I believe in God and in His omnipotence. I believe in Jesus Christ, that He was crucified for our sins, and that He rose from the dead. I believe in the saints and martyrs. I believe that it is wrong to kill, steal, lie, and put yourself above others. Part of putting oneself above others is vanity, bearing false witness, slander, gossip, greed and so many other things that tangle us in a web that keeps us away from God. I believe in prayer.
God is an all-powerful, all knowing and all loving God. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us, save us from sin, and show us the path to heaven. Sadly, His son was rejected, and put to death. However, His very death is the foundation of my belief, for if Christ had not been put to death, he could not have risen. The resurrection of Christ is our salvation. It is the greatest feast of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church, in keeping with Christ's instructions, encourages us to pray. I believe that prayer, especially united prayer, accomplishes more good that we can possibly imagine. For centuries, Catholics prayed for the conversion of Russia. Today, Russians are free to practice their faith openly and without fear of reprisal from their government. The effects of prayer are not only far-reaching, but provide a tremendous relief to our soul.
The soul, I believe, is where our inner resolve resides. It is what makes us who and what we are. If we cherish and nurture our soul, we would be living in a Christian way. We would be walking the talk. While everyone has a soul, not everyone believes in savings one's soul. One source of damage to our soul is immorality.
Immorality is a terrible sin that leads to much turmoil and pulls the soul further away from God. Immorality diminishes fortitude, and may lead to other sins. I believe that because I have a soul my body is a temple of God, and as such should be cared for and properly nurtured. Following in Jesus' footsteps is the only way to nurture a soul.
I believe in heaven, purgatory, and hell. I know heaven exists because Jesus told us His father is in heaven - Paradise. Before Jesus died on the cross, he told us of paradise. Jesus also told us about the fires of Hell and banishing an archangel to the fires of hell. It is a place I would hate to spend eternity. More information on the existence of hell can be found at http://www.catholic.com/answers/tracts/_hell.htm.
I believe in the pope and his infallibility as it pertains to the Catholic Church. I also believe in the Blessed Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
How would a Muslim agree or disagree?
Because Muslims look upon Western culture as perverse in and of itself, they probably associate Western ways with Christianity. They most likely have a great disdain for Christians. Muslims believe that their ways is the only way. They probably resort to violence toward any other belief, much as Western fanatic pro-lifers do when they kill abortionists and bomb clinics. I think it is more out of a horrible pent up frustration and a lack of knowledge.
Since Muslims believe women cause men to sin, only tells me they must be weak and unable to control their sexual urges. Because of this weakness, the Muslim women are covered from head to toe. Modest dress is perfectly acceptable in Christian ways.
Our Ten Commandments are not denigrating to either sex, so our women are treated much better. (Of course, there are exceptions.) A Muslim would disagree with our Ten Commandments because they do not differentiate - the laws are the same for every man woman and child. For instance, one of our Commandments is "Thou shalt not kill." Some Muslims believes it is ok to kill in the name of Allah. Here is where I have a problem. Muslims say it is ok to kill in the name of Allah, and we say it is ok to kill a convicted criminal or an unborn baby. In a way, Westerners are qualifying our kill rule.
Christians do not have "clear cut" duties, as the Muslims appear to have. Therefore, in that respect, Muslims would probably consider our Ten Commandments as a weak set of rules. We Christians act of our own free will. Muslims kill in the name of Allah - Kill in the name of anyone in the U.S. and you?re a criminal.
Muslims would disagree with my belief in saints and probably with our priests and pope, as well. Muslims do not have mediaries, but rather pray directly to God. (They also do not believe their God is the same as our God.) What Muslims may not understand is that Christians pray directly to God too.
The website I found talks about praise and glory to god, yet some Muslims practice the opposite of what god is. http://www.muslim-answers.org/ God is love. The web author speaks of Westerners misunderstanding Muslim ways, yet the website itself makes a mockery as it harshly criticizes nearly every non-Muslim faith. Rather than expressing criticism, why not just expand on the glories of the Muslim faith and allow tolerance toward others?
In conclusion, I do not think there are any similarities between the Muslims and the Christians. It would certainly be interesting if I could meet and speak with a Muslim as I did with my Jewish neighbor. Perhaps I could have more insight, and I would not have misguided beliefs about them. I don't know a single Muslim.
How would a Buddhist agree or disagree?
A Buddhist would disagree wholeheartedly with the basic philosophy of Christianity in that Buddhists do not believe in a supreme being. Because belief in a supreme being is non-existent, it holds that no teaching of Christ would exist for a Buddhist. If there is no god, there is no heaven, or hell, or saints or martyrs to intercede. There is no prayer, to whom would one pray?
Everything I believe in as a Christian means nothing to a Buddhist. Self-denial and suffering on earth are stepping-stones to heaven as far as a Catholic is concerned. One of the four Noble Truths of Buddha is "to be fully understood." One of the eight beatitudes of Catholics is that it is not as important that we be understood as to understand. Buddhists want to attain Nirvana in a new life. Catholics want to attain heaven after death.
Buddhists believe strongly in reincarnation. Catholics only believe that we have one life on earth, and after the death of that life, we will go to Heaven, Purgatory, or hell.
The Eightfold Path (right understanding, thinking, speech, conduct, livellihood and effort) are good concepts and probably hold to the Christian beliefs, but when coupled with their other beliefs, they differ considerably from Christians.
I am sure there are very devout people in all of the religions of the world, just as there are non-followers of each faith. There are certain Christians who also believe that unless you are born again you are condemned. I believe that Catholicism is the true religion and that I am so fortunate to have been raised as a Catholic. That is not to say that not anyone who is non-Catholic will be saved. I believe that good people will receive their just reward, just as truly evil people will receive theirs. Justice is mine says the Lord, and I believe He will hand out justice such that we have never seen.
It would be interesting to see a side-by-side non-partisan comparison of the lives of Jesus Christ, Mohammad, and Buddha. There must be a theologian somewhere who has done that.
Dr. Diem, this was a very enlightening exercise.