Skip to comments.Jesus and Muhammad: A Core Difference Between Islam and Christianity's Central Figures
Posted on 07/16/2004 11:24:28 AM PDT by StevenAU
Jesus and Muhammad A Core Difference Between Islam and Christianity's Central Figures by Steven (July 13, 2004)
*To view comments and discuss this article with the author and other readers, click here
Role models play a central part in the human psyche. As young children, many of us looked up to our parents and molded our behavior and morals on the examples they set forth before us. It is no surprise that children raised in alcoholic families have a greater chance of becoming alcoholics themselves. Children of scientists tend to lean towards science in search of answers. Those raised in Buddhist households generally grow up to become Buddhists. Role models leave a deep and lasting influence on the psyche and development of both children and adults. And so it comes as no surprise that two of the most influential religions today offer their followers powerful role models. There is, however, a significant difference between the role models offered in Christianity and Islam.
In Jesus, we find the central role model put forth by Christianity. He was, by all standards, a pacifist. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus put forth several concepts that have become central to Christianity. One of these concepts was the notion of turning the other cheek when someone hit you. Jesus preached the idea of non-violence. "Love your enemy." Another important teaching of Jesus was that of forgiveness. During his crucifixion by the Romans, Jesus not once put up a struggle. In fact, as he hung dying, he pleaded, "forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."
The central role model of Christianity was a figure that epitomized non-violence and forgiveness. He was also one who embraced all forms of outcasts. Jesus blessed the lepers that were shunned by society. It is thus that his story provides the Christian follower with a role model figure to emulate.
When a person "finds Jesus," they usually turn into pacifists and espouse the virtues of love and peace. Since their central role model embraced outcasts, we usually find modern day Christians unwilling to force their beliefs on others by means of war and violence. Jesus accepted lepers and outcasts; we can also see this attribute of embracing those who are different than you in many Western countries that were founded on Christian values. The ideal of forgiveness is also usually embraced in Western cultures. We can find evidence of this in the criminal system. While Saudi Arabia imposes such harsh punishment as beheading one of their princes for the crime of adultery, most Western societies approach the criminal system with an eye towards reform and fair punishment.
The effect of Jesus as a central role model on Judeo-Christian based Western societies is undeniable. His teachings have set forth an atmosphere of tolerance and forgiveness. Jesus' pacifistic views dramatically changed the role of war during the Roman Empire, war was used to conquer new lands and used as a measure of glory. Now days, most Western countries view violence and war as nothing short of a last resort in self-defense.
The central role model offered by Islam is a less pacifistic one. Muhammad was by many standards quite a militant individual. Spending much of his life fighting against the "infidels," Muhammad offers the Muslim a less forgiving role model. We can find an example of Muhammad's more militant nature in his actions shortly after one of his battles.
Upon conquering the Jewish tribe of Qurayza, Muhammad and his men found themselves in possession of a large number of prisoners. He appointed an arbiter for advice on the situation who soon suggested that the male prisoners be killed, the women and children sold as slaves, and their property to be split between him and his men. Muhammad quickly supported this suggestion calling it "a decree of God pronounced from above the Seven Heavens." It was thus that some 700-900 men from the Qurayza tribe were marched into the marketplace of Medina. A long trench and ditch was dug and as Muhammad watched on, all 700-900 men were decapitated. As the bodies of the men were buried in the ditch, their wives and children were sold into slavery. A small number of the women were given to Muhammad's friends as gifts. Muhammad took one of these women (Rayhana) as his own.
We can see that Muhammad was not only a militant individual, but was also one who at times was very cruel. To sanction the beheading of over 700 prisoners of war in one day alone is almost unheard of. His actions certainly showed little sign of forgiveness, little disdain towards violence and the use of force, and little regard for the rights of women.
We can easily see the effect of such a role model in the Middle East, where Islam is the predominant religion. With Muhammad's unforgiving, and sometimes cruel, nature, it comes as no surprise that the justice system of the Middle East is also unforgiving and sometimes cruel. The Saudi Arabian government recently beheaded one of their princes for the minor crime of adultery. It is not unheard of to find examples of young children getting their hand and foot cut off for the minor crime of stealing some food. The notion of treating others as you would like to be treated is one that is not common in Muslim dominated cultures, neither is the notion of forgiveness one that is embraced in the Middle East.
