The human race has developed many forms of religious belief. In so many ways, a person’s faith seems to be a matter of opinion. However, it should not be surprising that this is a way of life. Humanity consists of many groups of people, and each group will have its own perspective and beliefs about philosophical and theological subjects. If we understand something concerning the wide variety of faiths in the world, we will have learned something about the diverse cultures and societies of this world
The study of comparative religion is of tremendous importance for this reason. There is no one way or right way to think in this humanity The truth of the matter is that the world’s religions reflect the multitudinous ways in which human beings think.
Ninian Smart points out the following concerning Judaism and its beliefs:
It is now time to turn to Israelite history, which provided materials, especially as written up in the various books of the Bible, which continued to have religious significance long after the societies which they reflected had ceased to exist. It is worth noting, too, that through Judaism, Christianity, and Islam project themselves back in time to Abraham and to the religion of the Israelites–so that it is tempting to think, for instance, of Moses as the founder of Judaism–strictly speaking what we know as Judaism did not yet exist. . . The earliest period of the religion of the Israelites is a kind of prehistory: the period of the Patriarchs, beginning with the narrative of Avraham (Abraham), who came from Ur of the Chaldees in Samaria (p. 204).
Abraham is considered by tradition to be the founder of the Hebrew people, and their first patriarch. In fact, Judaism has been a patriarchal religion from its very start.
In a way unlike the Eastern religions previously examined, Judaism has always stressed the importance of their people having been chosen by God through a covenant made with Him. One God and no other is the characteristic feature of the Hebrew religion. The key to Jewish beliefs is the Torah, or Law of Moses, which consists of the Pentateuch–the first five books of the Bible.
Judaism, with its separation, in the United States, into Orthodox, Conservative, and Reformed branches, does not always agree on various issues. In general, Jews believe that a Divine Kingdom will be established on earth, opening a Messianic Era that will be marked by peace and bliss. A definite belief in an afterlife will not be found in Judaism. There is a strong emphasis on morals and ethics as contained in the Ten Commandments. Many of the moral standards of the Western world are based on Jewish ethical teachings, which have been incorporated into Christianity. Just as Judaism is separated into various segments, so is Christianity; however, the Christian view is far more fragmented into many perspectives.
As one of the three great religions of the Western World, Christianity is really a collection of many faiths, all of which claim to be Christian.
Jesus Christ, born between 4 and 6 B. C. E. and crucified about 28 C. E., is considered by Christians to be the Messiah predicted by the Old Testament prophets. In Christianity, Jesus is thought to be the Savior of humanity. He is considered to be the Word made flesh. There were many conflicting ideas concerning Yehoshu’a, or Jesus and the Christian movement during the time of the early Christian Church. At first, Christianity was a Jewish sect. As time went on, Christianity moved away from Judaism and became a religion of its own. Smart observes concerning why the Christians won out:
The new mystery religion had some inherent advantages. First, because of its Jewish monotheism it was universal in scope. Second, in looking to a God-human in Jesus it presented a theme very familiar to the Greco-Roman world. Third, it was able, from the third century onwards in particular, to pick up themes from the Platonic tradition which would make the faith appealing to the educated person (p. 241).
Through a series of Church Councils, the nature of Jesus’ exact relation to the Godhead was defined in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the Three-Person Union of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Jews never accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah. Christians, however, accept the prophesies concerning the Messiah in the Old Testament as referring to Jesus.
Christianity accepts the Ten Commandments, as well as the teachings of Jesus as found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Christian love is its guiding principle.
Aside from its basic teachings, Christianity has a multitude of different denominations and churches within its fold that frequently contradict one another. The three main branches of Christianity are Roman Catholicism, The Eastern Orthodox Church, and Protestantism, with its many sects and faiths. The Mormon Church, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was founded by Joseph Smith, is not considered to be strictly Christian.
According to Islamic belief, Allah (God) revealed the Qur’an or Koran to the prophet Mohammed in the seventh century in Mecca and Medina. The Koran is the sacred book of the Muslims. Islam is the youngest of the world’s three major monotheistic religions. Similar to the other two–Judaism and Christianity–its advocates believe in one God rather than several. Smart says this about the Koran:
It is divine thought and divine law incarnated in words: it is mysterious sound which has everlasting life and existence, an examination from one Divine Being. One of the attributes of God is speech, and the Qur’an is God’s eternal speech (p. 281).
Essentially, a Muslim accepts one God and Mohammed as his prophet. Five prayers must be said daily while facing Mecca. Also, the giving of alms is very important. Many of Islam’s moral teachings are based on the Old Testament.
