Global events and attitudes have to a large extent been shaped by religion. The history of humanity have been encompassed by a number of events such as wars, the building of new cities and the introduction of new laws with the central of aim of promulgating or protecting one religion or another. This research paper will seek to undertake a comparative analysis of the three major world religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This will involve an analysis on how the three religions view their God and various beliefs held by these religions. The second part of this research will however delineate to discuss the contributions of Justian and Theodora to a new form of civilization in Greek, Turkey and Roman Cultures.
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Comparison of Three major Religions
All major religions of the world have been described as closely related in terms of their origins. This is because Judaism, Christianity and Islam have specific areas on their origins that they share in common. The Abrahamic religion is one common scripture that is mentioned in Christian and Qur’an literatures. One fundamental similarity between the three religions is the existence of God as a perfect being whose non-existence is inconceivable. According to Becker (2007), the abidance in the existence of God by the three major religions can be analyzed from three perspectives;
First, the priory approach argues from a conception of God as a perfect being whose non-existence is inconceivable. Second, the posteriori approach gives evidence from the observable world insisting that such a structured design requires a designer. Third, the existential approach asserts direct experience of God by way of personal revelation.
In addition to the above, all the three religions believe in a creed of monotheism- they all believe in the existence of one supreme God. A comparative analysis on the view of “God between Christianity, Judaism and Islam reveal similarities but there is more closeness that exists between Judaism and Christianity who both reject the origin of the Islamic faith” (Becker, 2007).
All the three religions also believe in the judgment and heaven. According to Becker (2007), “the goal of all these three different religions is to ultimately get to a place called heaven.” Islam believes in the attainment of paradise. “Since the Holy Qur’an was sent down from heaven in Arabic to Muhammad, it serves as a guide for the believers to get to paradise” (Poorthuis, Schwatrz & Turner, 2009).
Whereas all these religions are only similar in broad definitions, they differ in a number of small ways that govern their systems of worship. “To the Muslim, Jesus is regarded as a prophet but is not considered in Quran as the son of God” (Becker, 2007). Christians on the other hand believe that Jesus is the only son of God through which salvation to the humanity can be received. In fact, the belief in Jesus as the son of God as held by Christians is rejected by both Muslims and Jews.
In addition to the above, both Judaism and Islam reject the Holy Trinity that forms an entrenched belief among Christians. Equality between the God, Jesus and Holy Spirit in the trinity as believe by Christians portend that God came back to the world to be crucified because of our sins. Muslims vehemently reject this belief because God can never be represented any worldly form and remains supreme.
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Contributions of Justinian and Theodora in Shaping Civilization
The contributions that Justinian and Theodora played in the shaping of the new form of civilization has been documented by a number if literatures in the world for centuries. According to Young (1982), “it was under St. Justinian that Byzantine civilization reached its climax since the Orthodox Church honors this emperor (and his wife, the wonderful Theodora) as saints.” Justinian contribution to the new form of civilization was through the promotion of the Christian culture that was conscientiously and deliberately being built and completed as a system during this significant period in the reign of the Emperor. Outstanding examples of his contribution to the civilization through Christianity include magnificent Temple of Holy Wisdom, the great church of Sophia in Constantinople.
Through devotion to the orthodox faith, Justinian was able to influence the culture of Turkey and Roman Cultures by instilling the orthodox architecture in most aggressive works the Empire undertook. According to Young (1982), “Justinian was a faithful and devoted member of the Orthodox Church and worked not only to protect its dogmatic teachings, but also to elevate the spiritual and moral stature of its representatives.”In addition to the above, Justinian advanced the new form of civilization through scientific revolution and enlightenment.
As an emperor, he presided over the construction of a vast line walls along the eastern and southeastern frontier of the empire for the advancement of knowledge security of his subjects. Through continuous advancement in law, law, religion, sports, and trade are present in western civilization, Justinian was able to impact on the modern civilization. According to Young (1982), “Justinian’s code was Roman law that was introduced by Justinian, the emperor of the Byzantine Empire and he ordered a systematic review of Roman law that was more thorough than any that had taken place before.” The impacts of such actions are still present in the modern form of civilization especially in religion.
Theodora on the other hand was the emperor’s wife who supported the activities of the husband and participated in the preservation of the artifacts that her husband collected during the reign. Whereas the Justinian rule was ruthless, he incorporated religious intolerance into the legal framework of his regime for the expansion and advancement of the kingdom through military exploits which were mostly successful. His ability to influence the civilization of Greek, Roman and Turkey were because of his military abilities that ensured success. The massive expansion of the Byzantine meant that trade and related activities were expanded and the impact of civilization was large.
As a strict believer in the orthodox, religious diversity was wiped out of the Byzantine Empire. Religious diversity according to Justinian beliefs was a demonstration of disorder. The encouragement of a single form of religion within the Byzantine ensured that a particular form of civilization was advanced. Byzantine Empire therefore “became a bustling multicultural center of philosophy, religion, arts, humanities, theater and literature” (Young, 1982).
From the discussions, it can be discerned that the Byzantine Empire through Justinian and Theodore contributed to the advancement of new form of civilization that still remain relevant to date. It is debated that without the pivotal role of Justinian and his wife Theodore, new form of civilization would have not been realized at the pace it has been achieved.
Becker, C.H. (2007). Christianity and Islam. London: Read Books.
Poorthuis, M. Schwatrz, J. and Turner, J. (2009). Interaction Between Judaism and Christianity in History, Religion, Art, and Literature. London: Brill.
Young, A. (1982). Justinian the Great, Emperor and Saint. Web.