The contemporary society is rife with differences among people on grounds of religion, politics, culture, gender among many others. Differences between two groups affiliating to one or more of these aspects create competing mentalities of “us versus them”. In light of these developments, the question begs, do these mentalities help maintain a fair society? The book Super Freakonomics by Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner challenges the way we think. It explores the hidden side of almost everything by asking probing, controversial and seemingly ridiculous questions. Some of the questions raised include, “why are doctors so bad at washing their hands? How much good do car seats do?” (Levitt & Dubner, 24). This essay explores and recognizes the differences in religion between Islam and Christianity in a multicultural context and borrows the views of Dubner and Levitt on the issue.
Religious differences are some of the most controversial issues that create divisions among people in the society. It is an acknowledged fact there lays deep-seated resentment between Islam and Christians in different societies around the world (Hossain, 49). At times, the resentment has resulted in wars and secession of countries as was the case in South Sudan (largely Christian state) and the North Sudan (largely Islam). In Nigeria, the resentment between the two religions frequently erupts as full blown terror attacks leaving scores dead. In the United States, the differences between the two religions runs deep with many US citizens being of a firm belief that Muslims resent Christians and are responsible for the numerous terror attacks around the world. Moreover, Islam states and especially those in the Middle East blame the US (largely Christian) for moral degradation in the world. The US engagement in wars with several Islamic states such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran among others situation has exacerbated the situation. In light of these developments, there is an overbearing issue that Muslims and Christians are in opposition.
Christianity and Islam are the largest religions in the world with 2.4 billion and 1.7 billion followers respectively (religionfacts.com, 2012). In spite of the two religions being largely distinct, they also have several points of contact. For instance, the two religions believe in the existence of a single supreme being- God for Christians and Allah for Islam. Moreover, the two religions follow teachings contained in Holy books- Bible for the Christians and the Quran for the Muslims (religionfacts.com, 2012). The scenario where one religion believes in one thing and the other religion believe in an equal but different entity or belief is replicated over and over among the differences between Christianity and Islam. In as much as there are differences between Christianity and Islam, these precise differences only serve to maintain fairness in the society since the differences are almost of equal weight.
The above being the case, it is, therefore, the smaller differential bits between Christianity and Islam that serve to exemplify gaping differences between Christians and Muslims in multicultural societies. These differences relate to issues about festivities, daily practices among others. A good example is contained in the book Super Freakonomics, by Levitt and Dubner (2011). The duo alleges that babies who are in utero (in the uterus) during the month of Ramadhan are more likely to have developmental after-effects. According to Dubner and Levitt (2011), the fasting has adverse effects when an expectant woman does so in her first month of pregnancy. The risk is further amplified when Ramadhan occurs in the summer in places such as Michigan where the daylight hours are more than daylight hours resulting in longer fasting periods for Muslims.
The above phenomenon has a logical and scientific explanation. Fasting mothers feed less and, therefore, the development of babies in the womb can be adversely affected especially when the mother is in her first month of expectancy. This is because, in the first month of pregnancy the developing fetus needs maximum nutrition and; therefore it can suffer development if supplied with inadequate nutrition when the mother fasts for long hours. This issue should not be used by Christians as an avenue to demean or term Islam as promoting unfairness in the society. The underlying importance of Ramadhan in Islam is weightier, and if anything it can be equated to the fasting month of lent practiced by Roman Catholics (Christians).
Christianity and Islam have several other key similarities and people affiliating to either of the religions should not harbor feelings of mistrust against the other religion. The two religions are essentially Abrahamic religions (religionfacts.com, 2012). The history of the two religions alleges that they stemmed from Abraham’s sons Ishmael and Isaac. The differences emerged when from the split between Ishmael and Isaac. While Muslims regard Ishmael as their ancestor, Christians regard themselves to be in the lineage of Isaac (Hossain, 47). This goes on to show that there are fundamental similarities between Christianity and Islam that should reign supreme above the trivial differences between the two religions.
There are many issues that bring about divisions between people around the world. Top on this list is religion. Islam and Christianity are the world’s largest religions, and it is undisputable that the relationship between Muslims and Christians has been nothing bur sour. Muslims blame Christians for moral degradation in the world while Christians blame Muslims disrespect for human life owing the numerous terror attacks around the world. This should not be the case since the two religions actually share so many fundamental issues. They for instance share a common ancestry in Abraham, adherence to teachings contained in holy books, one Supreme Being among other fundamental issues. The book Super Freakonomics highlights logical and explainable child developmental complications that can arise when pregnant Muslim women fast during the month of Ramadhan. Though on the surface, this appears an unfair precedence, the observance of the holy month of Ramadhan is a cardinal pillar of Islam just like the month of lent is among Christians. Religion should, therefore, serve to unite people around the world, and it should not be used a ground to advance unfairness in the society by creating situations of “us versus them”.
"Comparison Chart: Christianity vs. Islam - ReligionFacts." Religion, World Religions, Comparative Religion - Just the facts on the world's religions. N.p., 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2013.
Hossain, M. Islam versus Christianity. BiblioBazaar, 2011. Print
Levitt, Steven D., & Stephen J. Dubner. Super Freakonomics: global cooling, patriotic prostitutes, and why suicide bombers should buy life insurance. New York: Harper Perennial, 2011. Print.