Christianity and Islam: Birth and Development
The rise of Christianity started slowly when Jesus of Nazareth set about to spread the word of the Lord in Judaea. Jesus grew up in Galilee where there were a number of zealots, the zealots wanted a better life and something to look forward to which was a big reason for them to believe in Christianity. Jesus did not want to threaten the Jewish religion, but to fulfill the gaps that the religion had. He preached about loving God and one another and taught the importance of brotherly love, humility, and charity, he believed that strict adherence to the rules and laws was not important. Jesus also preached that the transformation of the inner self is most important. This made Christianity appealing to people, because in the Jewish religion if you did not follow the rules strictly you were not promised a place in eternal life. The Roman authorities took Jesus and he was crucified on a cross to save the sins of all people. At first, Christianity was spread by Christians spreading the word of the Lord. Paul of Tarsus was an influential apostle because he focused on people who were not Jewish, and this reshaped Christianity from a Jewish religion into a wider religious movement. He is accountable for converting those in Asia Minor to Christian communities. Paul explained Jesus as a savior who came to earth to save us because we are all sinners. If those were to believe in Jesus, they would be granted eternal life. This opened to doors to the afterlife and eased people's state of mind in what would happen to them after death.
Christianity is the largest religion in the world, and there are many reasons for this. Christianity views everyone as equal disregarding their class, ethnicity, gender, and race. It also opens the doors to the afterlife. The country with the largest population of Christians is the United States. The United States government is based on Christianity. We can see this on our currency. On paper money, there is a quotation “In God We Trust” this states that even though our paper money has no real value, we believe that it has value because it is backed by God. Our government bases its beliefs on God and his teachings.
Jesus preached about charity, humility, and brotherly love. Charity is something that I believe in firmly because I feel that giving to those is what life is truly about. I have been very blessed by receiving anything that I desire and need. Those who are less fortunate should be offered the same opportunities and should not be treated as less of a person. Every thanksgiving my father and I help at our local Thanksgiving lunch feeding those who do not have anyone to spend their holiday with, or people who can not afford to prepare a meal. I thoroughly enjoy doing this, because it makes me realize how blessed I am and not to take anything for granted. Humility is not raising yourself above others and we see this in today’s society when two sports teams shake each other’s hands to show good sportsmanship. I often show humility by listening to others before I try to interject and talk about what I believe in or what I think is right. The other day in my psychology class we were talking about parents who are against vaccinations. Many people believe that parents should have their own say in what is being put into their child’s body, however, I feel that putting other children and even adults at risk is not logical because an epidemic can kill millions of people, but I had to wait my turn to say what I believed in.
The rise of Islam started with the Arabs, who were people who were sematic speaking. The Arabs believed in a superior God named Allah who was an all-powerful being that created everything; however, they were a polytheistic religion. Each Arabian tribe had their own stone to represent Allah. This stone was in Mecca and was called the Black Stone because it was an enormous black-colored meteorite. The black stone was in the central shrine called the Ka’aba. In Mecca, there was a boy born named Muhammad that was born to a merchant family. Muhammad became an orphan when he was five years old. Muhammad had visions that were inspired by Allah and he believed that Allah already exposed himself through Moses and Jesus in his middle years. These visions lead to the revelations because the Hebrew and Christian practices were already said. These revelations became the Qur’an, which was the instructions for the ones who believed in Allah and wanted to have eternal life. Muhammad then set out to spread the word that the revelations were true, but the people in Mecca did not support his message. He moved along telling those about the revelations, finally, in Medina, he was accepted. Those who were devoted to Allah were known as Muslims. Muslims were to follow the five pillars of Islam. The five pillars of Islam were, “belief in Allah and Mohammad as his prophet, standard prayer five times a day and public prayer of Friday and midday to worship Allah, observance of the holy month of Ramadan with fasting from dawn to sunset, hajj, which is the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one’s lifetime to touch the black rock, and giving alms, food or money, to the poor.” Those who followed the five pillars of Islam were promised a place in eternal paradise. After Muhammad died a number of academic Muslims wrote the shari’a, a law code like the ten commandments. The shari’a law included guidelines such as no eating pork, no alcohol, no gambling, arranged marriages by parents, no dishonest behavior, males could have up to four wives, and regulating sexual behavior. Muhammad expanded the Islam religion rapidly by using warfare to conquer tribes that were close to them. The Islam religion has grown to the second-largest religion.
Today in order to overcome a region we use military styles. As of September, the United States military more than 750,000 troops have been deployed in Afghanistan. The United States has been deployed in Afghanistan since the terrorist attack in 2001 because they want to ensure that another attack like this will not happen again. The United States deploys military members to other countries to show that we have a powerful military and to keep us safe.
Muhammad was born to a merchant family, which meant that his family had security and safety, an option to receive a good education, and access to technology. I can relate to this because I was born into a family that offers me these same options. As I was growing up, I never had to worry about where my next meal was coming from, or if I would be able to go to school and expand my education. My parents have always provided me with anything I could ever need and much more.
The black death, also known as the bubonic plague, it affected Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa during the mid-fourteenth century. The plague started in Asia and quickly spread to other regions because of the Mongols. The Mongols were a group of people who were part of the trade route and spread the disease throughout the route. The black death was caused by rats that had fleas, which carried a bacterium called yersinia pestis. The rats would then bite people and that’s how humans were infected, fifty to sixty percent of the victims would die from this plague. The bacteria would travel through the bloodstream to the victim’s lungs causing a cough, which would make it an airborne illness which spread to other humans easily. The population in Europe collapsed twenty-five to fifty percent within the time period of 1347 to 1351. The plague caused people to partake in extreme behaviors because they knew that they were going to die. Many people believed that the plague was a punishment from God for the sins that individuals committed. There was a group called the flagellants who would try to clean themselves using self-disciple to gain God’s forgiveness back. The flagellants were very cruel and would whip people to try and regain God’s forgiveness. Flagellants quickly became feared when they began to kill Jews because they did not believe in their ways, and the flagellants thought that the Jews caused the plague. By the end of 1350, the flagellant group had been demolished because of Pope Clement VI did not believe in their practices were humane. Because of the black plague, people would use vices because they knew they were going to die within a short amount of time.
In today’s society, we see people use vices all of the time to suppress their feelings. These vices include gambling, drugs, and sinful nature. People think that it is not a big deal to do these sinful acts because if we believe in God he will save us. I use napping as a vice in my life because it allows me to turn my brain off for the time being. I am very bad about putting things off till the last minute because I know that I can get things done within the time it is due. I do not live my life like I am going to die tomorrow, because I still see myself as young and invincible. I do not usually use vices because I think that I have a lot to live for and I do not need to suppress my major life problems.
- Diamant, Jeff. “The Countries with the 10 Largest Christian Populations and the 10 Largest Muslim Populations.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 1 Apr. 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/04/01/the-countries-with-the-10-largest-christian-populations-and-the-10-largest-muslim-populations/.
- Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization: a Brief History. Vol. 1: 1715, Ninth Edition, Cengage Learning, 2017.