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There has been so much print and air time about Religions and the differences among them. I have downloaded several charts showing some of the differences between the many religions. Many Western religions (many with European and Eastern beginnings) have an assortment of sects that believe the basic premise of the root religion but have deviated due to their own perception of how they interpret the bible along with the overall teachings of the root group. This doesn’t mean that any of the many are more right or more wrong than the others. It does not mean that any of their “Bibles or Quran’s” are incorrect or correct. Keep in mind that all of these religious “guides” are thousands of years old and have been translated millions of time and perhaps altered due to translation and sometimes sect preference. After looking at the attached charts, it became clear to me that aside from personal interpretation most major and minor religions have at one time or another have been co-opted by the breakaway sect. So it appears that religions all have the same goal in general but have been used in the name of  justice to murder, maim and oppress many. I have put below as a first line a brief history of Islam naming the two main sects along with a quote from the Quran.

Major sects and denominations Sunni and Shiite Twelvers – Majority Shi’ite denomination that reveres the Twelve Imams Seveners – Shi’ite denomination holding that the legitimate line of imams ended with the seventh Sufi is a mystical branch Sacred text.

“Righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day    and the Angels and the Scriptures and the Prophets.”    — Quran 2:177

Six Articles of Faith

There is no official creed to which one must adhere to be considered a Muslim. All that is required is to believe and recite the Shahada: “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his Prophet.” Beyond this core belief, however, Muslim doctrine is often summarized in “Six Articles of Faith.” Many Muslims believe that one must adhere to the six articles to be considered a Muslim.

Muslim Beliefs about God

The single most important belief in Islam, and arguably the central theme of Islam, is that there is only one God. The name of God is Allah, which is simply Arabic for “the (al) God (ilah).” The term is related to Elohim, the Hebrew word for God.

Comparison of Statistics and Basics


adherents called
current adherents
1.3 billion
14 million
2 billion
current size rank
2nd largest
12th largest
major concentration
Middle East, Southeast Asia
Israel, Europe, USA
Europe, North and South America, rapid growth in Africa
sacred text
Qur’an (Koran)
Bible (Jewish Bible + New Testament)
other written authority
Talmud, Midrash, Responsa
church fathers, church councils, papal decrees (Catholic only)
religious law
Canon Law
priests, ministers, pastors, bishops
house of worship
church, chapel, cathedral
main day of worship
church and state

Comparison of Origins and History


date founded
622 CE
c. 33 CE
place founded
Saudi Arabia
Palestine (def)
Moses or Abraham
original language(s)
Aramaic, Greek
early expansion
within 12 years, entire Arabian peninsula; within 100 years, Muslim world stretched from the Atlantic to China
little expansion; mostly confined to Palestine
within 60 years, churches in major cities in Palestine, Turkey, Greece and Rome (map); entire Roman Empire by end of 4th cent.
major splits
Shia/Sunni, c. 650 CE
Reform/Orthodox, 1800s CE
Catholic/Orthodox, 1054 CE; Catholic/Protestant, 1500s CE

Comparison of Religious Beliefs


type of theism
strict monotheism
strict monotheism
Trinitarian monotheism
ultimate reality
one God
one God
one God
names of God
Allah (Arabic for God)
Yahweh, Elohim
Yahweh, the Holy Trinity
other spiritual beings
angels, demons, jinn
angels and demons
angels and demons
revered humans
prophets, imams (especially in Shia)
saints, church fathers
identity of Jesus
true prophet of God, whose message has been corrupted
false prophet
Son of God, God incarnate, savior of the world
birth of Jesus
virgin birth
normal birth
virgin birth
death of Jesus
did not die, but ascended into heaven during crucifixion
death by crucifixion
death by crucifixion
resurrection of Jesus
second coming of Jesus
divine revelation
through Muhammad, recorded in Qur’an
through Prophets, recorded in Bible
through Prophets and Jesus (as God Himself), recorded in Bible
view of sacred text
inspired, literal word of God, inerrant in original languages
views vary
inspired, some believe inerrant in original languages
human nature
equal ability to do good or evil
two equal impulses, one good and one bad
“original sin” inherited from Adam –  tendency towards evil
means of salvation
correct belief, good deeds, Five Pillars
belief in God, good deeds
correct belief, faith, good deeds, sacraments (some Protestants emphasize faith alone)
God’s role in salvation
divine revelation and forgiveness
predestination, various forms of grace
good afterlife
eternal paradise
views vary: either heaven or no afterlife
eternal heaven
bad afterlife
eternal hell
views vary: either eternal Gehenna,  reincarnation, or no afterlife
eternal hell, temporary purgatory (Catholicism)
view of fellow Abrahamic religions
Jews and Christians are respected as “People of the Book,” but they have wrong beliefs and only partial revelation.
Islam and Christianity are false interpretations and extensions of Judaism.
Judaism is a true religion, but with incomplete revelation. Islam is a false religion.

Hopefully these charts and the introduction will allow some of us to realize we are not so far apart religiously and can conceivably move forward to ease world tensions.

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