Beliefs and ideas before attendance
In both history and tradition, Christianity and Islam have come a long way and even though both religions share a common origin, Islam has some beliefs with regard to the attendance of Christian services. Contrary to our Islamic beliefs, Christians are of the opinion that God exists in eternity and is simultaneous a communion of three distinct persons. In Islam on the other hand, God cannot exist in multiple state and any such belief would be a denial of monotheism (Kataregga & Shenk, 1980). Given the strict rules and regulations within my religion, I found it difficult to attend the church services when I visited the Christian community. For example, in Islam, you cannot enter a praise of worship such as a church without having a specific purpose and this is mainly because it is considered an offense and even the angels of the prophet could not step into any house that had images (Kratzke & Bertolo, 2013). Christians have also claimed that Allah had a family with a son and wife which makes it sinful for any Muslin to enter the church and approve of their claims let alone loving and taking them as friends.
According to the Qur’an, Christian foundations are built on theological positions that are based on falsehood and are misled. The Qu’ran also tells us that Christians actually conceal the truth with their falsehood and this makes them our enemies because even Allah fights against them(Kataregga & Shenk, 1980). Ever since the time of Adam, Islam has been existent and hence will continue. However, as Muslims we believe that Christians will be judged by Allah for having upheld what we perceive to be grave doctrinal errors and will thus face the wrath of god. We also believe that our religion has superiority over others and the conduct of Christian nations as well as vices make Islam more ideal. The Qu’ran also sends this message because it notes that Muslims are the best in mankind because they condemn wrongs and command rights.
I first tried to visit a church in Evansville, Indiana, US and my first church to visit was the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic church. There were many traditions practiced among the community. First off, the Catholics had to take the Eucharist as a symbol of eating the body and drinking the blood of God. I found this intriguing because I could not understand how they could eat their God’s body but they explained that they had to eat consecrated bread and drink church wine in order to fulfill the teachings of Christ. This was meant to perpetuate and appreciate the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross.
Special attention was paid to this ceremony because of the silence and state of holiness that the congregation exhibited. Other rites that were practiced in this community were the Passover feast and the Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday was celebrated in remembrance of the triumphant entry into Jerusalem by Jesus and during this the congregation gathered and waved as well as scattered the palm trees to signify what the crowds did when Jesus rode into Jerusalem in a donkey. Apart from palm trees, there are people in the congregation who used native tree branches. On the other hand, the Passover feast was also called the last supper and during this festival, the Christians partook of the body and blood of Christ. This was in commemoration of the event that led to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt after years of slavery, during which God passed over the Christians’ houses and slaughtered the first born males of the Egyptians hence leading to their escape which was led by Moses.
During the service, the Christians sang many hymns and said prayers. Their songs were also enjoyable to because they were accompanied by instruments. The prayers were difficult to understand because some of them were read from a book. The prayers were also repeated in similar manner on every Sunday. There were also different dress codes in the church and these included suits, kanzus, full dresses, short skirts, trousers, shorts among other clothes. Besides the nuns or sisters, other females in the congregation did not cover their hair (Kratzke & Bertolo, 2013).
Having experienced the difference in this community I was left in confusion, pleasure and amusement. I was confused because of the strict laws of Islam that forbade attendance of church masses. After attending these services I discovered that Christianity and Islam were very different. The religions also had many similarities that I had not been aware of before. For instance, Christians believe that God is the sole creator of the universe and He made prophets such as Moses, Noah, Jesus and Abraham. The Catholics also read from the Old Testament which Muslims refer to as the Torah and New Testament, which is popularly known as the Gospel or Holy Scripture. According to them Satan is evil and in the last days(Kataregga & Shenk, 1980).
Contrary to Islamic practices, nobody washed their body or wore full-length clothes that covered their entire body. In fact, women were not veiled or covered from head to toe. Another stark difference was that everyone entered the church with their shoes on. Because of all these, the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic church practices differed against all the Islamic practices and beliefs (Jackson & Samuels, 2011). Despite my confusion concerning the partaking of the body and blood of Christ, I must say that I was shocked that I was well welcomed in the church and nobody discriminated against me on the basis of my religion and other beliefs.
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Jackson, K. F., & Samuels, G. M. (2011). Multiracial Competence in Social Work: Recommendations for Culturally Attuned Work with Multiracial People. Social Work, 56(3), 235-245.
Kataregga, B., & Shenk, D. (1980). Islam and Christianity. Uzima Publishing House.
Kratzke, C., & Bertolo, M. (2013). Enhancing Students Cultural Competence Using Cross-Cultural Experiential Learning. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 20(3), 107-111.