The differences between Christianity and Islam were recently discussed in an op-ed piece by self-described non-believer Tim Lott of the Guardian.
Lott confessed that he often sang along with Christmas carols and wished people a Merry Christmas without thinking about the beliefs behind his actions -- or in Lott's case, the lack thereof.
Perhaps most surprising is the fact that Lott doesn't seem to mind that quirk in his own personal belief system, which he calls "religion-lite."
In fact, it is this aspect of Christianity that he finds most appealing over other faiths.
"This is the nature of Christianity, and of Christmas in general," Lott writes. "It is a pantomime that we join in together and play out what it would feel like if we really did believe. Much the same happens in a large part of our cultural life, whether at weddings and funerals or at church schools of the kind my daughter attends."
Lott lives in the U.K., so while his feelings about what Christianity is may differ from American thought, he strikes a familiar chord with non-believers like Bill Maher, who believe that Islam is a far more damaging faith to the state of the world in the 21st Century.
"Not all faiths have the same laissez faire attitude to their canon of beliefs. I suspect most Muslims, Sikhs, Orthodox Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses are more serious about their beliefs than most people who pop into the church for midnight mass," Lott explains. "They probably mean it when they talk about believing in their god or gods. With only 5% of this Christian nation attending Sunday service regularly, the British majority, on the whole, do not."
Test your religion savvy! Here's my quiz on Islam & Christianity--a perfect score gets you into heaven https://t.co/TE0ej1YXy4
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) December 13, 2015
He then shares a story about how a clergyman he greatly respects as being an intelligent and "liberal" individual shocked him because he actually believed Christ was mankind's Savior and was born of a virgin.
It "shocked" Lott because he assumed the clergyman had a more "realistic" view of eternity.
"But I never knew, because he had no interest in pushing his beliefs down my throat," Lott commended. "He was just happy if you turned up. In that, he was a very typical Christian."
Religion-lite, Lott continues, "is what we do in this country and it is all the more valuable for that. So Merry Christmas, one and all, even though we don't believe in it. Because on one level we try to live it, even as we live to doubt it."
Pundits like Bill Maher go further in drawing distinctions between Christianity and Islam, with Maher recently offering as close to a defense of Christians as you'll hear him give when contrasting it with the world's fastest growing religion.
"I think liberals should stop bullying me for pointing out that Islam is not like other religions. It is a unique threat," Maher said in comments to Charlie Rose.
Referencing a statement by Howard Dean that he was "about as Islamic as" the people in ISIS, Maher argued that "it's just not true."
"There are illiberal beliefs that are held by vast numbers of Muslim people. Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you leave the Christian religion you should be killed for it. Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second-class citizens. Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ, you should get killed for it."
Here is the full discussion from Maher and Rose.What do you think about how Lott and Maher draw distinctions between Christianity and Islam, readers? Is one faith more harmonious than another to modern civilization? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via ShutterStock]