Human beings have been curious for long about the purpose and meaning of life. Religions have tried to bring this curiosity to an end by providing them with an answer about a higher and powerful source, identifying this greater domination as God. Some religions believe in the existence of one God. These faiths are known as a monotheistic religion. Examples of such religions are Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (Armstrong). Each religion possess a different perspective on beliefs and teachings; they have one thread in common which is believing in one God. In this research paper, I will discuss the historical perspective of each religion, their similarities and their differences.
The history of Judaism started way back in 1200 B.C. The initial nomads who lived in Canaan near Egypt were nomads. The Jewish patriarchs (leaders) as well as prophets (inspired teachers) were committed to the almighty God (Armstrong). They emphasized on complete obedience and commitment to Yahweh by strictly adhering to moral law or code of conduct. The Jewish holy text is known as Tenakh, what the Christians call Old Testament. Within the holy text of Tanakh lies five books of Torah, which starts with creation story of the universe by God’s word (Peters). The Torah mainly talk about early Hebrews and Yahweh communicating with Moses. According to the holy text, this communication created laws on both worship as well as daily life.
The Torah is essential in the Jewish worship. In the synagogue during worship, the rabbi removes the Torah while rolled to a scroll from ark in form of cupboard. He then carries the scroll while covered with silver crown and with a lectern (Peters). The Rabbi then opens the scroll and read to the congregation.
Christianity began as an offshoot of Judaism around first century C. E. Early Christian communities were usually prosecuted until in 324 C.E. when the Roman Emperor, Constantine was converted to a Christian (Armstrong). Then Roman Empire then turned to the Holy Roman Empire. The capital city of the Holy Roman Empire moved to Constantinople from Rome. Development of Christian groups was due to small and large splits. For instance, the Orthodox Church together its leaders (patriarch) split and parted way with Roman Catholic Church in 1054 C.E. due to doctrinal and political differences. Around 16th century, Martin Luther was upset by the Catholic papacy corruption (Peters). He led a reformation movement which resulted in the establishment of Protestantism.
Christians believe in and view Jesus Christ as both the Messiah as well as Son of God. According to them, Jesus Christ is the savior of the universe. Christianity initially began as a sect of Judaism. They embraced numerous Judaic practices and views. After Jesus died, Christians were able to differentiate themselves from Jewish. The rapid growth of Christianity as a religion in the early years was because of a Greek-speaking Jew and a Roman known as Saul of Tarsus and who later became St. Paul (Peters). He preached immensely and started more churches in Turkey, the Middle East as well as Greece. Today, Christianity has really grown and is an influential religious force in the universe especially in the west.
The holy book in Christianity is called the Bible. It is divided into Old Testament and New Testament. It has 66 books of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. The New Testament has 26 books as well as letters which interprets parts of Tenakh from the Christians’ viewpoint (Peters). Currently, Christianity is the largest religion in the world. It is more evenly spread around the universe.
Islam started around early seventh century C.E. It started in settled desert community of Mecca, which is the current Saudi Arabia. Islam developed from both cultural values of nomadic Bedouin Arabian tribes and Judeo-Christian tradition (Gilman). Islam expanded and spread to regions which were controlled by Byzantine Empire (comprising of Orthodox and Greek-speaking Christians with diverse population) as well as Sassanian Empire (Persian-speaking and Zoroastrian but also diverse). Around mid-eighth century, Islam had widely spread into Europe, North America, East, and Central Asia. Islam religion continued to grow and spread in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
The origin and growth of Islam religion can be attributed to Prophet Mohammed. The prophet’s teachings directly expressed and represented the will of Allah. (Peters). They also believe that their God, Allah spoke through traditional prophets such as Moses and Jesus before He enlightened Mohammed. Islam is currently the second largest religion in the entire universe.
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are monotheistic religions, and they worship one God who is the God of Abraham, Moses, and Adam and the lord, sustainer, as well as creator of the universe. The three faiths share a common belief of oneness of God, angels, sacred history (history as theater of activities of God as well as experience of humankind and God), divine revelation prophets and Satan (Peters). The three faiths also stress accountability, moral responsibility, eternal reward, Judgment Day and punishment.
All the three faiths stress their unique covenant with God; Christianity’s covenant through Jesus Christ, Judaism’s covenant through Moses and Islam’s covenant through Muhammad. Peace is essential to all the three religions. This can be historically reflected in the way they use similar greetings with the similar meaning peace be upon you. These greetings are pax vobiscum for Christianity, Shalom Aleichem for Judaism and salaam alaikum for Islam (Gilman). The origins of the three religions are southwest Asia. Christianity and Judaism originated from Israel and Islam from the Middle East. They share most of their history and most prophets. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are united by core values such as modesty, honesty, and devotion to God.
Leaders of the three religions including King David, Joshua, Richard the Lion-Hearted, Constantine, Saladin, and Muhammad have all engaged in a holy war to defend or spread their empires or communities (Armstrong). The joining of politics and faith still exist in modern time though they manifest in different ways as seen in South Africa, the Middle East, Israel, America, and Northern Ireland.
‹One of the main difference existing between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is their view or perception of Jesus Christ. According to Christianity, Jesus Christ is the son of God as well as the Messiah. Islam religion consider Jesus Christ as a prophet, and they don’t believe in His resurrection (Aman). Judaism does not believe or recognize Jesus Christ as the son of God as well as the Messiah.
‹Christianity puts its emphasis on theology. Historically, in Christianity, cleavages, and disputes in the community originated from theological beliefs, i.e., relationships of Jesus Christ, humankind and divine natures or nature of the Trinity (Peters). Judaism and Islam, on the other hand, put their emphasis on practice instead of belief and law instead of dogma. The main religious discipline in Islam and Judaism has been religious law (Aman). The major debates and disagreements in Islam and Judaism were among scholars of religious laws over religious practice matters.
‹Christianity believes in the Holy Bible, both the Old Testament and New Testament. They do not believe or recognize the Holy Quran. Judaism believes in the Hebrew/Tenakh Bible. Torah is the Old Testament. They don’t believe in The Holy Quran or the New Testament. Islam believes that the Gospel and Torah are Holy Scriptures whose messages of the Old and New Testament have already been corrupted by humankind. Islam believes in Holy Quran (Aman).
‹Christianity and Judaism believe that Jesus Christ was crucified. Islam believes that Jesus was never crucified and he did not die. According to Islam religion, Jesus ascended bodily to Heaven. Christianity believes in resurrection of Jesus Christ. Judaism does not believe in resurrection of Jesus Christ as they did not believe in him as the Son of God (Gilman). Islam doesn’t believe in resurrection of Jesus Christ because according to them, he never died. Christianity believes that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. Judaism and Islam believe that the Messiah will come in the future and it is not Jesus Christ.
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are among the most influential and popular religions in the history of the world. We have seen that Judaism large like Islam and Christianity. However, its effects on the world have been felt. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all considered Abrahamic religions. This is because they all worship and believe in the God of Abraham. They call their God different names due to language differences. They share numerous similar qualities. The three religions believe that God created the universe. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are fiercely monotheistic. Despite numerous similarities, they have differences, and that is the reason they are not the same. These differences can be seen in their history, worship, and study.
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