Is Christian theology more modern than Islamic theology?
Both Islam and Christianity have developed their own theology within one monotheistic tradition which engages them in dialogue. However, Islam is the last of the Abrahamic traditions (Valkenberg, 2006, p. 184), so from the historical perspective of its origins it can be considered as more modern than Christianity. Simultaneously, both Islam and Christian theology have been engaged in Abrahamic partnership, which makes neither of them more or less modern from this competitive perspective.
Both Islamic and Christian humanism have laid a foundation for interreligious dialogue with a view to converting to monotheism. Today, Islam and Christianity have to coexist in terms of religious pluralism. Similar to Christianity, Islam recognizes such dichotomies as salvation and damnation or obedience and disobedience. Like Christianity, Islam emphasizes the importance of the Day of Judgment. But unlike Christianity, Islam has no doctrine of original sin (Khalil, 2012, p. 3).
Jesus and Muhammad are reformers who wanted to convert their contemporaries to their beliefs. They both announced good news. The Christian message focuses on anticipation, whereas Islam has no apocalyptic teachings (Peters, 2011, p. 123). Muhammad is a man, whereas Jesus’ origin is divine. Both Islamic and Christian theologies are grounded in universal human values; they are in search of human responsibility with regard to the divine; they give their converts faith and codes of moral behavior. Their key figures of worship suffered for their beliefs and sacrificed themselves for the people whom they had been preaching.
Neither Christian nor Islamic theology is modern because they are inclusive in what they preach about universal human values, human responsibility, and organization as communities whose members support one another through faith and the word of God.
Khalil, M.H. (2012). Fate of Others. The Salvation Question. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Peters, F.E. (2011). Jesus and Muhammad. Parallel Tracks, Parallel Lives. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Valkenberg, P. (2006). Sharing Lights on the Way to God: Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology in the Context of Abrahamic Partnership. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
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