Comparative Religions Chapter 11 Response–Islam

Islamism is the third and final religion of the Jewish-Christian-Islam triangle that forms an intricate web of conflicting and agreeing beliefs. Due to the circumstances from which Islam began, with Isma’il(Ishmael) the older, banished son of Abraham and his concubine Hagar, actually makes Islam as old or nearly as old as Judaism; as you may recall from my entry on Judaism, Isaac was the progenitor of the Israelites while the Isma’il was the progenitor of the Arabs. The Islam belief originated with the prophet Mohammad who, over the course of his lifespan, denounced the polytheistic ways of the previously nomadic and disjointed Arab tribes and unified them under the monotheistic banner of Islam. Contrary to the conventional views the Christian dominant society has towards Islamism, Islam is actually very similar to Christianity and Judaism; the Islam faith makes references to both the old and new testaments of the Bible fairly often, the last prophet Mohammad even referenced earlier “prophets of God” such as Adam and Jesus in his mission. Traditionally the largest difference between Islam beliefs and Christian beliefs is that Jesus was not a divine being in of himself and that the worship of anything as divine except the “one true God” was a major sin; for Judaism there is a similar difference, though the Jewish messiah has yet to be recognized. Contemporary Muslim beliefs tend to parallel those of Christianity; similar “Heaven versus Hell” and “God versus Satan” situations exist in Islam in addition to the basic moral obligation to treat others with respect and to aid in the betterment of society as a whole. A large moral difference between Islam and Christianity is that, due to the lack of universal forgiveness by way of Jesus’ sacrifice, a very personal obligation to adhere to the moral obligations attached to the covenant with God that Islam is based on; if you did not put forth the effort to follow the practices it is you who receives appropriate punishment and you who must work to rectify your wrongdoings, unlike Christianity where you could beg forgiveness at a whim.

I found it interesting that the Islam religion is a more strongly pieced religion than Christianity or Judaism, which have several discrepancies with how followers should act and what the risks versus rewards for staying in line with the moral model entailed. The Islam belief system is well structured and simplistic at the core and not at all mottled by the semantics that detract from other religions, this keeps in line with the “pure” mentality held by the followers; at its core Islamism states that if you do not put forth the effort than you will be penalized, unlike other monotheistic religions which offer a workaround to being fully devout. A major flaw in the Islam religion, like many others, is the inequality between the sexes despite a general mindset that there will be no superior or inferior classes within the religion; even the prophet Mohammad laid out a structure in which women were treated more equally than they were for centuries, though this structure is only recently being followed. I also found it interesting that the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic “God” are all essentially the same deity, for all the arguing and hatred between these religious organizations it seems a bit ironic that they all worship the same basic deity. I won’t touch too deeply on the war with Iran, as that would get far too political and take far too much space to fully divulge into, but Living Religions does mention how the terroristic offset of Islam resort to terrorism because the majority of Islam resist the use of their religion as a political tool; I found this resistance to be admirable because the use of religion as a backbone for rallying support is a very popular mechanism to achieve political ends that completely detracts from the religion itself, resisting this is a huge sign of devotion to the purity of the religion.

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