By Assaad Hawwa
LAU Tribune staff
“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
“In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”
In both ways, worshippers glorify one and only God –the Almighty.
Many people think that religion is an identity trait that distinguishes one person from another. They forget the main reason why people belong to a religion –to praise God.
Each one claims that his or her religion is better than the others’ and that his or her values make up the only legitimate belief system.
But whether I pray in a church or a mosque, I fast during the Great Lent or during Ramadan, I draw the sign of the cross or bow, it doesn’t matter. What matters is to know why I do such actions and the purpose behind doing them.
It is true that the Christian viewpoint of human salvation is different from its Muslim counterpart, but what matters is that the followers of both religions believe in one God who saves human beings.
People must realize that Islam and Christianity have so much in common. The Fateha (opening prayer) and The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) are different in construction but similar in meaning.
Both Muslims and Christians believe that Jesus Christ was sinless and born of the Virgin Mary in a miraculous way. Islam and Christianity both stipulate that this world is finite and that humans do not know when the world will come to an end.
The creation of man in the Qur’an is described as follows; “Behold! Thy Lord said to the angels: ‘I am about to create man from sounding clay from mud molded into shape; when I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit fall ye down in obeisance unto him’”(Al-Hijr).
The creation of man in the Old Testament (Bible) similarly says; “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being”(Genesis 2:7).
Both religions require believers to follow some moral codes: a) punishment for those who disrespect God and worship any other deity, b) prohibition from inhumane acts like murder, theft, lying, gambling and violence, c) a mandate to respect parents and spouses and d) a ban on adultery and suicide.
These examples illustrate how much Christianity and Islam have in common. We as humans must disregard the few differences we have, and hold each others’ hands in order to live in peace.
Religion must unite, not divide.