Aug 222011
 

This is a brief comparison of the lives of Jesus and Mohammad seen through the eyes of an atheist who believes gods and angels don’t exist.

In summary, Mohammad was a much more interesting and influential person than Jesus during their respective lifetimes. Jesus was a relatively obscure apocalyptic Jewish preacher who was killed in a nasty way for silly reasons. Mohammad was a leader who transformed politics and society in Arabia, overall (but not entirely) for the better in 7th Century terms. Neither of them addressed the 21st Century.

I’m expressing my opinion, not attempting to teach people things that are widely available on the web. Look elsewhere for the basic information about Jesus, Christianity, Mohammad, Islam, etc. (I’m assuming in this article that both Jesus and Mohammad actually existed).

Jesus & Christianity

About 5 of my pages here: Christianity – summary and index

Christianity wasn’t a religion preached and taught by Jesus. It is a religion about Jesus, and especially about his death and afterward, and probably incompatible with his teaching. Its influence wasn’t established by Jesus during his lifetime, but by people who never met him and typically didn’t live in the same region. (No writer of the Bible met Jesus during his lifetime).

Apart from the online game, searching for “Jesus versus Mohammad” tends to find Christian commentary. Mohammad plays no formal part in Christianity, so there is a clear conflict that many Christians believe must be resolved.

Comparisons use circular arguments. They assume that Christianity is true, so they consider Jesus to be a son of God who was born of a virgin and performed miracles. Obviously Mohammad can’t match that! But those assumptions are not true, so mostly Jesus fails the comparison. However, he didn’t marry or fight, so he cannot be accused of any wrong-doing there.

He certainly said things that don’t stand up to scrutiny in the 21st Century:

Many say the Sermon on the Mount was his greatest work. Perhaps it was in his day, but it isn’t a model for life in the 21st Century.

Matthew 10:34 etc: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

Matthew 13:49-50: “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Revelation 2:23: “And I will kill her children with death”

Mohammad & Islam

About 11 of my pages here: Islam – summary and index

Searching for “Jesus versus Mohammad” tends not to find Islamic commentary. Jesus is a major prophet of Islam, second to Mohammad, (but not the son of God), so there is little conflict.

Islam is a religion originated and established by Mohammad, although much of the “refinement” (including Sharia Law) came later.

Mohammad was a warrior-chief, even a war-lord. He certainly led battles in which lots of people, including lots of Jews, died. Messages about these battles are an objectionable part of his legacy.

Out of about 12 marriages, his marriage to Aisha has generated controversy. She may have been 9 when he consummated the marriage, although some say she was about 15. He is therefore called a paedophile. But he doesn’t fit the 21st Century profile of a paedophile. Mohammad’s first marriage was to a woman significantly older than him and appears to have been a happy long marriage. His marriage to Aisha was not surreptitious, but quite open and probably arranged through others. It appears to have been acceptable in the 7th Century in Arabia. Aisha was one of Mohammad’s biggest fans, even after he died. He had about 10 other wives, probably at least partly for political reasons, who were older than Aisha.

If it were not for the dreadful anchor of the Koran and the Hadith, Mohammad might have been accredited with initiating a progressive religion. (At least in comparison with others!)

Conclusion

Being an atheist, I dismiss the supernatural elements of their lives (and deaths); they didn’t happen. Jesus suffers most from this dismissal; there isn’t much else to his life, other than what has been hyped-up by people coming later who never met him. Mohammad suffers mainly because of the delusion that the Koran was the word of Allah, but in fact must be largely blamed on him.

Jesus was mostly a nonentity during his lifetime. If it were not for the promotional efforts, after he died, of people he never met, and the political manoeuvring of Emperor Constantine, Christianity might now be a cult and Jesus might be hardly known.

Mohammad was a major figure in 7th Century Arabia while he was alive, for good and sometimes bad.

They are fascinating as historical figures, with Mohammad as the most interesting. The legacy of both of them should have expired during the Age of Enlightenment, at the latest. Christianity and Islam are OK as hobbies, but tend to be harmful as ideologies and moral guidelines and laws.

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