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Buddhism, Christianity and Islam

Religion is quite a powerful and influential institution. While it is said that religion must not intervene with the affairs of the state nor be mixed up with the scientifically deduced breakthroughs being introduced by the academe, it is quite impossible to eliminate the influence of religion. Why? Based on the etymology of the word — as discussed in the Webster’s dictionary — “religion” comes from the Latin word religare, which means “to join or to link”1. True enough, it is a common denominator to every religion to gather its people by binding them through their system of values, beliefs and rituals or practices.

But more than this, religion introduces the concept of “guilt” or “conscience”. The scholar Aristotle once said in his famous philosophical essay Politics that “…. man is a political animal”. He argued this with the premise that man needs the participation of his fellow men in order to function and survive, hence making him a socio-political being. He likewise pointed out that to be able to preserve order; human beings must function in accordance to the rational arrangement of the universe.

While he discussed “…keeping overall order”2 in a rather political manner, men’s natural tendency to convene and organized by living harmoniously can also be attributed to the concept of guilt or conscience – a concept that is perpetually discussed in every religion. This concept makes human beings adhere to and accept social norm that imposes what may be only a relative right and wrong or subjective truth and false. Lastly, whereas human never ceases to explore the vastness of his surroundings and explain everyday phenomena, he can only do so much as the realm of human’s intellect is limited.

Hence, it is when the mind can not demystify what is unfathomable that he allows himself to be overwhelmed by a theistic unseen. It may seem that every religion is similar in aspects as discussed above, the fact that they are different, nay, in a sense unparallel could not be discounted. As the list of different Religions could go on forever, narrowing down the discussion to Islam, Christianity and Buddhism may be credible enough to establish the dissimilarities. For one, these three could be different as they all thrive in and originated from different cultures and regions of the globe.

Moving forward, these three religions could be distinguished with regard to their concept of afterlife and/or eternal life, way of living, salvation, practices, and about a higher deity. On afterlife/eternal life, Buddhists believe that every man is responsible for his own actions and the kind of life he may lead, henceforth, is the consequence of his doings in this life (karma). He may suffer or live prosperously in his next life, depending on how he leads his current karma. Meanwhile, Christianity and Islam believe not in reincarnation but rather in life after the “Day of Judgment.

” Once the human soul departed his earthly body, the soul will have to wait for the time where he shall be sent to the paradise (heaven) or to hell. However, Muslims unlike Christians, only believe in paradise and hell. There is no such thing as purgation of the soul in their doctrines. As regards, Muslims are enjoined to live by the Five Pillars of Islam – which may be analogous to the Christian’s The Ten Commandments or the Buddhist’s The Noble Eightfold Path – to be able to enter the paradise.

These doctrines all say something about how a man or a believer should live his life, but they vary on how to carry them out, for an instance, the profession of faith. In Islamic belief, there is no other gods besides Allah, and as an act of deference to Allah, a five-time daily prayer must be observed. As regards Christianity, God clearly commands in His first of the ten that, “I am the Lord thy God…. Thou shalt not have other gods before me. ” (King James Version, Exodus 20: 2-3). And although God have not mentioned how many times his followers must pray, he gave instructions to, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

” (New International Version, Exodus 20:8). Contrary to the two mentioned religions, Buddhism mentions neither any deity nor pedagogy on praying. As Buddhism is normally viewed as a way of being or a lifestyle to achieve enlightenment, followers give much stress “…on correct understanding of human nature and ultimate reality”3. On salvation, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism vary significantly. Christianity poses that in order to be saved; one must accept Christ as his Savior. Salvation could not be compensated by good deeds or community service.

Christians presuppose that it is possible to be good without believing in Christ, and since Christianity centers on Christ and His works, hence relationship with Him must be established in order to be redeemed. While Christianity does not require good deeds to be saved, Islam posits otherwise. For them, salvation is through good works by imbibing in everyday life the Five Pillars of Islam. Buddhism however, being non-theistic in nature still relates redemption to karma. As one dissects further the differences of these three religions, one may seem to notice that differences may only vary while traversing the specifics.

At large, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam and a whole bunch of other religions are all the same in essence. For an instance, the concept of afterlife for Muslims and Christians and karma for Buddhists both relate the consequences of earthly deeds to your second being or “next life”. In fact, elements such as prayers, rituals, concept of afterlife and salvation and reverence to a supernatural being are all present across religions. Perhaps this may not be quite obvious in Buddhism, however, belief in the existence of Buddha and mantra in deference to his teacshings can be regarded as similar to prayer to Allah or to the Lord.

These three religions could be similar in a sense that each offers their followers a sound lifestyle, positive outlook in life and hope when everything else falls apart.

Works Cited

Aristotle’s Politics: A Summary of Book One, Part One. 2008. Faiths United for Sustainable Energy. March 22, 2008. < http://www. associatedcontent. com/> Aristotle. Politics. 2008. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. March 22, 2008. < http://www. iep. utm. edu/> Comparing Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. 2000. Yutopian Online. <http://www. yutopian. com/religion/compare/>.

Comparision Chart of Christianity and Islam. 2008. ReligionFacts. <http://www. religionfacts. com/christianity/charts/christianity_islam. htm> King James Version Bible. BibleGateway. com. <http://www. biblegateway. com/passage/? search=Exodus%2020%20;&version=9> Muslim Beliefs about the Afterlife. ReligionFacts. <http://www. religionfacts. com/islam/beliefs/afterlife. htm> New International Version. BibleGateway. com. <http://www. biblegateway. com/passage/? search=Exodus%2020%20;&version=31> Webster’s Online Dictionary. 2008 <http://www. websters-online-dictionary. org/definition/religion>.

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