Friday, March 19, 2010

Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem; Jesus’ birthplace

Photo: The Silver Star marks the place where Jesus Christ was born according to Christian tradition. The site is located in Bethlehem, precisely in the cave under the Church of the Nativity.

The Church of the Nativity is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. The structure is built over the cave that tradition marks as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, and it is considered sacred by followers of both Christianity and Islam.

Wikipedia states about Jesus in Islam, "In Islam, Jesus is considered a Messenger of God who had been sent to guide the People of Israel with a new scripture. The Quran, believed by Muslims to be God's final revelation, mentions Jesus 25 times. It states that Jesus was born to Mary (Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God (Allah). To aid him in his quest, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, all by the permission of God. According to Islamic texts, Jesus was neither killed nor crucified, but rather he was raised alive up to heaven. Islamic traditions (but not Quran) narrate that he will return to Earth near the Day of Judgment to restore justice and defeat "the false messiah", also known as the Antichrist. Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered to have been a Muslim, as he preached for people to adopt the straight path in submission to God's will. Islam rejects that Jesus was God incarnate or the son of God, stating that he was a mortal man who, like other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God's message. Islamic texts forbid the association of partners with God, emphasizing the notion of God's divine oneness. Numerous titles are given to Jesus in the Quran, such as al-Massif (the messiah; the anointed one), although it does not correspond with the meaning accrued in Christian belief. Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter's coming".

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