A copious amount of religions have features that make them similar and different to other religions. Most religions have similarities and differences in their origins, beliefs, rituals, and the way they worship. These four monotheistic, western religions have many similarities and differences. Zoroastrianism was founded by a prophet named Zoroaster around 3,500 years ago. It was one of the largest and most powerful monotheistic religions. Zoroastrians worship one God called Ahura Mazda. Zoroastrians worship communally in a Fire Temple and pray several times a day. One of the main beliefs of Zoroastrianism is dualism. Dualism is the existence but total separation of good and evil. There are two types of dualism in Zoroastrianism, which are cosmic dualism and moral dualism. Cosmic dualism is the ongoing war between good and evil. Moral dualism is the opposition of good and evil in the mind of people (BBC, Zoroastrianism.).
Zoroastrianism is commonly credited with influencing Christianity, Judaism, and Islam with its views (Guilleman, Duchesne Jacques. Britannica, Zoroastrianism.). The Navjote is the initiation ceremony where a child, between the ages of seven and twelve, receives his or her sudreh and kusti and performs the ‘Kusti Ritual’. The child will also participate in a ritual washing as part of the Navjote. Zoroastrians believe as soon as a person dies the body becomes impure and evil causes death. The earth to them is the pure work of God and the body contaminates the elements. They lay the body on Towers of Silence to be eaten by vultures and other animals. There are two parts of a Zoroastrianism wedding. The first is the signing of a marriage contract. The second part is the celebration that lasts between three to seven days (BBC, Zoroastrianism). Judaism originated in the Middle East. This happened when the covenant was formed between Abraham and God. Judaism has the same origin story as Christianity and Islam. They all believe God created the world and created Adam and Eve. They are monotheistic and believe God all-knowing and eternal. Jews have a belief in the words of the prophets and that God gave Moses the law. They also have the belief that Jesus is not the Messiah. Jews claim the Messiah hasn’t come yet and Jesus was just a prophet. In Judaism, individuals are created in God’s image and play a significant role. Humans have the capability to reason, to will, to speak, to create, and to empathize (Marlowe, Jarred. Judaism, 12.).
One religious practice in Judaism is that they practice a kosher diet. Kosher means ritually clean. This applies to food preparation and consumption. They do this because Jews value cleanliness and care regarding food. For food to be kosher there must be no blood in the meat. Pork and shellfish are prohibited. Jews do not eat dairy and meat in the same meal (Marlowe, 13.). Devout Jews perform daily prayer at dawn, noon, and dusk. They also have a private prayer at bedtime. Some groups of Jews wear a skullcap, also called a yarmulke, during prayer. Most boys are circumcised at eight days old. Many boys also have a coming of age ceremony, known as a bar mitzvah, when they turn thirteen. Some branches of Judaism will also have this ceremony for girls. Another Jewish holy day is the Jewish Sabbath. This is a day of special prayer and rest. Another holiday in Judaism is Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a feast of dedication that lasts eight days. In Judaism, they have an abundant amount of holy days: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Purim, Passover, Yom Hashoah, and Tisha B’ Av (Marlowe, 15.). There are many denominations of Judaism such as Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist. According to the gospels Christianity began in the early first century. One of the main beliefs of Christianity is that Jesus was the son of God. Jesus was the son of the Virgin Mary and was born in Bethlehem. Jesus taught many things: compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance, helpfulness, generosity, and gratitude (Marlowe, Jarred. Christianity, 2). Christians believe Jesus was crucified on a cross by Romans and was resurrected three days later. The apostle Peter expressed Christians should be baptized. Christians see baptisms as a sign of repentance, new life, and readiness for God’s kingdom (Marlowe, 12.). Christians celebrate Easter because it commemorates Jesus’ resurrection. Followers of Christianity also have a religious observance called Lent which is a period of repentance to prepare for Easter. Another holiday Christians celebrate is Christmas which celebrates Jesus’ birth (Marlowe, 13.). Islam originated in Mecca and Medina at the beginning of the 7th century.
The founder of Islam is Muhammad. His revelations are the basis of the Islamic religion. Muhammad’s revelations are recorded in the Qur’an. He received a revelation at the age of forty (Marlowe, Jarred. Islam, 1.). Muhammad had a knowledge of Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism and absorbed elements from them. Muslims are called to pray several times a day. Muslims follow the Five Pillars of Islam: creed, prayer, charity, fasting, and Hajj. Pork and wine are forbidden by the Qur’an. Usury and gambling are also prohibited. Circumcision is considered a religious requirement for males and sometimes females as well (Marlowe, 4.). Marriage is essentially a contract and arranged marriages are common in traditional Muslim society. Females are prepared for traditional female roles and once married become their husband’s legal responsibility. Death rituals for Muslims are minimalistic. A person would be buried in white facing towards Mecca (Marlowe, 5.). Islam has two main denominations, which are Shiite and Sunni. Shiite believe that legitimate succession was hereditary, descending from Muhammad himself. Sunni makes up the majority of Muslims and they believe successors of Muhammad should be chosen (Marlowe, 7.). There are only two official Islamic holidays, which are Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha. Eid ul Fitr celebrates the end of the fasting and thanking Allah for self-control. Eid ul Adha commemorates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God (BBC, Muslim Holy Days.). These four religions have a copious amount of similarities. The main one being that they are all monotheistic. They all have dualistic views that came from Zoroastrianism (Guilleman, Duchesne Jacques. Britannica, Zoroastrianism.). All four religions believe in an afterlife and a type of heaven and hell. All these religions believe a God created the world and he is all-powerful.
Islam and Judaism both do not eat pork, but Jews have a more strict diet (Marlowe, 4.). Zoroastrians and Jews both have a type of coming of age ceremony. Islam is extremely similar to Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, being that it uses elements from them. All of these four religions are very similar because they have taken elements from each other throughout history. These religions can also be considered very different. One major belief that separates Christianity from the others is that Jesus is the messiah and that he was resurrected. Zoroastrians do not believe in Jesus. Jews and Muslims believe he was just a prophet. Muslims and Jews’ holy books come from prophets. The Bible is said to be inspired by the word given from God. Christianity is the only one of these religions that believe in original sin that came from Adam and Eve. All these religions have different views on how a person reaches salvation. Christians believe a person reaches it through faith in Jesus Christ. Jews believe a person reaches it through good deeds and the grace of God. Muslims believe they reach it through good works (Christianity in View). Zoroastrians believe their afterlife is dependent on the deeds they performed during their lifetime (BBC, Zoroastrianism.). In Islam, women have a very traditional role, compared to in Christianity where women’s roles are changing. Judaism and Christianity have more denominations than Islam and Zoroastrianism. Every single one of these religions has an element that distinguishes from the other. If there wasn’t, only one would be practiced.
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