For Christians, prayer is the foundation of their religion, but is less strict than Islam. Christian believers create and sustain a relationship with God through direct two-way communication in prayer. The Book of Prayer and its Origins:
The Bible is composed of both the book of Judaism and the story of Jesus’ life. Various authors wrote the 66 separate books containing the word of God. These circulated independently until the Council of Hippo compiled chosen books into the one volume Bible that is used by Christians. Date of the Book:
The dates of the books of the Bible are only approximated. The Old Testament was written from around 1250B.C. to 100B.C. and the New Testament from 40A.D. to 70A.D. The 66 books were compiled together in 390 A.D. at the Council of Hippo. Adam and Eve:
In the creation story, Eve was created from the rib of Adam, the first man. This notion has created controversy over gender equality. God commands Adam not to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but Eve persuades him to and the act of disobeying God is the original sin. Status of Women/ Gender Equality:
The Bible is controversial on the matter of gender equality. There are numerous contradictions about the status of women in Christian society. Historically, the most prominent interpretation has been rather negative toward women. The Christian Church, with principally male authority, emphasizes the idea that women are inferior to man.
They focus on Eve’s sin leading to a punishment that “her husband will have authority over her.” (Drury, 34) Until recently, women were not allowed to preach or even speak in the Christian Church, but in modern times women are beginning to play a more significant. While sects of Christianity still hold the traditional teachings about women, others have given them equal status within the church, an increasingly accepted interpretation. Responsibilities of Man and Woman:
The woman in Christianity is responsible to keep and practice her faith in God and to bear children, especially males. Her traditional role includes household chores and obeying her husband. The man’s responsibility is also to keep faith and foster his relationship with God, but the man has been considered the protector and supporter of his wife and family. Traditionally, he also makes decisions for the entire family. Responsibilities Toward Children:
The Bible states that raising children in the knowledge of God is the parents’ most important duty. Women are responsible for the bearing of children and for being their first teachers. Concept of Sin and Repentance:
Christians believe in the original sin. All of humanity has inherited the sin and only faith in the death of Jesus can save man from eternal death. For forgiveness of sins, an individual only has to repent, confess, and ask for God’s mercy. The Priests/ Jurists and their Roles:
In Christianity, there is an established hierarchy of authority in the Church; women are rarely allowed to be in these positions. These religious leaders often settle community issues as well as religious issues
Concept of God:
The Islamic concept of God is very similar to the Christian God, but Muslims see their God different in that their God is monotheistic. Allah is the sole source and sustainer of life. He has attributes of perfection, omnipotence, and essential oneness. Allah is not in the same form as man, but has no form at all. Concept of Prayer
For Muslims, prayer is the first of the required Five Pillars of Islam. Believers pray five times a day, facing the holy city of Mecca, at specific hours of the day. Prayer is characterized by respect and praise of Allah. Muslims rarely make requests of God as Christians often do and they do not expect God to speak to them in prayer or keep covenants. The Book of Prayer and its Origins:
Muslims believe in all the books of the previous prophets; Moses, David, and Jesus; but believe that they have been tampered with by man. In Muslim tradition, Muhammad received revelation throughout his life. After his death, all his words from God were compiled into a book, the Qur’an. Date of the Book:
While the revelations were revealed between 610 and 632 A.D, the compilation was not completed until 653 A.D. Adam and Eve: In Islam, the story of Adam and Eve is quite similar to the Christian tradition. Adam and Eve are both created by God as the first man and woman. The difference lies in the fact that the Qur’an places equal blame on both Adam and Eve for eating the fruit from the forbidden tree; Eve is not blamed for the pains of the world. Status of Women/ Gender Equality:
The foundation of Islam is the idea of equality of men and women. The Qur’an addresses men and women equally and proclaims that all believers are equal in the eyes of God.
Both men and women “are entitled to the enjoyment of sexuality within marriage,” (Women in Religion, 88) so sexuality is not condemned for either gender as it is in Christianity for women. Women have rights in a marriage to negotiate a contract with their husbands and she is also allowed to divorce him if the conditions are violated. Women can be educated and can lead religious rituals. They have the “power to exercise moral choice.” (Women in Religion, 96) While Islam preaches equality, Muslims practice male superiority and women are treated as inferior. Responsibilities of Man and Woman:
A Muslim man has many responsibilities toward his wife. He must keep the promises made to her at the time of their marriage and he must also respect her and her needs. Contrary to most cultures, housework and feeding the kids fall to the husband Both women and men have the same spiritual responsibilities of prayer, fasting, giving alms, and pilgrimage, but women are given leeway during times of pregnancy or menstruation. Other than the personal and spiritual duties, the most important and sacred role of women in Islamic society is that of a wife and a mother. Responsibilities Toward Children:
Fathers have the responsibility of ensuring the survival of the children. Mothers are responsible for the moral and social education of the children. Concept of Sin and Repentance: In Islam, there is no belief in original sin. All of humanity is destined for heaven unless they refuse Allah. A Muslim only has to repent and ask forgiveness to be saved by God. The Priests/ Jurists and their Roles:
Since there is no institution like the Church in Islam, there is no official authority. So, there is no hierarchy of spiritual leaders such as priests, but each believer controls their own spirituality.