Muhammad spent a large portion of his life fighting the "infidels." Through the might of his warriors, he was able to bring about what Muslims would consider to be a "cleansing" of the region. With the glorification of war and forcible conversions that is set forth in the role model of Muhammad, it once again should come as no surprise that many Middle Eastern and Muslim dominated cultures see little wrong with using violent force to reach an end. War and violence is not a last resort of self-defense, but instead a glorifying means to wage holy war against "infidels" and to bring about a "cleansing" and purifying of lands. We can see the effects of such a role model in some African countries where the Muslim population sees no wrong in violently brutalizing their "infidel" countrymen. For it is not only acceptable to do so, but in fact a glorious battle against "infidels" the like of which their role model spent his life fighting.
It is clearly evident that the Christian and Muslim role model figures differ greatly. Their impact on societies dominated by their religion is an evident and tangible one. The religions themselves do not necessarily breed such attitudes. For example, many Westernized Muslims who were raised and educated in the West do support the ideals of forgiveness and non-violence.
Some would counter that Christians have in fact been behind many cruelties themselves. An example of this can easily be found in the brutal Crusades. It is true that Christians have brutalized many people. These actions, however, took place in a time when such violence was the norm of warfare. The brutal actions of such Christians were thus more likely influenced by their immediate culture and societal norms as opposed to religious indoctrination. As times have changed and societal norms have become more peaceful, we see the Christians also adapting with society. This is a natural change, as their central role model of Jesus was a pacifist. Becoming more peaceful with the changing times is a natural change.
It is in such a context that we see the unfortunate situation of the Muslim role model. While Christianity's role model was one that offered no counterdiction to the growing tendencies of modern societal pacifistic tendencies, Muhammad is a figure that does stand in contrast to such changes. Muhammad's militant and warlike nature offer Muslim dominated cultures a role model that stands in sharp contrast to societal changes towards pacifism. He was a warrior and a fighter. With the religious indoctrination of people towards such a figure, it comes as no surprise that while the rest of the world moved towards a more peaceful tendency, the Middle East and Muslim dominated cultures remain somewhat violent and unforgiving, even towards their own citizens.
A warrior role model such as Muhammad will unfortunately ensure that the Middle East and Muslim dominated societies will remain less forgiving and more violent for a long time to come. It has in fact resisted over a thousand years of growing pacifist notions in the rest of the world. With such a strong resistance to pacifism engrained in their most influential role model figure, non-Westernized Muslims will remain resistant to notions of pacifism and non-violence. Unfortunately, Muhammad's glorification of war against the "infidels" makes it likely that Western societies will have to deal with this violent and unforgiving nature in the form of forcible attempts at conversion or violent "cleansing."
*To view comments and discuss this article with the author and other readers, click here
Well said. My thoughts exactly.
Allah is not God, and Mohammed is a false prophet.
Little is to be gained by comparisons. Each life, and that includes our own, should stand upon our behaviour and actions. If there is to be a final judgement, it will not be based on with whom we compare; but if we did our best on earth and never hurt a weaker person deliberately.
Might the good Lord not also take into account our motivations?
Jesus the man, was a Jew, a Rabbi, a learned holy man. He wanted us to love each other. He understood the terrible power of hatred. The history of his people was one of endless suppression and slavery.
Mohammad was a psychopath. He had numerous schiziod episodes, ancient arabic sources describe treatment for epileptic seizures in his youth. Mohammad was abandoned by his mother, became an orphan, lived on the steps of a temple with beggars. He was an anarchist. The people of Medina threw them out.
Mohammad learned from the 'people of the book' - the Jews and Christians, and incorporated their scripture (which he learned orally,) into arabic lore and the Code of Hammurabi; An Eye for an Eye etc...some of which the Hebrews included in the Original Testament.
The koran is nothing but a mish-mash of every ancient ME belief system. Mohammad chose what worked for him. Subjugation to allah is worship of Al-Uzza, Venus the Queen of Heaven. Meteorites were believed by the desert arabs to be rocks thrown by a god who lived on the moon at unbelievers; therefor, if you do not subjugate yourself to allah you will be hit on the head with a burning rock. Evidence shows that three millenia ago, arab nomads carried aeriolites on their travels and considered them sacred.
Mohammad told his followers that every rock that fell from heaven and killed someone, had their name written on it by allah. That's arab fatalism.
