Islam and christianity similarities pdf

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islam and christianity similarities pdf

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Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa

About Follow Donate. Demographic Study. In little more than a century, the religious landscape of sub-Saharan Africa has changed dramatically. As of , both Muslims and Christians were relatively small minorities in the region. The vast majority of people practiced traditional African religions, while adherents of Christianity and Islam combined made up less than a quarter of the population, according to historical estimates from the World Religion Database.

Since then, however, the number of Muslims living between the Sahara Desert and the Cape of Good Hope has increased more than fold, rising from an estimated 11 million in to approximately million in The number of Christians has grown even faster, soaring almost fold from about 7 million to million. Since northern Africa is heavily Muslim and southern Africa is heavily Christian, the great meeting place is in the middle, a 4,mile swath from Somalia in the east to Senegal in the west.

To others, religion is not so much a source of conflict as a source of hope in sub- Saharan Africa, where religious leaders and movements are a major force in civil society and a key provider of relief and development for the needy, particularly given the widespread reality of failed states and collapsing government services. But how do sub-Saharan Africans themselves view the role of religion in their lives and societies?

View a PDF map of the 19 countries surveyed. Our survey asked people to describe their religious beliefs and practices.

We sought to gauge their knowledge of, and attitudes toward, other faiths. We tried to assess their degree of political and economic satisfaction; their concerns about crime, corruption and extremism; their positions on issues such as abortion and polygamy; and their views of democracy, religious law and the place of women in society.

The resulting report offers a detailed and in some ways surprising portrait of religion and society in a wide variety of countries, some heavily Muslim, some heavily Christian and some mixed. Africans have long been seen as devout and morally conservative, and the survey largely confirms this. But insofar as the conventional wisdom has been that Africans are lacking in tolerance for people of other faiths, it may need rethinking.

The report also may pose some apparent paradoxes, at least to Western readers. The survey findings suggest that many Africans are deeply committed to Islam or Christianity and yet continue to practice elements of traditional African religions. Many support democracy and say it is a good thing that people from other religions are able to practice their faith freely.

At the same time, they also favor making the Bible or sharia law the official law of the land. And while both Muslims and Christians recognize positive attributes in one another, tensions lie close to the surface. It is our hope that the survey will contribute to a better understanding of the role religion plays in the private and public lives of the approximately million people living in sub-Saharan Africa. Large majorities say they belong to one of these faiths, and, in sharp contrast with Europe and the United States, very few people are religiously unaffiliated.

Despite the dominance of Christianity and Islam, traditional African religious beliefs and practices have not disappeared. Rather, they coexist with Islam and Christianity. Christianity and Islam also coexist with each other. Many Christians and Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa describe members of the other faith as tolerant and honest. In most countries, relatively few see evidence of widespread anti-Muslim or anti-Christian hostility, and on the whole they give their governments high marks for treating both religious groups fairly.

Muslims are significantly more positive in their assessment of Christians than Christians are in their assessment of Muslims. There are few significant gaps, however, in the degree of support among Christians and Muslims for democracy.

Regardless of their faith, most sub-Saharan Africans say they favor democracy and think it is a good thing that people from other religions are able to practice their faith freely. At the same time, there is substantial backing among Muslims and Christians alike for government based on either the Bible or sharia law, and considerable support among Muslims for the imposition of severe punishments such as stoning people who commit adultery.

For additional details, see the survey methodology PDF. The countries were selected to span this vast geographical region and to reflect different colonial histories, linguistic backgrounds and religious compositions. In total, the countries surveyed contain three-quarters of the total population of sub-Saharan Africa.

Large majorities in all the countries surveyed say they believe in one God and in heaven and hell, and large numbers of Christians and Muslims alike believe in the literal truth of their scriptures either the Bible or the Koran. Most people also say they attend worship services at least once a week, pray every day in the case of Muslims, generally five times a day , fast during the holy periods of Ramadan or Lent, and give religious alms tithing for Christians, zakat for Muslims; see the glossary of terms for more information about tithing and zakat.

Indeed, sub-Saharan Africa is clearly among the most religious places in the world. In many countries across the continent, roughly nine-in-ten people or more say religion is very important in their lives. By this key measure, even the least religiously inclined nations in the region score higher than the United States, which is among the most religious of the advanced industrial countries. At the same time, many of those who indicate they are deeply committed to the practice of Christianity or Islam also incorporate elements of African traditional religions into their daily lives.

