If it is believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross and was born from the Virgin Mary, does that make someone Christian or Catholic or both? There are many similarities in addition to solid differences amongst the two. Everything from beliefs to salvation and even worship styles are a few main focuses that cause confusion to many, but what distinguishes the two? Some of the entities that make differences and similarities among the two religious groups is the existence of beliefs and values that are intimate to the members. This is manifested in the manner which the believers carry out both their worship and their private lives.
Christians and Catholics believe in Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the cross, and in God the father and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is an unseen force associated with the son (Jesus), the father (God), and the spirit (Holy Spirit). It is believed that it is felt through prayers and can communicate through speaking or giving a message in many ways. Although they both believe this ideological dogma, they do have an opposite view on how confessions are to be carried about. For instance, Christians believe that they are to confess to God directly through prayer in private while developing a spiritual connection with the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, Catholics confess their sins to a priest which typically is done in a confession room at their church. Christians also believe that Jesus created a system of beliefs that have established the church.
Moreover, Catholics believe that Jesus named Paul as an apostle to be in lead of the church. All Christians believe in the Ten Commandments and regulations made by church leadership which is known as canon law. On the other hand, Catholics believe in what is known to be papal law. However, Catholics believe that God speaks through the pope, which was the start of the first Pope Peter. Christians have their own understanding and interpretations of the Bible. They also have the choice of free will to agree or disregard particular Biblical lessons.
The similarities between the two entities is manifested in various ideological constructs. Both Christians and Catholics believe to transport the kingdom of heaven to earth while in life. Both believe that there is Everlasting life in Heaven after death only if one has asked for forgiveness while repenting sins and being saved which is better recognized as Eternal Salvation.
Salvation amongst both Christianity and Catholicism is attained close in similarity because they both believe to receive salvation by God’s grace as a gift of his love. They believe that salvation means that one’s name is written in the book of life which is in heaven. In contrast, even though they both stress this doctrine through the teachings of Salvation, it is done at different times in Christian and in Catholic lives. Both religions believe that water “Baptism is the key to salvation”, and all Christians along with Catholics believe that when baptized all sin is washed away (The Difference between Catholic and Christian. (n.d.). They both practice this ritual by immersion of the head in water, to symbolize a new born creation.
Catholics are baptized after birth at a young age because they believe that once a person has been baptized they are saved. In comparison, many Christians can be baptized at any time after attaining a belief and faith in Christ. Most Christians believe that after 12 years of age is a high enough level of maturity to be sure enough of what true sin is. Water baptism is highly encouraged after that age, but younger ages aren’t discouraged either.
Although the styles of worship are unique, both religions do it with honor. Together both religions celebrate in worship with two different forms of art. In comparison to Christians, Catholics believe in worshiping statues, paintings, murals and mosaics. Nonetheless, the scripture Leviticus 19:4 is the underlying foundation of Christianity, it states “Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:4 New International Version). Christians live by this biblical verse and its application to the development of their faith. Christian churches will seldom have any form of visual articles displaying Jesus or any biblical persons. According to (“Statues in Church” (n.d.) Praise and worship is done through the art of music, songs, choirs, individuals singing, and instruments. Moreover, most Christian churches have expensive surround sound equipment and instruments to worship which is another form to show love and connect with God. On the other hand, Catholics will express their love for God through the use of visual art by praying to the statues. Although Catholics have statues they view it as a tradition and generational heritage for the people that were illiterate, while Christians firmly believe that God is a jealous God and will become upset if his followers worship a nonliving object or “idolizing” another person, saint or God. Although there are far more areas in Christianity and Catholicism to approach these are a few areas that can help the start of seeing the differences in the two very large and popular religions.
To sum up, it is important to consider all the differences of both religions before assuming that they are the same. Although both are close in some areas with similarities, recognition of beliefs, salvation, and forms of worship can aid to distinguish why they are different for those that view them with uncertainty. The worship by both Christians and Catholics is heavily embedded in their believe systems which is a critical basis for the operational orientation of the members of these religious groups.
- The Holy Bible. New International Version (Leviticus 19:4).
- Statues in Church. The International Bible Society.
- The Difference between Catholic and Christian. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2015.