A Comparative Analysis of Islam, Christianity and Judaism
In a well-composed essay, complete the following:
- Introduction: Clarify briefly what this essay will accomplish.
- Develop a timeline showing the historical relationship among Judaism, Christianity and
Islam’s beginnings. Indicate their geographical connections, founders, and several key theological divisions within each religion.
- Choose two (2) elements from the following list: the nature of God, the nature of Jesus,
holy books, salvation or social justice. Analyze your chosen element by demonstrating
the similarities or differences among the three religions regarding your chosen element,
using specific examples.
- Examine at least two challenges that affect how all three religions currently relate to each other. Give an example of each challenge to support your observation. Further,
define globalization and discuss how globalization helps or hinders this current
relationship. (You can find a very good video on globalization in Week 8).
- Conclusion: Bring your essay together by reflecting on what you learned and how it
might help you in your profession going forward.
Whereas Judaism denotes the Abrahamic religion of Jewish extraction that comprises of collective cultural and traditions of the Jews, Christianity on the other hand is an Abrahamic religion whose foundations is on the doctrinal teachings of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, Christianity derives its title from he second name of Jesus, because they believe he was God`s only son that came to die for humanity to save it from the imminent destruction out of God`s wrath (Walls, 2017). On a similar breadth, Islam too is another Abrahamic religion, and like Christianity, have their prophet called Mohammad (Von, 2017). Even though the above three religions might have different teachings and belief structure, they share several identities in terms of historical and geographical foundations. Notwithstanding the fact that they have different names, the overriding idea behind the three religions is their belief in one supernatural being that created the universe and everything that is in it. They believe that this being commands respects from every human and that all must dedicate their time to his service. Given the above, the spine of this analysis is to evaluate the foundation of the three religions, their conception on God`s nature and the holy books, the challenges that affect how they currently relate to each other and globalization.
Historical relationship among the three religions
The three religions have almost similar historical crafting. Judaism believes in the adherence of the ten commandments that God gave to their prophet Moses at Mount Sinai. Essentially, the history of Judaism is traceable to the Middle East and especially during the bronze age (Baeck, 2019). The modern Judaism emanated from the ancient Judaism that was the practice in Middle Eastern countries in 500 BCE, making it one of the oldest religions in the world today. History records that it was from Judaism that other Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam originated. Judaists believe that their prophet would one day make a grant entry into the world to save them, and they pray in secluded places known as synagogues (Godman, 2019). According to Judaists, God is all powerful and speaks to them through their prophets only. They believe in Torah as their religious book from which their leaders, rabbis obtain the knowledge to interpret God`s will to his people (Goodman, 2019). The Torah explains that God revealed his identity to Abraham, a Jew who then became the founding father of Judaism. The present-day Judaism has three major theological divisions namely reform, conservative and Orthodox. The reform division comprised of German Jews who thought that religion was no longer compatible with modernity and thus shortened their prayer time, and made several changes (Baeck, 2019). Orthodox Judaism on the other hand remained true to the traditional Judaism practices while conservative was response from the American Judaists who wanted to keep kosher.
On the other hand, Islam believes in Mohammed as the religion`s founder and the main prophet through whom Allah speaks to his people. Moreover, the Quran is the religion`s primary text which they believe recorded Allah verbatim (Von, 2017). In its historical context, Islam came into being in the 7th century at Mecca, in the Arab Peninsula and expanded exponentially during the 8th century to the Umayyad Caliphate. It took several Muslim caliphates like the Ottoman empire for the Islamic religion to expand to other geographical locations across the world. The present-day Islam comprises of two denominations namely the Sunni and the Shia. Sunni accounts for almost 90% of the Islamic faith while the Shia only represent 10% (Hawwa, 2020). Given that Asia is the cradle of Islam, a big percentage of Muslims in the region. Even though Islam is the second largest religion, historians believe it is the fastest growing and might become the largest with time. Like Judaism, Islam believes in the existence of Moses and Abraham. Similarly, it also compares to Christianity when it comes to the prophets such as Moses, Abraham and Jesus (Von, 2017). The only difference is that whereas Christians believe that Jesus was God`s only son who came to rescue them, Muslims believe that he was just one of the prophets like the rest. However, Islam, just like Christianity and Judaism believes in the existence of one supernatural being named God.
