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Easiness of Christianity versus that of Islam: to Jeffery

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: Comparing Christianity with Islam

Submitted by Joe (United States), Mar 1, 2006 at 14:38

Jeffery, you mentioned the easiness to follow Christianity, implying that Islam is a much more strict and therefore more spiritually satisfying religion.

To paraphrase Peter Kreeft, the conversion rates of Islam are due to its simplicity. Take away Christ the Messiah and several other key features, and Islam is very much like Christianity in its teachings. I argue, that Islam is actually far easier than Christianity. However, simplicity alone is only part of the argument.

Islam is a religion of tolerance (let us forget for the moment Islamist militants that claim justification in the Qur'an). Christianity is a religion (of what I will call) "acceptance", and I will explain these two words.

Recitation of the Shahada is the first step into conversion to Islam. The Shahada is the statement of what the Muslims believe (There is no god but God, and Muhummad is his prophet). Islam is a religion of submission to the laws of God. Devotion is not required, but only submission. Al-Islam means the surrender, obedience is key, and the Muslims follow othopraxis-the correct thing is first. Muslims do not need faith, and do not need to believe, because God does not need affection, God needs obedience.

Thus, Islam is a religion of tolerance. Love and faith are not NEEDed, but tolerance for others and things (like laws) that you dislike are needed. You submit to the laws of God no matter what you truly feel, for that is not relevant. To the existentialist, the Muslim who follows the submission alone is an inauthentic being, with inauthentic relationships, and living a life out of Das Man. The Muslim is living by acting teleologically (end-oriented) for the death and judgment, for his own self good, even if he is doing good things. By good works, the Muslim is aiding himself, which is by definition, selfish. By tolerance, the Muslim tolerates the world and its laws set down by Allah, and does good works because he is supposed to.

Christianity is all about Paul's "agape". Agape is greek for disinterested love, or love without selfish intentions, love without trying to get into heaven in the back of your mind, love for the love of God. Self-less goodworks are only possible with agape. Charity, donations, and all kinds of good works are nothing without love, as it is said in the Bible. Without love, your good works are nothing because they are selfish. Therefore, Christianity is a religion of acceptance. To be a Christian you must love thy neighbor, and not just tolerate him. You must accept him to love him, just as you love God and believe in God.

To act in a certain way and feel another is quite easy. This is indeed "acting", and is not real; not "authentic" as the existentialist would call it. Islam is about acting one way, regardless of how one feels, because the way you act is what is important. Islam is about tolerance, and therefore acting one way, even if you feel another. In Christianity, to think one way is equal to act one way. God knows your mind, and both are equal in His eyes. That is why, in Christianity, acting alone is useless. Man must have acceptance, and with acceptance comes love, and with love comes true good works and then God.

The simplicity of Islam is that tolerance and submission is all that is necessary. In Christianity, tolerance is useless without acceptance. Submission to God is useless without true love and faith.

To accept your family and your enemy with love, rather than simply tolerating them is the difference between Christianity and Islam. I ask you Jeffery, which is harder? Submitting to the sumptiary laws and the laws of God, or submitting to the same laws while retaining agape? Islam is indeed much simpler to understand (for those who do not the take time), and much easier to follow than Christianity. The obedience of the Shahada takes a few moments, but love takes a lifetime of acceptance.
Submitting....

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