Christianity, Islam and Judaism are all religions. Religion can be defined as a set of beliefs and a way of life. Though, there are different religions with different practices and beliefs in the world, there exists some clear similarities. Christianity is defined as the religion that is based on life, death and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth who is also called Christ or Messiah. The followers of Christianity are called Christians. World religions (2009, para. 2) indicates that, Christianity is the largest religion in the world with estimated 33 percent of the world population being its followers. Islam may be defined as submission to Allah, the God. In other words Islam may refer to having been revealed to Prophet Muhammad by God and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. World religions (2009, para. 2) estimates that the Islam religion is the second largest after Christianity with 21 percent of earth’s population being Islam. On the other hand Judaism is the religion mostly associated with the Jewish people (Religion and ethics, 2009, Para 1). The religion of Judaism is based on the covenant that was made between Abraham and God. The covenant was made when God asked Abraham to leave his land and travel to Cannan the Promised Land. Judaism (2009, para. 2) estimates that the population of the people observing Judaism as a religion is 14 million in the world.
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Similarities between the three Religions
While the differences in each religion are well defined, there exist some similarities that make the three religions somehow related in terms of their beliefs and historical backgrounds. However, most of the similarities and common practices are found in the religious believes observed in each religion.
One major similarity found in Christianity, Islam and Judaism is the belief in one God who is a supreme being, all powerful and ever living. The term oneness of God defines the indivisibility of the unseen God in all the three religions. The fact is that, all the three religions there is belief in one God, therefore they are referred to as Monotheistic religions. Christianity believes in the God as being made up of a Holy Trinity: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The second being in the trinity became human who was known as Jesus Christ, regarded as the Messiah. The theology in Christianity teaches of the one God in the Holy Trinity. The life and teachings of Jesus Christ are captured in the Bible (Christian’s holy book) in the Gospel. On the other hand the Islam religion also believes in one God (the true God), the ever living supreme deity who is the controller of every thing and who neither equal to anyone. Qu’ran chapter 112 in Allah (n.d, cited in The Institute of Islamic Information and Education, 2009, Para. 2) indicates, “In the name of God, the Merciful, and the Compassionate; Say (O Muhammad); He is God the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone.” Similarly, Judaism believes in one God, ever living, just, and who reveals Himself to people. This deity in Hebrew is referred to as JHWH or Yahweh, the true God of Judaism.
How does Abraham unite Christianity, Islam and Judaism? Abraham is regarded as a unifying factor in the three religions. While Islam regard to Abraham as a prophet and the father of prophets Ishmael and Isaac, and an ancestor to prophet Muhammad, Christians regard him as the father of the current generation. In all the three religions, Abraham takes a special, place to represent faith in God and a true believer. According to Place of Prophet Abraham (2009), Islamic religion has a deep connection with Abraham in that, any one who rejects Abraham is regarded as being not a true believer in Islam. In addition, a sacrifice is done by Muslims all over the world every year during Eid-ul-Adha in commemoration of the sacrifice offered by Prophet Abraham in lieu of Ishmael. This aspect has a great connection with Judaism. According to Cohn-Sherbok (1998, cited in Place of Prophet Abraham, 2009, para. 22), Prophet Abraham is regarded as the father of Jewish people. In Christianity, Jesus is linked to the generation whose father is Abraham. Abraham is also considered as a great spiritual father to Abrahamic Religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Existence of Creed
The existence of a Creed regarded as the holy book is a common phenomena among Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The holy doctrine acts as the guide in the religion. It is believed that the Holy book in the three religions is the words of the God that however follows the faith according to the religion should abide by the practices as depicted in the creed. The Holy Bible is the creed of the Christians. The Bible is said to have been written by people inspired by the spirit of the God. Thus the Bible scripture is regarded as God’s own words. The Islam also adheres to the teachings of the Quran. To be a devoted Muslim, one should adhere to the teachings of Quran. Also, a true Muslim should make a habit of making Quran recitations, do good deeds, and be a good human for one to be a recipient of Allah’s kindness and forgiveness. In Judaism, a collection of thirteen articles are regarded as those that contain the Judaism faith. Torah (first six books in the old testament that were revealed to Moses) and Talmud are Holy books that are generally accepted to provide the essentials of Judaism.
Morality is specifically emphasized as the preferred code of conduct in the three religions. Showing concern for the well being and dignity of other people are areas of emphasis in the three religions. The moral behavior includes both morally in the relationship between man and God and also that between man and other people. In Christianity, the Ten Commandments as outlined in the Holy bible shows the generally accepted conduct expected for people that involve worship to God and concern for other people. Adultery, murder, theft, robbery, falsehood, dishonesty, injustice and other immoral and unethical practices are universally condemned in the three religions. Although morality is a topic that produces varying views, the human race has some inner conscience that distinguishes what is good and what is evil. According to Morality and ethics in Islam, (2009: Para 11), the Quran in the Islam religion defines Al’ Amal Assalih as the guiding principles that a follower of Islam should follow. Also, it indicates that among the expected behaviors of a Muslim are great humility and accountability to Allah. The observance of moral conduct in Judaism cannot be overemphasized. The teachings in this religion also affirms morality e.g. dignity and sanctity of human life, and kindness to all God’s creatures. Judaism Principles of Moral Thoughts and Actions (2009, para. 3), indicates that Torah, which is looked to as the book containing the will of God should be obeyed. Accordingly, some morals including kindness to stagers, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, loving God are praised while killing, murder, adultery, interfering with natures course and so on are highly condemned.
