The New Testament, The Koran

1.   The differences of perceptions of Heaven and Hell between Islam, Christianity and Judaism, is not so much the type of place, but rather the conditions required to get there.  For the Islamic believers, the conditions required to go to Heaven are dependent on both, having faith and performing the moral laws and actions described in the Koran.  This is also true for the Judaism, except that the moral laws are described in the Torah, although very similar, from what I read for this class.  Even the stories of certain characters, such as, Joseph and Noah were pretty much the same in the old Testament and in the Koran.  In the Islam religion, Islamic believers cannot be friends with Jews and Christians, although they accept that the Torah is a divine scripture through which God made a covenant with the Israelites.  For them, believing that Jesus is also God is a blasphemy, as opposed to Christians, for which not confessing that Jesus is God will send you automatically to Hell.  In the Koran, it seems that there is an inequality of sexes, with regards of treatment, and punishment for the sinner.  For example, males that commit fornication can be forgiven if they repent, but females cannot have the right to repent.  This is not the case in the Old and New Testament, in which both females and males are punished equally for their sins, and God simply speaks to a nation, and not to a specific sex.  In Christianity, the believers not only have to obey the moral laws of the New Testament and tenth commandments of the Old Testament, but also have to forgive anyone that sins against them.  This is different from Judaism and Islam, for which is “eye for an eye.’  Christians must love their enemies, as well as the humanity, in the same way you are supposed to love yourself.  The Christian religion demands more characteristics of compassion, love, faith in the unseen, and sacrifice of the human ego.  It is more centered in trying to deliver the message of Jesus through all world, which is of love, mercy, justice and repentance.  For the Christians, as long as you truly are repentant of your sins, you can go to Heaven, the faith and intentions of the heart are more emphasized than mere actions.  This is incongruent with both, Islam and Judaism, for which performing the law is more important to go to Heaven, than your truly intentions and the type of person you are.

2.   Having to believe all the way to the end, and doing your actions with a pure heart, is harder than doing something for the sake of it, no matter what are your intentions and what are your true beliefs. For that same reason, it was very difficult for the Jews to accept the message of Jesus.  All the sudden, not only what they are doing matters, but also how they do it, what they are thinking and feeling too.  However, this demands were accepted by the Greeks, because they already had to comply with the countless and contradictory requirements of all their gods.  An important element familiar to Greeks, was believing in prophecies.  The prophecies of the nativity of the Messiah and death were known through all this countries, and were very specific, in terms of where the Messiah was going to be born and how.  That a prophecy of such potential was accomplished, was attractive to the Greeks.  The passion of Jesus was also accepted by the Greeks because it set a story in which God’s purpose and sovereignty was established and nothing could change it, just like they believe that their Gods set the purpose of mankind.  The act of sacrifice of Jesus and his forgiveness for the Jews and humankind, was an element of heroic act, one very praised in Greek literature; even Pilatos declared the innocence of Jesus.  To me, this was the most attractive of all elements to the Greeks.  After all, who would not want to serve a God that forgives even the most outrageous acts of humankind?

3.   The emphasis on human repentance and divine mercy is not only emphasized in the New Testament, but also in the Old one.  Throughout many books, prophets called the Nation for repentance.  Many times God established new pacts with Israel, and many times God forgave the sins of the Nation.  God forgave David sons that committed outrageous acts, such as serving idols that require the Nation to sacrifice their own children to those idols.  God forgave them, to honor the pacts that he had done with his father, David.  God forgave David for committing adultery and homicide the husband of such woman.  God also forgave the country Ninive when he sent Jonah to give them prophecy about their destruction, because the country truly repented themselves.  Even Jonah was mad because God forgave the country, since Jonah had already gave the prophecy of destruction, and thus, it made him look like an idiot.  After Jesus, the human relation to God was more closer because you did not have to provide with a sacrifice for God to forgive you of your sins.  The sacrifice of Jesus was once and for all humanity and perfect so that you only had to believe to be forgiven.  In the Iliad and in Gilgamesh, there is no repentance and divine mercy from the gods.  Whatever the gods want, and who they favor, is all it matters.  The gods favor Gilgamesh and made Enkidu pay for the mistakes of both.  The gods had no mercy.  In the Iliad, each god manipulated the circumstances to their advantage and favor the character they liked the most.  Even though Hector serve them the way they wanted, his life was not forgiven, and Achilles life was favored.  In the Old and New Testaments, God has no favorites, he is equal to everybody and wants everyone to go to Heaven.  I cannot wait to be in a place, in which everyone has good intentions, they truly care for me and live in peace.

One thought on “The New Testament, The Koran

  1. jwmaring

    Regarding your first post, you make a very astute observation which I failed to mention in my own post, but one also that appeared very obvious to me nonetheless following my reading of the Koran. That is, there is legal inequality amongst the sexes. Not to judge of course, but if my observation holds true, this is perhaps one of Islam’s biggest impediments to modern day thinking and equality amongst peoples’. If nothing else, it provides for some interesting insight into some of the world’s current geopolitical problems relative to the West and the Middle East.

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