I understand this topic could get heated. I am merely aiming to discuss the merits I see in Christianity and Islam and the reason these things attract me.
I am choosing to discuss this in an Orthodox Christian forum in order to get a balance of pro-Christian input as I have many resources in terms of getting the Islamic side of the story.
Pros of Islam:
-Believers faithfulness to God
Living in the Middle East allowed me to observe a contrast between Christians and Muslims. The Christians I encountered and lived with were basically Christian by inheritance. Their ancestors were Christian, so they must remain Christian regardless of their actual religious beliefs. Many Christians were lukewarm religiously at best and atheists in other instances. Many Muslims I encountered were dead serious about their religion however, and I saw more "christian" actions from them than Christians. I understand I should not base a religious conversion off the actions of others, but the Muslims I saw and knew were inspiring in their dedication to worship God and help their neighbor.
Don't know where you were, but I saw the opposite (though in full disclosure, I haven't been in over a decade). In fact, many Muslims would ask us Christians for favors because we could be trusted, while their fellow Muslims could not. There was a socialogical study of the south-east suburbs of Cairo as an example of urbanization, which on the side commented that such beliefs were common among those being studied (nearly all Muslim), that Christians take care of their own, and in addition we take care of Muslims, whereas Muslims cannot be counted own to lend a hand to their fellow Muslims. The study was done in the '80s IIRC. I know religious tensions increased during the '90s. I could literally feel it.
I've also noticed that Middle Eastern Christians, coming to the decadent west, will pretty much keep to their old habits, whereas Muslims have a tendency to take advantage of their new found freedom to alcohol, women (or men), etc.
-A legitimate claim to scriptural purity, and respect derived thereof
Most Christians believe the Bible and especially Gospels are the Word of God. If that is so, why do we not respect the Bible as much as Muslims the Quran? Our Bibles are ugly and poorly made. Every Quran I came across in the Arab world was a stunning work of art that looked like it should be respected. Additionally, the Quran has remained the same for countless years. I realize there are two sides to this story, but not even a Christian would deny the fact that the amount of change undergone by the Bible because of so much translation could have kept the message close to the original.
The majority of Muslims can't read the Quran in the original, so it has to look good, as they have no other use for it. And it has changed, or rather Arabic has changed, that even Arabic speaking Muslims have difficulty understanding parts. Indeed, even in Islam's heyday there were parts that the most learned Muslims had to guess at the meaning.
And there was never one text, despite the Umayyads burning all copies and insisting only copies be made from their four exemplars (in contrast, the Romans destroyed any Biblical manuscript they could find, and yet the Bible text we have is comparible to the end result of the Umayyads censorship of the Quran). There is a 7, 10 or 14 officially received "qira'ah" of the text, something most Muslims are not even aware about, and their scholars do not like to talk about.
-Prayer, pilgrimage, fasting, and charity are obligatory
The hajj is monumental and inspiring. It offers us as humans a chance to visually and emotionally realize God being the center of our existence along with others performing the same ritual. Living in Jordan I was not expecting people to be that religious since it is a rather 'westernized' country. I was very wrong. Mosques always had people at prayer times. Why are churches empty, and why is there not this kind of fellowship and dedication to worshiping God in Christianity? (At least to me it's not evident. Efforts are so half-hearted and divided into many denominations)
Ask the Shi'ites in Jordan (yes, they do exist) about divisions of many denominations. The Sunni majority in Jordan keeps that under a lid, but go to Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, where they bomb each other's mosques.
Cons of Islam:
-Salvation seems placed on the individual
Aka, a lack of grace. In Islam, you basically are saved by your good deeds being weighed against your bad with your level of repentance factored in. Man seems responsible for earning salvation. Who is God that we should deserve anything from Him, much less salvation? No good act, no matter how great should 'impress' God enough for Him to save me.
-Pharasitic (sorry not a word) approach to religion
Islam is about laws governing every aspect of life as explained by God in the Quran and the example and comments of Muhammed. In laws we can lose focus of the big picture: God. However if you look at it as "God as mandated I do X" it's not as bad.
-Apparent mistakes in the Quran
The Quran at one point mentions that the Christian Trinity consists of Jesus, Mary, and God (the Father). This is a clear human misunderstanding of the doctrine as God would know our beliefs better than us and convey them as such in any subsequent revelation. Another mistake is when Mary, Jesus' Mother, is referred to as the 'Sister of Aaron' (confusing her with Miriam, but the names are the same in Arabic). The prophet attempts to explain this in a Hadith by saying "this is how people of old used to refer to people they honored", but Christians who heard this verse and Hadith didn't recognize that as a legit way of referring to respected people, and there is no other instance of this type of address in the Quran.
These verses keep coming back to my head:
"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves...Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." (Matt.) ---> Islam was spread by war in its beginning.
". . . For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time" ---> There are cases of many Christians, even priests, converting to Islam
hold those last two thoughts.
Despite what Muslims claim, Muslims do convert to Christ. The descendants of Jinnah, Father of Pakistan, cannot go to Pakinstan, as they have received baptism.