Christianity and Islam By: Jeffrey Betzold


The founder of Christianity was Jesus; he was a prophet that introduced Christianity. Before he introduced Christianity he was known as a peasant or lower class citizen as was his father. Jesus was born around the year 7 B.C. by the virgin marry and his father Joseph. Jesus had died around the year of 30 A.D. by being crucified on the cross. Christianity was founded in the year of 33 A.D. by Jesus. Apostle Paul and Saint Peter took over Christianity after Jesus had died. Apostle Paul founded several churches in Asia Minor and Europe. Paul took advantage of his status as both a Jew and a Roman citizen to minister to both Jewish and Roman audiences. Saint Peter or the prince of the Apostles was in charge of all of the Apostles and how they spread Christianity.

Four Complants

1) People thought that the priests and bishops weren’t religious anymore. Also, wealthy members of the church got appointed to high offices.

2) Others that the pope was too involved in politics to the place where he was reflecting his religious duties.

3) Many thought s that the catholic church had gotten too rich. It was one of the richest institutions in Europe. Poor people were being charged (in exchange for forgiveness and the church paid no time.

4) The pope could grant forgiveness to a person for an amount of money (indulgences) kind of like buying your way into heaven. He could also get a person out of Purgatory (a made up place) It was a place where bad people who had died were sent – kind of like Hell.


Martin Luther was born in eastern Germany in 1483. Because it was the late Middle ages, Luther studied (at school) Latin, church liturgy and doctrine. He went on to college and earned two degrees. An incident happened that made him change his mind about Law school & he became a monk instead. At the Monastery he changed his mind about some of the main practices of the Catholic Church. He came to believe that Christians could be saved only by the repentance (change of mind about their sinful life) and through faith in Jesus Christs promise of salvation. A personal relationship with God was possible without a priest speaking to God for the person. He became a professor and he was a parish priest.

Luther’s 95 thesis

Martin Luther had decided that there was no evidence in the bible to prove that the Pope had power to release souls from Purgatory. There were pieces of paper being sold (for lots of money) like a ‘get out of Purgatory ‘card – but it was a scam. The poor peasants were making the Roman clergy rich. His objections were written on a list. There were 95 issues he wanted to dispute. So he nailed his “95 thesis” (or points of discussion) on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. They were written in Latin and he wanted other scholars to debate the statements he had set out. This was in 1517.

Catholic Church

They protested against Luther's complaints. Pope Leo called him a drunken German and directed the head of the Augustinian monks to shut Luther up. They said that if Luther changed his mind they would forgive him. If he didn’t, he would be kicked out of the church (excommunicated).

Five Differences

1) The bible is the ultimate authority for doctrine. Christians can read the Scriptures and (though prayer) using their reason – interpret the meaning.

2) Luther believed in the ‘priesthood of all believers’. Any person who is a Christian may lead church services and administer the sacraments.

3) There is nothing in Scripture requiring celibacy. Preachers should be married so they aren’t tempted to sin. They should have children/families.

4) Christians should live in the world – caring for others and being an example to their neighbors. Being married and having a family builds character in away denied to monks. This is what pleases God.

5) Only the sacraments of baptism and communion have been found in the bible. The other 5 can be of some help – but, not necessary & not required. The priest has no power to forgive sins. Only God can do that.

1) Pope & church councils, declare the doctrine and practice. No one can question what they choose. (Doctrine of infallibity).

2) The priesthood is a sacrament granted by the church. Priests have special powers and duties that normal/regular people don’t. They can lead church services and administer the sacraments; no one else can. (sacred duties)

3) Celibacy is believed to be a holy lifestyle – required for priests, nuns and monks.

4) Being a monk, nun or priest is a higher state and of higher spiritual value in God’s eyes.

5) There are seven sacraments and only the priest has the power to administer them. The priest can grant remission (forgiveness) of sins through the sacrament of confession.