Life after Death
Christianity, Islam and Judaism believe in life after death. This aspect of faith gains intense emphasis in all the three religions and plays an important role. In Christianity, the existence of life after death is emphasized and demonstrated during the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The apostle’s creed which is observed by most Christian groups also outlines the aspect of believe in life after death upon judgment. In Islam religion, life after death is also featured as an important aspect of faith. Nawaz (2009, para. 2) indicates that, all human beings will never diminish after death. Also, life is viewed as a process in life which is a means to transfer the human from one phase to the other. Islam believe that, when one dies, the body is separated from the soul and that the soul either goes to “Elliyeen” the place of moral souls or to the “Sijjeen” where sinful souls go. This aspect is also emphasized in Judaism. Jews are taught to view death not as a tragedy but as a natural process. According to Sachs (2007, para. 4), Jews generally believe in life after death where a process of purification is done after death before life can continue with the rest of the journey. Also, it is indicated that the period of purification depends on the way the soul conducted itself in life which is an aspect that shows judgment. The teachings in the three religions indicate that the conduct of people is subject to judgment by the deity on the Day of Judgment. In Christianity view, the life after death indicates that, upon death, the body decomposes while the soul leaves the body and is evaluated to a particular judgment upon which the soul goes to heaven(where the body is glorified), or to hell, (condemnation to eternal punishment).
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Origin of the World
The origin of the world and the universe is viewed from a common perspective in Christianity, Islam and Judaism as having been created by God. Also the three religions agree that the first man to be put on earth was Adam. The creation of the universe and the human race has great similarity as indicated in the Christians bible, Islam’s Quran and the Jews’ Torah. Although small differences do occur in the details of creation, a general agreement will be seen in the sequences of creation as believed in the three religions. For example, while Islam refers to Adam as a prophet, Christianity and Judaism only regard him as the first human being to be created.
Believe in Prophets and Angels
Prophets, angles and divine beings are all regarded in Christianity, Islam and Judaism. In some cases common beings are regarded similarly in the three religions. Prophets are regarded as God’s messengers to the people. Unlike angles who are spiritual beings, prophets are physical beings who live with people in the society while leading normal lives but are devoted to God. Muslims believe that Muhammad was the Gods’ prophet who started and taught Islam. Similarly both Jews and Christians have common prophets who are believed to have been used to deliver God’s message to His people. Unlike Christians who adore Jesus as the son of God and their Savior, Islam regard to Jesus as just one of the God’s prophets. However, the Christians and Jews do not recognize Muhammad as one of the God’s prophets. The existence of divine beings in service of God shows that, God has a special way of interacting with his creation a phenomenon that is common among the three denominations. Role of prophets in Islam (2009, para. 2) indicates that, Abraham, Noah, Jesus, Moses and Muhammad are all prophets of God. Apart from Muhammad, all the other indicated prophets are recognized in Christianity and Judaism. However, Christianity refers to Jesus as the Son of God who is the God’s sent savior.
Rituals and festivals
Religious rituals give a common similarity among Christians, Muslim and Jews. While different religious rituals and festivities are held for different reasons and at different occasions, some rituals and festivities are common especially among the Christians and the Jews. Most of the Muslim rituals are held in remembrance of deeds that were done by the Holy prophet Muhammad. Example of such rituals among the Islam is the Ramadhan which is a one months festival conducted to remember the revelations that were done to Muhammad which appear in form of the Holy book Qu’ran. According to Holy days festivals and rituals (2009), other Islamic holy days are Id ul–Adha (celebration of faithfulness of Abraham), Maulid al-Nabi, (celebrating the birth of Muhammad), Shadada, (initiation of a young Muslim to Islam) among others. In Judaism, rituals are also conducted in accordance with the original covenant of Abraham and God. The commonest ritual in Judaism is the Pass-Over, (Pesach) festival which is held to celebrate the deliverance of Israelites from the slavery of Egypt. Also in Christianity, some rituals e.g. Christmas held in remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ are a common feature.
Existence of more similarities between Islam, Christianity and Judaism cannot be overlooked. The most unifying factor in the three religions is that they are all Abrahamic religions. I.e. they identify with the same spiritual father called Abraham who is the father to Isaac and Ishmael.
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Sachs, A. Jewish Afterlife Beliefs. 2007. Web.
The Institute of Islamic Information and Education (III&E) Allah (God): “To God (Allah) Belongs 99 names”. III&E Brochure Series; No. 2.
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