Lastly, Christianity is a religion that believes in Jesus as the savior and God`s son who came to save the human race from the imminent God`s destruction due to sin. Christians believe that God reveals himself through the prophets and also through the Bible which they regard as a holy book (Walls, 2017). Christianity is the world`s largest religion that boasts of a following of two point five billion followers. Jesus Christ is the founder of the religion and they believe in his teachings, and on the idea that died and rose of the third day. Today, Christians believe that Jesus will soon make a second return to the world to pick those who shall have lived according to his will and teachings (Scott, 2017). Accordingly, Christianity has several denominations among it with the largest being the Catholics, followed by the Protestantism, the orthodox church. The religion originated in the 1st century at Judea and spread across the world especially during the age of civilization, and reached other parts like Africa during colonization.
The nature of God and the Holy Books
All the above religions believe that there is a supernatural being that watches and controls everything that happens on earth. According to them, God is all powerful and loving and that he blesses those who live according to His wish and punishes the ones who don’t. the above Abrahamic religions believe that God is omnipresent, omniscient, eternal, omnipresent and is the creator of the world (Scott, 2017). Besides, they believe that God is masculine, and that belief has formed the culture of trying to make man more powerful over women. They also think that God is beyond time and lives outside the universe and thus not subject to any of His creation. Also, the three Abrahamic religions believe that God is so forgiving and is willing to pardon anyone who commits sin as long as such person can acknowledge such sin and ask for such fervidness from God (Von, 2017). The only major difference is that whereas Christians call him God, Muslims call him Allah. When it comes to the holy books, Christians have the Bible, Muslim read the Quran while Judaists read the Torah. The similarities are that the three religions believe that the holy books contain God`s inspired words. Another similarity is that the three books contain the teachings of major prophets such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Jacob (Walls, 2017). The major difference is that whereas the Bible is the written by different prophets, the Quran is a collection of writing by one prophet Mohammed. Also, Torah has only five books while the Bible has sixty-six books.
Challenges facing the relations among the three religions
The three Abrahamic religions have several issues facing their relations. The first issue that leads to constrained relations amongst them is the idea of identity of the prophets. Accordingly, the three religions have three different holy books that give different account of the roles and identity of some major prophets (Thomas et al., 2017). For example, whereas Christians believe that Jesus was God`s son and is second in command, Islam treats him as just another prophet and that it was Mohammed who was the most important prophet. Such difference in interpretation creates conflict among the three religions and thus leading to constrained relations. Secondly, the geographical position of religious historical sites has created major conflicts between the three (Thomas et al., 2017). For instance, Christians and Muslims have had numerous conflicts over the ownership of most religious sites especially between Israel and Palestine. Globalization denotes the integration and interactions of people, governments and companies across the globe (Dessi, 2018). Globalization helps in fostering the relations between the three Abrahamic religions because it improves contact among them hence enabling people do appreciate different cultures and religions. It also helps leaders of such religions to meet and build consensus on conflicting issues hence improving their relations.
The three Abrahamic religions that comprise of Judaism, Islam and Christianity have several different and similar teachings and doctrines emanating from their historical foundations. Even though they differ in terms of how they observe their teachings, they agree on certain prophets like Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Jacob. Accordingly, the Christians believe in Jesus as their founder, while Judaists and Muslims believe in Abraham and Mohammed respectively. Nevertheless, all three religions have some similar conception of God`s nature such as Him being loving, caring, all powerful and omnipresent. The different interpretation of the identity of various prophets has led to strained relation between the three religions. Also, conflict over religious historical sites continue to undermine such relations especially between Christians and Muslims. However, globalization is helping to rectify such improving relations through contact.
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Stott, J. (2017). Basic Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
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Von Grunebaum, G. E. (2017). Classical islam: a history, 600 AD to 1258 AD. Routledge.
Walls, A. (2017). Christianity. A New Handbook of Living Religions, 55-161.