- Religion and Philosophy
Believers Report: Islam and Christianity
This hub contains a believers report on two individuals who belong to two different religious groups, Islam and Christianity. In particular, the beliefs and their particular motivation in joining or being in their religious groups are evaluated. Other aspects that were explored in this interview were the position of women in these respective groups. The first interview was conducted with a member of the First Baptist Church of Garden Lakes who is identified as Johnson Hadlan (not real name) while the second occurred at hmadiyyat-Yousuf Mosque with one, Ismael Yusuf also not his real name
Asked on what he believed as a first Baptist, Mr Johnson Hadlan explained that the word “Baptist” itself had a fundamental meaning in their Christian lives. In essence, he considers the bible as the only references that guide his faith and practice. The second letter of the word Baptist means autonomy of all their churches, meaning that each Baptist church is independent from the grip or jurisdiction of other churches. The Letter P stands for the priesthood of each believer since according to them; all believers are given authority to serve in the church community. Mr Hadlan continues that the meaning of the word “T” relates to two ordinances for each Baptist church whereby; every local church must pass through them. Apparently, the letter I stand for Individual responsibility and liberty while S is for Separation in terms of political, ecclesiastical and ethical. The last word (T) stands for two officers in the local church.
The interviewee further revealed that his religious group did not have a specific prescribed set of principles, or beliefs that were common among Baptists in the global perspective. However, the main essence of their beliefs was the relation of the world “Baptist” with the New Testament, which according to them is the true and divine word of the Lord. In other words, the uniqueness of the word “Baptist” could be equated with that of the New Testament.
When asked on why he had to join the First Baptist Church of Garden Lakes, Mr Hadlan expressed that, he felt the need of joining the church in order to ascertain his salvation which he had received in one of the local crusades that had been organized by the church in his locality. Further, he needed to be with other Christian community so that he can not only be a service to them, but also learn from them and as a sense of belonging. He continues to explain that this endeavor will be helpful in enriching his believes and knowledge about Christianity in general.
In essence, the assumption by Mr Hadlan concurs with the articulation of (Putnam and Campbel 23) who articulates that individuals believers certainly needs God’s experiences in order to comprehend and appreciate him better. The experiences of each individual are inadequate and they need others to enrich that knowledge.
The interviewee was also asked to give his opinion on how women are regarded in his church. In answering this query, he explained that his church values women and consider them equal in doing God’s work. In fact, many women hold significant posts at the church.
This interview was also focused on some aspects of the Islamic religion, by engaging Mr. Ismael Yusuf at the Ahmadiyyat-Yousuf Mosque in this interview. My main interest was to ascertain what Mr Yusuf believed as an individual in regard to his religion. The interviewee was quick to point out that his core belief lie on the existence of one, true and powerful God. He went on to argue that besides this God, other gods and idols were insignificant before him. Further, Mr Yusuf went on to disclose his commitment and the commitment of other believers on mankind unity, as well as the awareness of the divine messages, as revealed by the almighty God.
I also went a step further in asking the interviewee on why he had to join Islam upon which he was unease to give a direct answer. The interviewee who had been an Islam since his youthful years went further to reveal that he had been asked this question so many times and that he was still figuring out on what really influenced him to join this mosque. However, he contends that much of the influence came from his friends and neighbors, most of who were Islam believers. The behavior and actions of Muslims touched him and aroused his desire to become one, although his parents were not affiliated to any religion.
Mr Yusuf claims that he could not sustain this influence much longer when some of these friends visited him and preached on many life aspects such as the shortness of life, the necessity of living a virtuous life and the value of life in general. This is when he decided that he should simply become one among the Muslim believers in the local mosque. He believed that the community in the local mosque will help him answer his most pressing questions such as how best to live his life, and what would happen after death.
On the issue of women in his religious community, Mr Yusuf was frank to disclose that his community considered women as valuable members, although they did not consider them as being equal with men. In this particular mosque, no woman was holding any significant post, translating that they had not yet embraced women as leaders.
Though Islam and Christianity are known for having various contrasting religious beliefs and worship practices, this research has established that there are many aspects where these two religions could have common ground. A good example that can also be noted from this report is the existence of a one, universal deity who controls the earth and heaven. In addition, it can also be seen that both of these groups have a strong believe in the participation of their religious communities, which they consider as their religious obligations.
From this report, we certainly realize that both Christians and Muslims embrace the aspect of community. According to Ronald, individual Christian believers would want to engage themselves in a specific church or community as a way of realizing their true identity. Furthermore, it is in this community where individuals grow in spiritual and religious aspects. In addition, these communities enable individuals to serve by using their various talents (115). Similarly, Islamic believers revere the community since it gives them an opportunity of serving Allah, as well as being committed to his cause. Both groups agree that believers will be able to grow spiritually and acquire more knowledge through their specific committees. The difference in these groups is that the Islamic community is founded on the family, while the Christian community begins from the church. This is because for Christians, family members have no obligations of attending the same church.