July 17, 2007

European Religions

(This entry was supposed to be called "European Religions, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying But Start Being Confused When I Found That Our God Is Apparently Telling Them To Kill Us", but it complained that the title was longer than 100 characters...)

I've always known that Christianity sprouted off from Judaism, but I only recently discovered that Islam did the same (I think about 400-ish years later). Here's a handy diagram:

Judaism (Black), Christianity (Blue), and Islam (Green)

A timeline with black for Judaism, blue for Christianity, and green for Islam.

There's no explicit start date for the timeline, but one can assume that it ends at "now". Jesus turned up at point A, which is about the year 0 in the Christian calendar, and started preaching. His followers (technically Jews) believed him to be the son of God, but the rest of the Jews didn't accept him as the Messiah but did accept him as a prophet (like Moses and the rest of them). So:

  • Jesus is the Son of God in Christianity.
  • Jesus is just a prophet in Judaism.
  • It's the same "God" in both.

Then at point B (about year 0 in the Muslim calendar) Mohammed comes along and starts preaching. However most of the Jews want nothing to do with him. Obviously he won over some Jews to his cause but, unlike with Jesus, Judaism wants nothing to do with Mohammed - it doesn't accept him as a "real" prophet. So:

  • Jesus is the Son of God in Christianity.
  • Jesus is just a prophet in Judaism and Islam.
  • Mohammed is The Prophet in Islam.
  • Mohammed is a "false prophet" in Judaism.
  • Mohammed doesn't have any connection to Christianity because it had already split before he arrived.
  • It's still the same "God" in all three cases, it's just we can't agree on what he wants from us...

So Jews are Jews, Christians are Jews that accept the Old Testament but tweak it to reflect the preachings of The Messiah, and Muslims are Jews that said, "Ah, yes. We weren't quite right with the Old Testament. Here's how it should have been..."

It's also important to note that, I believe, all three religions have it as fundamental to "love thy neighbour" or words to that effect; I'm 99% sure that none of them have "killing the infidel"*. In fact, one of the fundamental precepts of the Islamic faith is giving to charity; how much do you give to charity Mr I'm A Racist Christian Who Thinks The Muslim Scum Should Sod Off Back Home, eh? Think about that the next time you blame all Muslims for all Terrorism. 


* A note to the people who shout religion at you on the street: I'm also 99% sure that Christianity has nothing about "convert the infidel"...

- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. What???

    Maybe you should do a little more reading on this subject- both Christianity and Islam have embraced ‘killing the infidel’ in thier long and bloody history. Islam was in fact spread through conquest, and perhaps you’ve heard of the crusades, or maybe the Spanish Inquisition?

    18 Jul 2007, 10:33

  2. That’s not at all what I meant, nor what I said. Yes the followers have killed people; that wasn’t in question nor worth me explicitly stating. What I meant, and in fact what I actually said, was that the religions themselves said nothing about “killing the infidel”; as I understand it (having fully read neither) nowhere in the Bible or the Koran does it say words to the effect of “these people do not follow your religion; you must, therefore, kill them”.

    The whole reason for pointing that out was precisely because the followers have “killed infidels”.

    18 Jul 2007, 11:02

  3. What?? 2

    Richard, do you think it was some sort of coincidence these events happened? They happened because the religions themselves explicitly say, or have said, ‘to kill the infidel’.

    Some choice koran quotes for you:

    Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme – 8:39

    O Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites. Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey’s end. – 9:73

    When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds, then set them free, either by grace or ransom, until the war lays down its burdens. – 47:4

    18 Jul 2007, 12:45

  4. I don’t think it’s a coincidence; I think it’s people. I have no doubt that the people would go to war at the drop of a hat, without having to use religion as an excuse. I just have a hard time believing that a religion that promotes “love thy neighbour” and a religion that promotes giving to charity would be inherently violent.

    Some choice Koran quotations for you:

    [17:33] Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand retaliation or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life, for he is helped (by the Law)

    From which we can deduce that it is “Islamically” unlawful to murder people except possibly for certain crimes

    [22:39] Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them

    From which we can deduce that Islam forbids the first strike, and fighting is only acceptable over matters of injustice.

    [42:40] The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah

    From which we can deduce the Allah would rather you try to make peace with your enemy than hit him back.

    [2:256] There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever rejects Satan (and what he calls to) and believes in Allah, he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handhold, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

    From which we can deduce that, since there is “no compulsion in religion”, one can’t be forced into Islam because Allah wouldn’t accept it so it would be pointless for both parties (the forcer and the “forcee”).

    [3:85] And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.

    From which we can deduce that there’s no point “killing the infidel” because he’ll just end up in Hell (or wherever) in the afterlife anyway.

    Finally there’s always the fact the the gods of the three religions in question are the same; he just seems to want different things from his followers depending on who you talk to. Therefore it’s worth noting:

    [4:92] It is not for a believer to kill a believer unless (it be) by mistake.

    18 Jul 2007, 14:35

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