For example, in four countries Tanzania, Mali, Senegal and South Africa more than half the people surveyed believe that sacrifices to ancestors or spirits can protect them from harm.

Sizable percentages of both Christians and Muslims — a quarter or more in many countries — say they believe in the protective power of juju charms or amulets. Many people also say they consult traditional religious healers when someone in their household is sick, and sizable minorities in several countries keep sacred objects such as animal skins and skulls in their homes and participate in ceremonies to honor their ancestors.

And although relatively few people today identify themselves primarily as followers of a traditional African religion, many people in several countries say they have relatives who identify with these traditional faiths. Handed down over generations, indigenous African religions have no formal creeds or sacred texts comparable to the Bible or Koran. They find expression, instead, in oral traditions, myths, rituals, festivals, shrines, art and symbols.

In the past, Westerners sometimes described them as animism, paganism, ancestor worship or simply superstition, but today scholars acknowledge the existence of sophisticated African traditional religions whose primary role is to provide for human well-being in the present as opposed to offering salvation in a future world. Because beliefs and practices vary across ethnic groups and regions, some experts perceive a multitude of different traditional religions in Africa. Others point to unifying themes and, thus, prefer to think of a single faith with local differences.

In general, traditional religion in Africa is characterized by belief in a supreme being who created and ordered the world but is often experienced as distant or unavailable to humans. Lesser divinities or spirits who are more accessible are sometimes believed to act as intermediaries. A number of traditional myths explain the creation and ordering of the world and provide explanations for contemporary social relationships and norms.

Lapsed social responsibilities or violations of taboos are widely believed to result in hardship, suffering and illness for individuals or communities and must be countered with ritual acts to re-establish order, harmony and well-being. Ancestors, considered to be in the spirit world, are believed to be part of the human community. Believers hold that ancestors sometimes act as emissaries between living beings and the divine, helping to maintain social order and withdrawing their support if the living behave wrongly.

Religious specialists, such as diviners and healers, are called upon to discern what infractions are at the root of misfortune and to prescribe the appropriate rituals or traditional medicines to set things right. African traditional religions tend to personify evil.

Believers often blame witches or sorcerers for attacking their life-force, causing illness or other harm. They seek to protect themselves with ritual acts, sacred objects and traditional medicines. African slaves carried these beliefs and practices to the Americas, where they have evolved into religions such as Voodoo in Haiti and Santeria in Cuba.

The survey finds that on several measures, many Muslims and Christians hold favorable views of each other. Muslims generally say Christians are tolerant, honest and respectful of women, and in most countries half or more Christians say Muslims are honest, devout and respectful of women. In roughly half the countries surveyed, majorities also say they trust people who have different religious values than their own.

Sizable majorities in every country surveyed say that people of different faiths are very free to practice their religion, and most add that this is a good thing rather than a bad thing. In most countries, majorities say it is all right if their political leaders are of a different religion than their own.

On the other hand, the survey also reveals clear signs of tension and division. In a handful of countries, a third or more of Christians say many or most Muslims are hostile toward Christians, and in a few countries a third or more of Muslims say many or most Christians are hostile toward Muslims.

The median is the middle number in a list of numbers sorted from highest to lowest. For many questions in this report, medians are shown to help readers see differences between Muslim and Christian subpopulations and general populations, or to highlight differences between sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world. In charts where there is an even number of countries in the list and there is no country exactly in the middle, the median is computed as the average of the two countries at the middle of the list e.

To help readers see whether Muslims and Christians differ significantly on certain questions, separate medians for Christians and Muslims also are shown. The median for Christians is based on the survey results among Christians in each of the 16 countries with a Christian population large enough to analyze. The median for Muslims is based on the survey results among Muslims in each of the 15 countries with a Muslim population large enough to analyze.

In most countries, fewer than half of Christians say they know either some or a great deal about Islam, and fewer than half of Muslims say they know either some or a great deal about Christianity. Moreover, people in most countries surveyed, especially Christians, tend to view the two faiths as very different rather than as having a lot in common. And many people say they are not comfortable with the idea of their children marrying a spouse from outside their religion. People throughout the region generally see conflict between religious groups as a modest problem compared with other issues such as unemployment, crime and corruption.

