Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Islam and Christianity and Buddhism

I was just looking at books on Islam and Christianity for the entry below this and I had difficulty finding books to support my claim that there is very little difference between Christianity and Islam. In fact there are a lot of books that say the opposite. So I am writing this to make my position clear. There is always a difference for fundamentalists because, for some reason, fundamentalists need to believe that they are right and everyone else is wrong. So let's put them aside. Otherwise, Islam and Christianity are diverse religions with a very high amount of overlap. Strangely, a lot of people seem to think that Judaism is closer to Christianity than Islam. I believe that most scholars would say this is false. Most importantly, both Christians and Muslims accept the teachings of Jesus. There are differences in interpretation but these differences are no bigger than the differences that exist within Christianity and within Islam. In my opinion,  people confuse the differences between Islam and Christianity with the differences between Arabic and Western culture.

So, in my opinion, most of what I say in this blog applies equally to being a Buddhist Muslim. There does not seem to be much on this on the web but here is something interesting I found through a quick google search, and also some books

Islam tolerates all “people of the Book,” which is defined as people who accept a creator God. Islamic law, specifically during the Arab rule of Sindh from the eighth to the tenth centuries CE, however, extended the concept of “people of the Book” to the Buddhists there and granted them the same status and rights as the Christians and Jews under Arab rule had.


Common Ground Between Islam and Buddhism: Spiritual and Ethical AffinitiesBuddhism and Islam on the Silk Road (Encounters with Asia)


  1. Interesting post, Rob. I am going to read the sources. There are lots of similarities between Islam and Christianity (and Buddhism!). One major differences is the tasks and duties Muslims supposed to do. However, most Muslims (more than 90%) don't care about them and so are more close to Christians. So Christians have easier life at least nowadays and less conflicts and hatred (e.g., toward non-devoted ones)I think, and more Buddhist-like.

  2. I have heard similar comments from other Muslim friends. I find it really interesting. I heard a scholar on CBC (radio) who thought that Islam is now where Catholicism used to be just before the reformation. I think this is inevitable as people start to read the Koran for themselves and become aware that there a big differences between the ways that different authorities interpret it and define Islam. In the past when people lived in villages without the internet they had to rely on a local authority (e.g., Mullah, Imam) but now they can get lots of opinions off the internet. I don't think that people who fail to do the practices are necessarily less devoted. Probably a lot of people do the practices for show and not for the right reasons. On the mystical side, devotion is an inner state not an outer state, the practices are there to create the conditions where the inner states can occur.

  3. I just found your Blog and really like it. thanks for sharing your insight. I have always thought that Judaism and Islam had much in common and that the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha were closely aligned. I think the use of violence in Judaism and Islam and the non violence of Jesus and Buddhism, cause me to pair them that way. I know Christianity has had more than its share of violence, but Jesus and his early followers were non violent