Sunday, March 3, 2013

islam vs the bible

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Jeffrey Boroczky

The Bible is the backbone to Christianity like the Koran is to the religion of Islam. These two religions use these texts as guidelines to live their lives. By studying excerpts and the backgrounds of these two texts in class I am going to show how and why people from these nations are different from each other. These two religions are quite different, however there are some similarities between the two. By looking into the bible and the Koran in this paper I hope to show how each one of them reflects the religion and the people who follow that religion. These two texts are powerful instruments in shaping the way people of their respective religions live, think, and behave.

Basically my questions for this paper are, why do people of these two religions live like they do. By just looking at the small experts and little bit of background of each I am going to show how the texts affect the people who follow it. Another question is how are these two religions alike? Why do people from outside the religion think of these people in a certain way? So I will go into a little of the background to each text, some examples from the text, and then compare and contrast them at the end.

To look into the bible I am going to focus on the Old Testament. Specifically the sections of Genesis, and Joseph. The creation reveals the attitudes of the Hebrews. The story tells how one God who is omnipotent and omniscient creates the world. Adam and Eve corrupt God’s perfect world and the destruction that occurs is due to the wrongful decisions of Adam and Eve. The story shows the inevitable existence of evil, and even God cannot stop that because he gave us the right of free will. Only one thing can oppose God, his creation, humankind. This story tells a lot about people of Christianity even today. Christians believe in the creation story and that Adam and Eve committed the original sin. Therefore Christians get baptized to get rid of that original sin. Furthermore the belief of free will is the key thing in this section. God gave us choice and how we use free will is up to us. A quote from Genesis, “and the lord god said, behold, the man is become one of us to know good, and evil and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever”. This quote says that mankind has the option to do good or bad knowingly and what they do will affect them in the afterlife that is still how people of Christianity live today.

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The story of Joseph is about how Joseph was sold into slavery, however he kept working and eventually got himself out. When he finally reunites with his brothers who sold him into slavery he does not have any hate towards them. Actually Joseph provides a home for them in Egypt and takes care of them. The lessons in this story are timeless as they are still taught today. “ It is in fact a basic assumption of a competitive � the view, seldom expressed but strongly rooted, that the plight of the unfortunate is the result of their own laziness, the wealth of the rich is the reward of superior virtue”. This story shows how people can work their way out of anything through hard work and faith. This lesson is taught today to kids around the world. If you just feel sorry for yourself when things go wrong they will never get better.

For Muslims, the Koran is greater than just a prophetic revelation. Muhammad, the prophet of God, received the revelations of the Koran. The revelations are broken down into Sutras that are organized by subject. Muhammad was both a religious and political leader for his people. The Exordium, the opening Sura has an exceptional resonance in the life of Muslims, they recite it before any formal address, and at the head of every document, and it also begins every prayer. “In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful”. The Koran is a book that Muslims live by word for word. The bible is more symbolic and uses representations. The Koran is more straightforward Muslims follow the Koran strictly. It shows in today’s world that Muslims are more religious oriented and stricter about how they follow the Koran than Christians.

I think the best way to understand the Koran is to compare and contrast it to the bible. A quote from the book reads, “in its divinity it is greater than any prophet or prophecy. It stands to Muslims as Christ does to Christians”. Muslims do not accept any other translation as the Koran as Christians accept translations of other languages as still the bible. The Koran is written to be heard and recited, not just read. The test itself is more dialogic than narrative. There are also stylistic differences between the bible and the Koran. This is a quote from the book, “the essence of the Koran is admonition and guidance”. The Koran is a product of themes throughout the Suras, not in the history of one person. The story of Joseph is present in both the bible and the Koran; I will use this story to show a few similarities and differences. First of all Joseph is a prophet in Islam but not in Christianity. The Koran includes basically the same story except anything that relates to the Hebrews, for example he is not the leader of any nation in the Koran. Another interesting thing is Islam does not believe in original sin, and is more accepting of human error than Genesis. The Koran focuses the story on Joseph on the more general theme of trusting in divine guidance.

Both the bible and Koran are both based on the belief in one God that is the main similarity. Both books contain some of the same stories, but portray them differently according to their beliefs. Both preach peace and to follow God’s will, and you will be rewarded. One main difference is that Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God; they do not believe someone could be both divine and human.

Although I used only one story to compare the two books you can see how they differ greatly in styles and how they portray their respective religions. I think that the main difference I noticed after studying the background and excerpts found in the text is the difference in the way things are taught. The Koran is more literal and straightforward, and a little more strict. Christianity focuses more on symbols and the lessons taught through storytelling. When it comes down to it these two religions are based on many of the same principles. Both believe in one god and one god only.

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