and provides a solution:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:5-7 KJV)

Centuries after Isaiah proclaimed this, Paul wrote in agreement:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23 KJV)

Paul also tells us the result of sinfulness, and how to change our personal results:

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23 KJV)

My Muslim co-worker told me that life is a jihad, a spiritual struggle to do what is right in his life. That word has come to mean a war or struggle against unbelievers, too. Islam is not faith-based, it is works-based.

Christianity, on the other hand, requires faith first, with an expectation that good works will follow in a changed life:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)

Faith is an absolute necessity:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)

Faith is tied so closely to love that it is almost impossible to separate them. James explains that faith is on display through our actions:

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18 KJV)

John in his letter gives a great truth that separates Christianity and Islam in one verse:

Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (1 John 2:23a KJV)

Jesus’ own words tells us what will happen when He is denied:

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33 KJV)

From birth to heaven, there are differences between Christianity and Islam.

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