There is nothing to be gained or understood by comparing Jesus to Mohammad unless one understands the history of the arabs and the life of the man they call a 'prophet' - who was, IMO probably the most evil, cunning and demented creature our species has as yet produced on earth.
Two Books to read; Ages in Chaos, by Immanuel Velikovsky.
For the most comprehensive history of the ancient ME.
The Life of Muhammad, by Edward Canon Sell. A biography of the man whose terrible legacy the entire world now faces. (see tagline.)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Children of God."
Consider yourself educated.
If I didn't know better, I would say that Osama Bin ladin is seeking to out do Mohammed by using Jesus as a model to bring about a revolution that will result in a fundamentalist take over.
His pictures strolling through the forrested hills are reminiscant of the many paintings of Jesus. Jesus appealed to the masses and asked them to follow and they did.Among his followers were the Jewish Saccari zealots who are only dimmly outlined but were warriors and fighters against the established order. Jesus made his statement by overthrowing the established order on the Temple grounds. The only teachings of Osama we hear are the messages of war but I am certain that his other teachings in Arabic are of a religious nature.
If he wins, he will achieve the historical stature of Mohammed and of Jesus.
On the contrary, I consider myself trolled. If that's what passes for a demonstration of superior Biblical insight, then I withdraw my request to be taught.
Beware false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth fort evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.
The other is worse than pig crap.
The so called revelations in the koran were written down many decades after the death of mohammad, after various factions began to fight amongst themselves, because their leader left no Will and named no successor. ( They have been fighting each other for the Caliphate, the Sucession, ever since.)
The contents of the koran, which few muslims ever read, are meaningless without the biography of the man. One needs to understand the HOW and WHERE and WHEN the 'messages' were received, and how self-serving they were. Most were simply permission from allah to rape and plunder and kill. (Allah's Will.
The 62 (at last count) volumes of hadith are about as meaningful as the Story of 1001 Nights, or fairy tales. (Gossip Journalism comes to mind.)
Muslims are required to believe the 'prophet' was a divine and sinless man who could do not wrong. (Will of allah again.)
We must, all of us, who wish to understand, read the biography of the man. And ask ourselves, why are muslims discouraged from doing the same? Many of them do not even know the story of his life exists. Why? Because if his life was exposed, the myth of the 'prophet' would be dead. And islam would die with him.
http://www.prophetofdoom.net/ An excellent site.
Eccl 3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; ... 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Sometimes, you can turn the other cheek if it's just you. But love demands that you protect others. And that sometimes means taking up the sword.
Christians: God sent his only Son to die for you.
Muslim: God expects your only son to die for Him.
Jewish: God help your only son if he doesn't make it through medical school.
Then why were Jews driven from Jeurselem roughly 60 years later by the Romans? If it was military conquest that propelled the Gospel of Jesus outward, the rath of the Romans against the Jews would have insulated them from ever adopting a religion of Jewish extract as they did 300 hundred years later. Not to mention that none of the early Christians were any kind of effective military fighters what so ever. Just before then the Romans had humiliated and killed Christians by the hundreds for all the Empire to see, hardly something warriors and fighters could make their case on.
The only teachings of Osama we hear are the messages of war but I am certain that his other teachings in Arabic are of a religious nature.
He undoubtedly preaches the strict fundamentalist codes that the warrior Muhammed taught.
If he wins, he will achieve the historical stature of Mohammed and of Jesus.
You are half right, where he to destroy Western Civilization, he would set himself up as a prophet of some godly sense, just as Muhammed did, and the conquored would worship his memory. Jesus however maligned he would be in the conquored cultures would continue to be worshiped, not due to any warriors, but because of the Good News the Gospels gives to the individual, and will continue to give long after we are dust.
"God sent his only son to die for you."
"Muhammed sends his sons to kill you."
I couldn't have put it better. Those two sentenses sum up the main difference between the two faiths.
99% social control.
That's what I meant -- It's safe to say that most, if not all, Christian rulers who were contemporaries of Muhammed left a great deal to be desired characterwise but none of them founded a religion nor does anyone hold them up as models of humanity. The reason I said that is that a Muslim apologist might defend Muhammed by pointing out, reasonably enough, that Christian rulers at the time ruthlessly stamped out opposition, as well.
Christian rulers did things then that are not acceptable now. Devout Muslims are still stuck in the early middle ages.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.