Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: A Comparative Analysis
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: A Comparative Analysis
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are traditionally called the Abrahamic religions. They highlight and trace their common origin to the patriarch Abraham or recognize a spiritual tradition identified with him. Abraham appears in the scred texts of all of these religions. The major Abrahamic religions in chronological order of founding are: Judaism (late second millennium BCE), Christianity (first century CE), and Islam (seventh century CE).
Influence to the World:
Christianity claims 33% of the world's population, Islam comes second with 21%, and Judaism has 0.2%.
7.1. The Uniqueness and Similarities of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Judaism claims that what separates it from all other religions is mainly it's proof of Divine origin as demonstrated through God's revelation of Himself to all the Jews at Mount Sinai. This was said to be witnessed by approximately 3 million Jews as an intelligent voice speaking to them from the fiery mountain. Judaism states that no other religion makes such a claim because Divine revelation to the masses never happened to others, and as the Torah says, it will never happen again (Deut. 4:32-34). All other religions are founded on a single person's claim that God appeared to him.
Moreover, Judaism is said to be founded on principles which are rational and comply with man's nature as a philosophical and psychological being. Not one law in all of Judaism goes against man's nature. Unlike Catholicism which frowns upon divorce, and praises celibacy, Judaism embraces the need at times for married couples to divorce if they will be happier that way, and Judaism also embraces man's need for sexual happiness and children.
Concerning destiny, Jews are messianists. For Christians, messianism is a spiritual concept that speaks to mankind’s redemption from original sin. But for Jews, messianism is a physical concept that connotes mankind’s capacity to make the world a nearly perfect place. Jews believe in humankind’s promised destiny of an era in which peace will reign over the earth.
In short, Judaism believes in the perfectibility of mankind.
Christianity is also based upon the most amazing event in all of human history—Christ’s resurrection.
“Christians believe that mankind was created specifically to have a relationship with God, but sin separates all men from Him (Romans 3:23, 5:12). Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ walked this earth, died on the cross to restore the relationship that was broken by sin. After His death on the cross, Christ was buried, He rose again, and now lives at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers forever (Hebrews 7:25). The intimacy of this relationship is revealed in two poignant pictures. Now no longer seen as law-breakers, the people who benefitted from Christ’s sacrifice have been adopted into God’s own family as His children (Ephesians 1:5). Even more intimately, true believers are the very “body of Christ” of which He is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23), having been purchased by His blood (Hebrews 9:12).”
Probably the most defining principle of Christianity that makes it truly unique in every way and provides its fundamental basis is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Within Christianity, the resurrection is vitally important, for without it, Christianity does not exist, and Christian faith is useless (1 Corinthians 15:14). It was Jesus' resurrection that changed the lives of the disciples. After Jesus was crucified, the disciples ran and hid. But when they saw the risen Lord, they knew that all Jesus had said and done proved that He was indeed God-sent.
The resurrection is proof of who Jesus is and that He did accomplish what He set out to do: provide the only means of redemption for mankind. Buddha did not rise from the dead. Muhammad did not rise from the dead. Confucius did not rise from the dead. Krishna did not rise from the dead. Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, and raised others from the dead.
“The God of Judaism and Islam can forgive the sins of men without demanding an ultimately worthy substitute sacrifice. But the justice of the Christian God demands that all sin be paid for in full. Christianity teaches that Christ died as the substitute sacrifice for the sins of mankind. In this way God remains just for He has punished all sin by punishing Jesus on the cross of Calvary. Still, God can justify and forgive sinners who decide to obey Jesus and the Father, for Jesus paid the price for their sins (Romans 3:20-26). So when the Christian God forgives sin, He does not ignore sin, for all sin has been paid for in full. Since Jesus is the begotten Son of God, He is the ultimately worthy sacrifice and able to atone for the sins of all mankind.”
The God of Christianity is more loving for He loved mankind so much that He sacrificed His only begotten Son in our place (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Christian God is a personal God who loves us, a totally just God that must punish all sin, and an all-loving God that offers us the free gift of salvation that comes only through His Son. What makes Christianity different from other religions is the love of God.
Islam is exceptional in that it is not named after any person, tribe, region or culture. Islam is named after a belief in one God, Allah, and submission to His will. In other words, Muslims ideally put Allah’s Will before their own.
Muhammad’s message is not new. His message of absolute monotheism is a reaffirmation of what came before it. “We as humans constantly stray from guidance if we are left on our own without a divine reminder, thus Allah the Merciful has sent us prophets to remind us. Islam preaches the same message of all previous prophets (peace be upon them). That message is: Allah is One, worship Him alone.”
“Islam is a religion without any mythology. Its teachings are simple and intelligible. It is free from superstitions and irrational beliefs. The oneness of God, the prophethood of Muhammad, and the concept of life after death are the basic articles of its faith. There is no hierarchy of priests, no farfetched abstractions, no complicated rites or rituals.”
Coceni destiny, Islam offers eternity in Paradise if people obey Allah’s commands. “If we believe and do good deeds, we will be rewarded, while if we deny the message and do evil, we will be punished.”
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, in contrast to Hinduism and Buddhism, are all monotheistic religions that worship the God of Adam, Abraham, and Moses—the creator, sustainer, and Lord of the universe. They somewhat share a common belief in the oneness of God (monotheism), sacred history (history as the theater of God’s activity and the encounter of God and humankind), prophets and divine revelation, angels, and Satan. All stress moral responsibility and accountability, Judgment Day, and eternal reward and punishment.
“All three faiths emphasize their special covenant with God, for Judaism through Moses, Christianity through Jesus, and Islam through Muhammad. Christianity accepts God’s covenant with and revelation to the Jews but traditionally has seen itself as superseding Judaism with the coming of Jesus. Thus Christianity speaks of its new covenant and New Testament. So, too, Islam and Muslims recognize Judaism and Christianity: their biblical prophets (among them Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus) and their revelations (the Torah and the New Testament, or Message of Jesus).”
“Peace is central to all three faiths. This is reflected historically in their use of similar greetings meaning “peace be upon you”: shalom aleichem in Judaism, pax vobiscum in Christianity, and salaam alaikum in Islam. Often, however, the greeting of peace has been meant primarily for members of one’s own faith community.”
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam trace their roots back to Abraham and his message of monotheism. The similarities among these faiths range in practices and beliefs. They all have the same geographical roots in the Arab World. A holy book can be found in all three religions and is considered to be the word of God or the inspired word of God. Within the Torah, Bible and Qur’an are creation stories in which God created the universe. Central to these three faiths are the various prophets that came to spread messages of monotheism.
“All of the biblical prophets shared by Judaism and Christianity can also be found in the Qur’an and Islamic writings. A level of accountability for one’s actions and the belief in charity and good deeds are another similarity that these faiths share. In addition, the belief in life after death is a shared belief among the three religions. Lastly, all three faiths regard Jerusalem as a holy city. For Jews, it is home to the Wailing Wall and the Temple Mount. In Christianity,
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the spot where Jesus was believed to be crucified. For Muslims it is home to the Dome of the Rock, where the Prophet Muhammad is believed to have ascended to heaven and where Al Aqsa Mosque is located.”
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