And in many countries, sizable numbers express concern about both Muslim and Christian extremism. Across the sub-Saharan region, large numbers of people express strong support for democracy and say it is a good thing that people from religions different than their own are able to practice their faith freely. In most places there is no significant difference between Muslims and Christians on this question.

At the same time, there is substantial backing from both Muslims and Christians for basing civil laws on the Bible or sharia law. This may simply reflect the importance of religion in Africa. But it is nonetheless striking that in virtually all the countries surveyed, a majority or substantial minority a third or more of Christians favor making the Bible the official law of the land, while similarly large numbers of Muslims say they would like to enshrine sharia, or Islamic law. Similarly, the survey finds considerable support among Muslims in several countries for the application of criminal sanctions such as stoning people who commit adultery, and whipping or cutting off the hands of thieves.

Support for these kinds of punishments is consistently lower among Christians than among Muslims. The survey also finds that in seven countries, roughly one-third or more of Muslims say they support the death penalty for those who leave Islam.

While the survey finds that both Christianity and Islam are flourishing in sub-Saharan Africa, the results suggest that neither faith may expand as rapidly in this region in the years ahead as it did in the 20th century, except possibly through natural population growth. There are two main reasons for this conclusion. First, the survey shows that most people in the region have committed to Christianity or Islam, which means the pool of potential converts from outside these two faiths has decreased dramatically.

Second, there is little evidence in the survey findings to indicate that either Christianity or Islam is growing in sub-Saharan Africa at the expense of the other. Although a relatively small percentage of Muslims have become Christians, and a relatively small percentage of Christians have become Muslims, the survey finds no substantial shift in either direction. One exception is Uganda, where roughly one-third of respondents who were raised Muslim now describe themselves as Christian, while far fewer Ugandans who were raised Christian now describe themselves as Muslim.

Many Christians and Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa experience their respective faiths in a very intense, immediate, personal way. For example, three-in-ten or more of the people in many countries say they have experienced a divine healing, witnessed the devil being driven out of a person or received a direct revelation from God.

Moreover, in every country surveyed that has a substantial Christian population, at least half of Christians expect that Jesus will return to earth during their lifetime.

Many of these intense religious experiences, including divine healings and exorcisms, are also characteristic of traditional African religions. Within Christianity, these kinds of experiences are particularly associated with Pentecostalism, which emphasizes such gifts of the Holy Spirit as speaking in tongues, giving or interpreting prophecy, receiving direct revelations from God, exorcising evil and healing through prayer.

7 Comparing Islam and Christianity in Reply to Hanotaux 186

Christianity and Islam are the two largest religions in the world and share a historical traditional connection, with some major theological differences. The two faiths share a common place of origin in the Middle East , and consider themselves to be monotheistic. Christianity is an Abrahamic , monotheistic religion which developed out of Second Temple Judaism in the 1st century CE. It is founded on the life, teachings, death , and resurrection of Jesus Christ , and those who follow it are called Christians. Islam is an Abrahamic , monotheistic religion that developed in the 7th century CE. Islam, which literally means "submission to God", was founded on the teachings of Muhammad as an expression of surrender to the will of God.

About Follow Donate. Demographic Study. In little more than a century, the religious landscape of sub-Saharan Africa has changed dramatically. As of , both Muslims and Christians were relatively small minorities in the region. The vast majority of people practiced traditional African religions, while adherents of Christianity and Islam combined made up less than a quarter of the population, according to historical estimates from the World Religion Database.

Islam and Christianity

In light of the widespread public perception of incompatibility between Islam and Christianity, this book provides a much-needed straightforward comparison of these two great faith traditions from a broad theological perspective. Award-winning scholar John Renard illuminates the similarities as well as the differences between Islam and Christianity through a clear exploration of four major dimensions—historical, creedal, institutional, and ethical and spiritual. Throughout, the book features comparisons between concrete elements such as creedal statements, prayer texts, and writings from major theologians and mystics. It also includes a glossary of technical theological terms. For western readers in particular, this balanced, authoritative work overturns some common stereotypes about Islam, especially those that have emerged in the decade since September 11,

Looking for Similarities Where Others See Differences

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Christianity, Islam, and Oriṣa Religion: Three Traditions in Comparison and Interaction

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