Counter Reformation

The Counter-Reformation was a reform movement that took place in the Roman Catholic Church. It began in 16th century Europe and occurred as a response to the Protestant Reformation. Had the Counter-Reformation movement not happened, Protestantism would have become a huge dominating force in Europe. The Counter-Reformation movement also known as the Catholic Revival began with the Council of Trent from 1545-1563. This council played an important part in the outcome of the Counter-Reformation. It was called the Council of Trent because, after eight years that Pope Paul III fought for its creation, it finally began in the northern Italian city of Trent. They met a number of times, but there were three main sessions that occurred in 1545, 1551, & 1562. The Council was able to bring together a large variety of competing agendas. They set out specific Catholic doctrine on salvation, the sacraments, and the list of authoritative books known as the Biblical canon. The priorities of the Council remained to condemn the principles and doctrines of Protestantism, to effect a reformation in discipline or administration, the church’s interpretation of the Bible was final, the relationship definition between faith and works, and the other catholic practices that were reformers within the Church.

The Council of Trent

The Council of Trent, the Inquisition, and the Peace of Augsburg each served a strong purpose. They each brought order and conflict resolution in order to further the religious views of the Catholic and Lutheran churches and to help counter the spread of Protestantism in Europe.

The Inquisition

The Inquisition was a feared organization within the Catholic Church as well. It existed originally in Spain and Italy. It had great success in Spain so Pope Paul III revived it in 1542. There were six inquisitor-generals that were appointed as cardinals and who had power over all the clergy and laity. According to the Inquisition, you were guilty until proven innocent. Those that were accused were tortured. If you were found guilty then your punishments could be anywhere from confiscation of your property to execution. Because of their intensity, many Catholic rulers would not allow them onto their territory because they represented a threat to them.

The Peace of Augsburg

The Peace of Augsburg was signed into effect in 1555. It divided Europe into the Roman Catholic Church and the new Lutheran (Protestant) Church. Its main goals were to maintain peace between the Catholic and Lutheran members, it required that every principality decides where it would practice Catholicism or Lutheranism and all other religions would not be allowed. It did allow people to move from principality to principality in order to keep their own religious affiliation as long as it was either Catholic or Lutheran. Even though Charles V did not want to concede land to Protestantism, he also wanted an end to the religious divisions in the empire. This is what led to the close of Counter-Reformation.

Current number of Christians

In 2010, Christianity was by far the world's largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents which is nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth. The number of Christians also is projected to rise, but more slowly, at about the same rate (35%) as the global population overall.


The founder of Islam was Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim (Muhammed) he was known as the holy prophet. Before he Introduced Islam he was in the lower class with him being an orphan who lived in a cave for half his life. Muhammad was born in 570 in the city of Mecca. He was orphaned at the young age. After that his Paternal uncle took him in and raised him. He died on June 8 of the year 632 in the city of Medina, Saudi Arabia. He died from becoming ill. Muhammed founded Islam in the year of 622. After he reported being visited by Gabriel in the cave, then he stated he received his first revelation from God. The founder after Muhammed’s death was Abu Bakr he was made the first caliph. This choice was disputed by some of Muhammad's companions, who believed that Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, had been designated his successor.

The division of the Sunni and Shia occurred in the year 632 due to disputes based on the succession of leadership once Muhammad passed away. One group believed that the successor should be appointed under Arab tribal tradition, where the other group believed that the successor should be from Muhammad’s family.

Ayatollah and Grand ayatollah are the leadership titles of Islamic leaders in the Shiite sect of Islam. The Grand Imam is the title of the highest authority in the Sunni sect of Islam.

The first main reason was that Muhammed had died. The second main reason is the people could agree on who should lead between Ali and Rashidun. The third reason is The people couldn’t agree and split apart so the people could follow who they wanted to lead.

The five core beliefs of Islam are the belief in the absolute unity of God, belief in angels, belief in prophets, belief in scriptures, and belief in the Final Judgement.

The spread of Islam occurred in two ways. The first being the contacts between the Muslim traders and callers with Non-Muslim peoples. The second being the Muslim conquests that took place to stop the threats of the Roman and Persian colonization’s. They wanted to liberate the Arab countries and remove obstacles that kept people from knowing the new faith.

Current number of Muslims

In 2010 there were an estimated 2.2 billion Muslims in the world. The projections show that there should be 2.8 now. The pew research center reports show that Islam in the fastest growing religion in the world. The main reason in because of where Muslims tend to live. Muslims are concentrated in some of the fastest growing part of the world.


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