Abrahamic Religions

Compare and contrast Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

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Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have many similarities and many differences. They are all Abrahamic religions and worship the same God. Each religion requires its followers to adhere to a certain moral code and show devotion to God through prayer. One area of difference is in their view of Jesus Christ. Christians believe Jesus to be the messiah and son of God. Muslims consider him to be a prophet, though they do not believe in his resurrection. In Judaism, Jesus is not believed to be the messiah or the son of God.


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Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are considered Abrahamic religions. This means that they all worship the god of Abraham. Because of language differences, they call God by different names, but they are one and the same. They believe that God is the creator of the universe. The three faiths are all fiercely monotheistic. All three religions also originated from southwest Asia. Judaism and Christianity originated from present-day Israel. Adherents of the three faiths believe that there are prophets that God has sent to teach the people. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share many of the same...

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preissert | Student

Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are the world's largest monotheistic religions, and there exist rules and constraints on "believers" by which they are judged by their communities. There are differences within each of these traditions, as well as between them. For example, there are distinct divisions between Protestant and Roman Catholic elements of Christianity, as well as differences between branches of Protestantism, like Southern Baptists and Presbyterians. There are Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox wings of Judaism, as well as deeply (voluntarily) segregated sects like the Hassidim. There are Shi'ah and Sunni streams of Islam, not to mention subsects like the Ismailis or Bohras. These religions share enough commonalities that, to outsiders, they seem unitary, yet each of these can be seen as a community in itself.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, there is a "canon" or church law, upon which decisions on doctrine are based. There is a structured hierarchy of priests, who dispense the sacraments and who defer to the bishops, including the Pope. Protestantism is far less structured, with minor exceptions, like in the Church of England where the Archbishop of Canterbury is the nominal head of the church. The notion of "infallibility" does not apply to the Archbishop, who is more often an intellectual leader than a divinely guided one, as the Pope is. Protestants, in general, believe that God, in the context of the Holy Spirit, is at arm's length and that no clergy need intervene in that relationship. The network of (e.g.) Southern Baptist congregations across the United States is a confederation, with no particular location or structure that is equivalent to the Roman Catholic Vatican or the clergy. That makes Protestants more like Jews and Muslims.

Neither Jews nor Muslims have a hierarchy, operating their temples and mosques as independent organizations. There is the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, and there is the Head Imam of Egypt's al-Ahzar mosque, but neither's role in "church affairs" should be confused with that of the Pope. Yet, these two religious traditions have much in common with Christianity, sharing a deep affiliation with the "law." In fact, the Canon, mentioned earlier, is derived from the Arabic word "Kanun" which has the same meaning.

At the very heart of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism is what must be called the revered word of God, and His instructions to us on how to live. The Old Testament, New Testament, and the Qur'an are those revered words. Jewish doctrine dictates that God gave His commandments to Moses, a prophet, and to other prophets from Abraham on down. Christian doctrine dictates that Jesus, as a divine being, modified the old law and created the basis for a New Testament. The old prophets still applied, but there would be no new prophets until Jesus came again. In Islam, the Qur'an, written by Allah in heaven on a golden tablet, was delivered by the angel Gabriel to Muhammad, chapter-by-chapter, directly to his mind. It was the later recitation of that divine knowledge that became the Qur'an.

Wars have been fought, both militarily and politically, between these three monotheistic traditions. Christians blamed Jews for Jesus' death for centuries, not understanding that Jesus and his disciples were all Jews, and that Christianity, in its earliest days, was a message for Jews and by Jews. Christians, resenting that Jerusalem was in non-Christian hands, fought several crusades to overthrow Muslim rule. Muslims, when the Prophet Muhammad was alive, accepted both Jews and Christians as Muslim, but within 50 years of his death, Islam was defined as separate and distinct from the other two. Contemporary Israel, a land Jews claim by history, is seen as an Arab price paid for German inhumanity. Israeli state policy does not grant full citizenship to Palestinian Arabs.

We should avoid reductionism in any attempt to minimize the differences between these three large systems of belief.

iamkaori | Student

Christianity:

  • Jesus the son of God, prophet
  • monotheistic
  • belief in a Virgin Mary
  • universal
  • spiritual
  • holy book (bible)
  • idea of hell and heaven (paradise)
  • fast
  • rituals

Judaism:

  • Moses the prophet
  • God of Children of Israel
  • monotheistic¬†
  • have forbidden food
  • several prayers a day
  • rituals
  • holy book (Old Testament)
  • hell and heaven (paradise)
  • fast
  • rituals

Islam:

  • Mohammad the prophet
  • universal
  • spiritual
  • forbidden foods
  • several prayers a day
  • rituals
  • holy book (Qur'an)
  • hell and paradise
  • fast
  • rituals
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