Unless you’ve been living in a cave or on a desert island you know that religion is a prime political topic these days. You are unlikely to meet anyone who doesn’t have an opinion about the differences between Christianity and Islam. This, however, is one of those cases where the vast majority are blithely ignorant of the facts.
Now, in defense of the common man I have to say that this isn’t surprising because religion is not logical. Unlike, say, math, religious knowledge is purely rote. There is little consistency in the sundry narratives on which the Christian and Islamic scriptures are built. They are anthologies compiled of often-inconsistent screeds written over time by different authors. This is not good for an interesting read. What makes the topic of religion even more misunderstood is that faith in one religion discourages interest in others.
I felt enlightened to read an insightful column on the subject by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. Titled How Well Do You Know Religion, the article begins with an interesting quiz that compares Islamic scripture with Christian. I got 9 out of 13 right, somehow, guessing included. How did you do?
When you finish the article, dear reader, ask yourself these questions: Were the Crusaders reading the same bible as the one we know? Are ISIS reading the same Qur’an as the other 1 billion Muslims in the world? Also, are demagogues as effective now as in the old days, or is the public better educated and informed nowadays?