In comparing religious beliefs, I have found that Christianity and Islam prohibit Alcohol, pork, the payment of interest on loans, and idol worship. Both religions prohibit other ideas as well. I am using these as some of the more visible ones. The comparison of Islam and Christianity is much too large for one post, but I will hit upon what I consider to be a few of the more important contrasts.
The main problem with Islam is that the authority of the modern government (Nation-state) overrides these prohibitions. With Christianity, if the government allows its population to drink booze, or to take out loans that pay interest, or eat pork, the church has no say. This is not the case with Islam. Just look at the organized resistance to these concepts within countries that allow these practices with a Muslim minority.
The point I am attempting to make here is that Islam the ‘religion’ is still able to enforce these religious rules. With Christianity, the enforcement mechanism has long been discarded. Take the Catholic Church’s prohibition on abortion. Some crazies may bomb an abortion clinic. But no governments enforce abortion upon others that are under the jurisdiction of another government. Any type of move like this would trigger open warfare. Because Islam is seen as being a ‘religion’, it is being treated differently by many of the governments of the world.
Christianity got out of the government business centuries ago. Many governments are based upon many of its ideas. However, a key difference is that Islam was set up as a government. Islam has a complete legal system with many of the functions of a modern government. Example: All non-Muslims must pay a ‘poll tax’. This payment exempts the payer from military service. Taxation and conscription are functions of a modern government.
Fine, your government passes a law that allows for this. How about the penalty for leaving Islam is death? Lots of death penalties in Islamic law. OK, many Islamic governments refuse to enforce all of the rules; yet riots will occur from time to time when important Islamic laws are ignored. This is a common occurrence throughout the world where Islam is a majority, or Islam is a significant minority. How many riots do we see in the world because of Christian law being ignored? Once again, I will use the example of abortion. A few crazies take action, but open riots? And look at how important an issue abortion is. Compare this with the riots that are occurring with regularity within the Islamic community. Over supposed ‘insults’. Anger is openly and commonly expressed in the Islamic world. Then we have the ‘eye for an eye’ concept.
Just last week, an Egyptian court was looking for a doctor to sever a man’s spine. This is because in a fight, he had paralyzed another man. Islamic law allows for a person to seek justice in this way. It is literally, a spine for a spine. In Iran last year, a woman asked the court to blind a man with acid because he had blinded her by throwing acid in her face. Christianity has never taught ‘an eye for an eye’. In contrast, Islam has this principle imbedded into its legal system.
Islam was set up as a government. Its autocratic system can enforce the many personal restrictions that the ideology embraces. Likewise, Christianity was set up as a set of rules for personal behavior. However, the enforcement mechanism in Islam is not present in Christianity. Many times in the past, enforcement of the Christian rules was common, but the enforcement mechanism was inferred, not spelled out. As a result, Christianity was able to drop enforcement of its rules centuries ago. (This required warfare to accomplish)
This is because Christianity evolved to the point where Christian rules do NOT override the government. This is a problem with Islam because Islam was designed to be a government by itself. Islamic ‘laws’ are VERY strict. The system of governance is VERY autocratic, as it must be to enforce such draconian measures. In addition, these strict rules that Islam places upon its followers must be a source of frustration for its members. Hence, the touchiness to any attack (imagined or real) and the sensitivity to insult. These emotions along with anger are natural, human byproducts of frustration. Then we have other issues.
One of them is stoning people to death. Christianity has always been against this practice. (Let he who is without sin cast the first stone) Riots have occurred because this Islamic penalty was not enforced. This practice is also embedded into Islamic law. Stoning people to death is barbaric. It must be eliminated. Eliminating stoning within Islam has been shown to result in violence. People fought open warfare to prevent the elimination of slavery. Stoning is an issue that appears to be similar in this way. The very culture was at stake with slavery. I am guessing that elimination of stoning is being violently resisted for similar reasons.
Speaking of violence, when was the last time the Pope led an army? When did Christianity last field an army? (One that was outside of a nation state’s control?) The Crusades were the last time that I know of and that was more than ½ a millennia ago. These Islamic terrorist groups are literally the army of Islam. Imams are frequently the leaders of their own ‘militias’. They have their own armies! They obtain the authority to do so from the concept of Islam as a government. Want to start a war? This will do it EVERY time. A ‘fundamental’ difference between Christianity and Islam indeed.