The similarities in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Judaism believes that there is one God who cannot be made up of different parts. To try to divide God’s oneness is seen as a pagan throwback to many gods. Islam embraces an irrelevant invisible God — one to be strongly feared in His all-powerfulness. God could not have children (or a Son) for this blurs the divine/human distinction of an Ultimate God. Christians hold fast to the trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. To Christians, God gives a revelation of Himself through the flesh, Jesus Christ, God Incarnate.
All three religions acknowledge that Moses was a prophet of God. The prophets of Israel and Judah are one of the most amazing groups of individuals in all history. The Islamic faith excitedly awaits the return of the Prophet Jesus born by a miracle of God without a father. The Prophet Mohammed’s words give an account of the signs that will precede the coming of Jesus. Through Christianity, the prophets established that God is sovereign over history and is working out His purposes in agreement with an overall plan, sometimes imperceptible, however always in the hands of the Lord.
They’re holy books are comparable too, In Judaism, the people saw God’s plan at work in every step of their communal existence. Yahweh (God) had called Abraham to father a chosen people of fate In Exodus; God used the Prophet Moses to confirm His power, goodness, and concern for history. The Ten Commandments acknowledged the moral foundations for human behavior. For traditional Jews, the commandments (mitzvoth) and Jewish law (halacha) are still mandatory. Judaism puts the magnitude of serving God upon the Torah. In one way, the spoken Torah can never be regarded as complete, for with the changes in way of life there are always new circumstances to which it has to be practical. The Torah is on the whole considered to have established its definitive form in the Talmud and the Midrashim, the official, main devotional expositions of the Old Testament books.
Eastman confirms the relationship between the relationships between the three religions. “Judaism is described as the parent-religion of Christianity. And similarity in the case in the case of Islam: as Christianity presents itself as a new revelation superseding the earlier Judaism, so Islam presents itself as a new revelation superseding both Judaism and Christianity (Eastman,290). What is more intriguing is when Eastman describes yhis trelationship of these three religions as a family. Not so much of a parent-child relationship, but more as a brothers and sisters type of relationship. No one is acting as they are the authority, though I believe Judaism would be considered the oldest brother of the three; the trunk of the tree with the three branches that flourish.
Fact liist of some differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
* Islamic belief refers to god name as Allah, name of god in Judaism Yahweh, Elohim, name of god in Christianity is referred to as Yahweh, the Holy Trinity
* House of worship for Islam is a mosque, Christianity house of worships are church, cathedrals and/or chapels, in Judaism house of worship is synagogues.
* Main day of worship is Friday in Islam, Saturday in Judaism, and Sunday in Christianity.
* Sacred texts in Islam is the Qur’an, Judaism is the bible, and in Christianity it is the bible (Jewish bible and new testament)
* Church and state is separated in both Judaism and Christianity, and integrated in Islam.
* Founder of Islam is Mohammed, Christianity -Jesus, and Judaism-Moses or Abraham.
* Original language in Islam is Arabic, in Christianity it is Aramaic Greek, and in Judaism the language is Hebrew
* Expansion in Islam was within 12 years, entire Arabian peninsula; within 100 years, Muslim world stretched from the Atlantic to China, in Judaism there was little expansion; mostly confined to Palestine , in Christianity within 60 years, churches in major cities in Palestine, Turkey, Greece and Rome; entire Roman Empire by end of 4th cent.
* Both Christianity and Islam were founded in Palestine and Islam in Saudi Arabia
* View of human nature in Islam is equal ability to do good or evil ,Christianity view is “original sin” inherited from Adam – tendency towards evil , and Judaism view is two equal impulses, one good and one bad
* Both Islam and Christianity believe the second coming of Jesus and Judaism does not
* Both Islam and Christianity believe that the birth Jesus was a virginal birth; Judaism believes it was a normal birth.
* Both Islam and Judaism deny the resurrection of Jesus unlike Christianity.
* Christianity and Judaism believe that death of Jesus was by crucifixion, yet Islam believes that yes he was crucified, however ascended into heaven during crucifixion.
From what we have read and seen they are many different yet similar dimensions concerning myth, ritual, and institutional within these three monotheistic religions. Each of these religions have their own voice on how they view our theological history however at the same time uniquely parallel with one another, making it known that one cannot survive without the other.
I suppose if most people could think about it in a way that we are all connected, it would help a lot of troubled fundamentalist souls out there if they just took the time to study all its similarities and even the differences. Although seemingly it does appear sometimes to be vastly different because they are looking at it very superficially, but it really is like how Eastman had illustrated it as one big family all (christianity.com)coming from the same place.