Essay on Christian and Muslim Religious Tolerance

1769 Words Dec 16th, 2013 8 Pages
FWIS 104
Christian and Muslim Religious Tolerance
It is ironic that while they are based on similar scriptures, and therefore similar ideologies, Christianity and Islam have had divergent attitudes towards the acceptance of religious minorities. By its nature, the Christian faith antagonizes other religions, including Judaism and Islam, because, according to Christian scripture, a lack of belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ results in damnation. The Muslim faith, however, has a much more tolerant view on “People of the Book,” including Christians and Jews, since such tolerance is stipulated by Islamic scripture. Subsequent treatment (as opposed to acceptance) of religious minorities, however, was similar between followers of the two
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These taxes also served as an economic incentive for religious coexistence and toleration. In the dhimmi system (which was in itself Islamic law that extended rights and protections to religious minorities “of the book”) it is stated that “[the People of the Book] must be shown gentleness (page 4)” as long as they have paid their tax in full. In the conquest treaty, the People of the Book are even guaranteed religious freedom under the condition they pay the jizya. It states, “Their churches shall neither be used as dwellings nor destroyed… No constraint shall be exercised against them in religion nor shall any harm be done to any of them.” The restrictions against non-Muslims were typically mild. In the Shurut ‘Umar, Christians were restricted from teaching or publicly expressing their religion. Other secular restrictions (as opposed to restrictions on religious freedom expression) include “not seek[ing] to resemble the Muslims by imitating any of their garments (page 13)” and “not sell[ing] fermented drinks,” both much milder alternatives to religious violence. Likewise, there have been instances of Christians encouraging peace towards religious minorities. For example, Saint Augustine cites a verse from Psalm 59 as his main inspiration for relative tolerance: “He is my God.