Abrahamic Religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam
The relationship between Abrahamic religion and their similarities and differences
The Abrahamic religion followers are quite many in the world and make fifty percent of the world’s population. Though the three religions appear to be quite different, they actually relate in many aspects. Beginning with the earliest religion through creation Judaism was the first followed by Christianity and finally Islam. The three Abrahamic faiths have affected multiple aspects of our day to day lives and when analyzed they portray multiple similarities and differences.
Judaism religion followers are the Jewish people and they study the Hebrew Tanakh as the holy book. The Jewish community belief Moses and Abraham are their main prophets. The two prophets are both descendants of King David. The Jewish are quite many in the world totaling to approximately 14 million. Judaism religion is commonly noted in Israel, Europe and United States.
Christianity followers study the Jewish Bible as their holy book. The followers of the religion who are the Christians argue that people should live according to the teachings in the bible. The bible consists of both the old and the new testaments which provides teaching on Jesus Christ. Christians recognizes similar prophets as the prophets in Judaism, however their main prophet is Jesus who is not only a great prophet according to the Christian teachings but also God’s incarnate. The world is full of Christian as they total to two billion with most of them being in Europe, North and South America.
Islam is the third Abrahamic religion with it followers being referred to as Muslims. They study and belief in the hold book of Qur’an which is the word of God. With the help of the Qur’an, Muslims belief in Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad is the main prophet in Islam and his authority and power is emphasized by the teachings of the holy book. Even though Muhammad is the main prophet they also belief in other prophets such as Jesus. Muslims are widely spread in the world, they are estimated to total to 1.3 billion throughout the world. The religion is mainly practiced in Middle East and Southeast Asia.
The three religion are quite similar in several ways. To begin with they do have a common belief about God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all can be said to be monotheistic regions. They belief that God is one and has power over all. Jews and Muslims stress on the oneness and unity of one supreme God. Though Christians may be said to have the notion of God as being three; the father, the son and the Holy Spirit, these all act as ways of proofing the divine nature of God. Otherwise even Christians stress on the fact that God is one and is a divine being. Further, the three religions belief God is the source of all that exist. Further the belief in God is stretched to show that he provides guidance of how to be good and righteous. In all, god is also believed to be just, merciful and full of grace.
The three religion are also similar in the belief of Abraham as a common descendant. The theories relating to understanding human beings is quite similar in all the three religions. Jews, Christians and Muslims argue that humans are descendants of Abraham and they are the highest creatures on earth. God is the sole creator of man and he did so with so much mystery to the extent that humans are full of mystery from their potential, growth and even as species. The three religions teach that God gave man the power to choose what is good and what is evil. By abusing our freedom and doing what is wrong which can cause harm to ourselves, to others and even to the environment, it means that we are going against the will of God and punishment waits. All the religion go further to state that each and every person has the ability to do only what is good but god offers an opportunity to repent our evil ways and seek his devotion and glorification (MacArthur 12).
The future beliefs and teachings are also common among the Abrahamic religion. It is taught that even though the past and present may be difficult the future is great. The three religions are quite hopeful and agree on the basis that evil cannot prevail. Good actions will mean that a great reward will be expected in the end by otherwise will call for condemnation. Though there are different terms according to the religion about the great future, they all agree on the term paradise. The future belongs to the God and he has the power to ensure it remain unchallenged and unconditional for all those who belief in him.
Divine human encounter is the other aspect that the three Abrahamic religions agree on. They all teach that God and human communicated in multiple occasions. The details of the communications are expected to act as sources of guidance to believers today and for these reasons they are included in the scriptures. Christians and Islam place more emphasizes on the holy book which are the Hebrew bible and the Qur’an, but the Jews to have their scriptures included in the Torah. The task that is left for the people today is to listen to the teaching of God’s holy writing and then communicate to god through the help of the prayer, praise and appropriate life style. All the three religions value prayer as a quick way to have an encounter with God.
The three monotheistic religions have shared multiple beliefs and teachings beginning with the divinely of scriptures, superiority of God, prayer and charity. They have also emphasized on good behavior which avoids harming oneself as well as others and finalizes by having promises of a future reward. However, these religions have portrayed multiple differences and these has led researchers and several people to belief that the similarities have been brought about by the fact that the three religions have been existing during the same times, that is beginning with 750 and the rapid growth of 1250. Clear evidence of the differences is proven by the multiple hostility and critics between the beliefs of the three religions. For instance, Christians and Muslims attack the Jews saying that they ignore the evidence that exist relating to truths in kingdom of God. On the other hand, both Judaism and Islam believers accuse Christians of idol worship because of arguing that god begat a son and it is actually god who walked on earth. Islam is also criticized by Christians and Judaism by saying that God did not have any special revelation with Muhammad. The multiple disagreements and the differences in what the three religions call truth have continued to exist for a long period of time. It is also as a result of these differences that we seen groups of these religions engage in violence or armed forces. In several occasion have we seen Christians, Muslims and Jews persecuted for their faith and beliefs (Ma’ani, Baharieh Rouhani 150).
As the rise and spread of these religions continued the need to gain power also came along, these brought struggle to develop governments and reinforce their beliefs. The armed forces also attention to the beliefs of either groups and made it clear that tax monies, offices and even public acceptance was based on religious groupings. With the attainment of power the need to protect and mark territory resulted to having specific symbols and rituals and artectural works to represent each religion. Until recently, regions predominated by a specific religion be it Christian, Islam or Judaism meant that the religious leader was the head of state. A leader who headed a well established religion meant that preferred treatment would be given to mark the region as a state belonging to that specific religion. Therefore, the thee Abrahamic religions are quite similar in beliefs and teaching of the scriptures, but multiple differences have arose due to struggle for power, expansion and the fact that they have been in existence during the same time of history.
David Kay, The Semitic Religions—Hebrew, Jewish, Christian & Moslem, Reqd books, 2008
Mayton, Daniel Nonviolent Perspectives Within the Abrahamic Religions. Peace Psychology Book Series. Springer US (2009)
Ma’ani, Baharieh Rouhani. Leaves of the Twin Divine Trees. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. (2008)
The Hymn of Security MacArthur, John . The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Romans. Chicago: Moody Press 1996