The Black Death began in the 1340’s, in which it began to spread from China and moved west. The Black Death contained three different bacterial strains; bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic (Background Essay). While it continued to spread, it ended up reaching to where Christians and Islams were located.
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While this is happening, it’s noticeable that the two religions had more different reactions than similar reactions. Different responses to The Black Death was whether this was a negative or positive. Most of the Christians believed that this was a punishment for their sins, while islams believed that it was a blessing. Another difference was who was to blame. The Christians would blame the Jews for their sins and thought they were behind this as well. On the contrary, Islamic people didn’t have anyone to blame, and were in peace with the Jews. While the two have differences, they also share a similarity, that this was an act of God.
The idea of one being a punishment and one being a blessing are extremely distinct. Christians described The Black Death in a very torturing and frightening tone, describing it as “the end of the world” (Doc 1). They also described it as a “reward” for their sins, meaning they viewed The Black Death as something they deserved for sinning or that there’s been an excess amount of sinning going on throughout time (Doc 4). However, the Islams took in the Black Death as a gift from God. They went through The Black Death and accepted it, taking it in as a blessing (Doc 4). Islamic people found disgust in those who prayed in hopes of The Black Death to end, as they must accept this. These two ideas are prominently different, their ideas happen to be on the exact opposite side of the spectrum. With this belief in mind, it also allows their future actions to more different, rather than similar.
As time passes, you’ll note that the Christians have not taken The Black Death in very well. They go through frustration and lose hope of their religion. They began to turn against their religion and rulers. They would commit more vices. (Doc 6). While, as we got through the different Documents, we see that the Islamic people don’t have this reaction since they see it as a gift given to them by God. Christianity becomes more dysfunctional, leading to evil in their communities. In contrast, Islams continue to have hope in their religion and continue to follow the rules.
Despite their different reactions to The Black Death, they happened to share a similarity. That is the idea that God has sent them this act of death. The Christians believe that it’s their Almighty inflicting The Black death (Doc 4). And so do Islams, saying The Black Death was given to them by God as a gift (Doc 4). While the reason behind their belief is different, the origin of who is causing this remains the same.
Another difference the two seemed to have had was the conflict of who was to blame. The Christians were blaming the Jews, for bringing in their sins and for cursing the wells (Doc 7). The purpose of Document 7 is to “inform” the jews or to put someone to blame since have no actual scientific reason on why this happened. They also state that the Jews have provided this Black Death with their crimes. (Doc 8). Despite the Christians blaming The Black Death on the Jews, the Islam people did not. Instead, they had fasted and continued to pray with the Jews (Doc 9). Islamic people found no correlation in The Black Death and other religions so they had not blamed any of the coexisting religions, but instead tolerated them (Doc 10).
In conclusion, when The Black Death was occuring, the two different religions had more diverse beliefs and responses to it than similarities.
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