Judaism, Christianity and Islam all are considered the main religions in the world today. Judaism, Christianity and Islam can be called world religions, which in contrary to specific national religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism have an international character. The occurrence of world religions is a result of prolonged development of political, economic and cultural contacts between different countries and nations.
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The cosmopolitan character of the aforementioned religions allowed them to overstep the national boundaries, and widely spread all over the globe. World religions, all are characterized to some extent by the faith in united, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God, which unites in one image all the qualities and characteristics which were inherent in many polytheistic gods.
All of the three religions were formed in a particular historical environment, and in conditions of specific cultural-historical generality of nations. Nevertheless, despite many characteristic features, there are many similarities that exist within the teachings of those religions.
This paper is addressed to the issue of similarity between Judaism, Christianity and Islam providing general points of intersection that exist between some or all the mentioned religions.
All the three religions share a similar origin. Judaism, Christianity and Islam, also called Abrahamic religions imply the existence of one spiritual source in all three religions. All three religions refer to Abraham as the ancestor with him being mentioned in the according book of each religion, i.e. Bible, Torah and Koran.
Jews and Muslims establish their origins to the sons of Abraham, where Christians refer to Abraham as “Father in Faith”, “For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace; to the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Romans 4:16, American Standard Version).
In that sense, despite all the religions not acknowledging the existence of the following religions they all are based on identical source, in which even the commonly used name of God in the Semitic languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic) are similar, which are Elaha, Alaha and Allah. (Islamic Society of Colorado Springs, 2008).
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Following the similarity of origins, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are monotheistic religions. The major emphasize of Abrahamic religions is the oneness and unity of God. Although there is a point of contradiction, regarding the doctrine of Holy Trinity accepted by most Christians, however, “this is not a denial of monotheism but an affirmation of the complexity of the Divine Being.” (Mojzes & Swidler, 2002) Monotheism is as system of religious beliefs, based on the presentation of one God, contrary to polytheism where they are several representing different powers and capabilities. Thus, as a point of intersection based on similar origin in all three religions God is the origin and the source of all that exists.
Another point of similarity which mainly consists of many sub-points lies in the form of presentation. All three religions have a basis of divine revelation through prophets. In opposition to other religions and doctrines which were based on philosophical reflections, customs or traditions that were passed through generations, the teachings of each religion has its source from God who sent his words through prophets.
The role of prophets might differ in each religion, mainly in Christianity where Jesus has a bigger role and position. However, the message is identical, i.e. to deliver and spread God’s words.
It should be noted that in terms of prophets, the consequent timeline in all three religions resulted in the fact that the earlier does not recognize the following religions and prophets. In that sense Islam recognizes all the previous prophets, while Judaism logically did not say a word about Jesus. Nevertheless, other than that, the religions are similar in term of delivery, where each religion has its divine book where God’s words through prophets were recorded.
It can be seen that Judaism, Christianity and Islam have a lot in common, or at least more than each religion tends to present. This could lie in the fact that, initially people from different religions tend to find differences why their religion is superior to others rather than finding points of mutual intersection. Additionally, the division to different doctrines within one religion made it difficult to establish particular direction for comparison. Nevertheless, the points of similarity are far more than this paper can withstand. In that sense, the presented similarities do not approach the main idea that all three religions have identical views on morality and distinction between right and wrong. “Religion is to be manifested by showing concern for the well-being and dignity of others, in a life of service to others, and in personal and social ethical behavior” (Mojzes & Swidler, 2002).
- Adrian Hamilton (2007). Godly pleasures ; A collection of sacred texts at the British Library reveals the similarities between the major religions – and the creativity of those who have practised them. By Adrian Hamilton :[1ST Edition]. The Independent,1.
- Mojzes, P., & Swidler, L. (2002). Common Elements of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 39(1-2), 80+.
- Similarities between Islam, Judaism and Christianity.(2008) (chap. An Introduction to Islamic Society of Colorado Springs)