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The Principle of Social Justice in World Religions

One of the remarkable features of modern society is promoting diversity, not only in views and opinions but also in religious affiliation. Many people worldwide profess particular religious views, and according to the number of adherents of particular faiths, there are several world religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Interestingly, there are significant similarities between these three trends. Each of them is a monotheistic religion of the Abrahamic type and, therefore, may have a common origin. However, despite the commonalities, the great age of each religion has brought differences into the structure of their teachings, with the result that adherents of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism may not treat the same phenomena in the same way. This essay examines the principle of social justice as the subject of a comparative study among the three schools of thought.

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It is paramount to outline the theoretical framework of social justice, for which a comparative analysis across the three major monotheistic religions is conducted. Obviously, each author tends to interpret the term in the context of his cultural and historical background. For example, Thrift and Sugarman describe social justice as a complex term that is individual to communities (2). Understanding the multifactorial of social justice as a phenomenon of the current agenda allows it to be fragmented: this essay then proposes using the principle of equality, an essential but contested component of justice, for comparative analysis.

The principle of social equality is not homogeneous in the teachings of each of the religions studied. From the perspective of the Christian Bible, all people, without exception, appear to be equal before God as the supreme law of the world. All God has created for humanity is equally distributed among all men, which means that every living individual can enjoy the divine gifts. There are no barriers to Christianity for gender, race, or ethnicity; anyone can convert. However, it is crucial to emphasize that the principle of equality does not mean unity: all people are different and tend to dream of different goods. The principle of equality does not violate this fact but instead encourages Christians to respect each other’s boundaries and encourage personal freedom as long as it does not conflict with other people’s ideals (Friedman). For this reason, an American Catholic, a Russian Orthodox, and a Pakistani Protestant would have equal Christian rights.

The principle of equality is most sharply discussed in the Qur’an, the critical book of Islam. On the one hand, there is non-obvious equality between men and women in Islam. Thus, contrary to the erroneous translation of the Bible or the Torah, Eve was not created from Adam’s rib but from his nature, which means that both men and women are part of a single soul that has been divided in two. In this discussion, the practice of patriarchal Muslim countries, where the man has more power than the woman, seems contradictory. Kia assesses this as greater power for the man, with greater responsibility behind it: thus, even greater physical power in men is necessary to protect the woman and the family (248). On the other hand, the Qur’an explicitly states that not all men are equal among themselves but that they are all brothers and sisters. Consequently, some people are higher in rank than others and have more opportunities than others. Good deeds that can elevate one person above another are defined as a criterion of superiority. For example, a Muslim volunteer would have a more significant religious advantage over Allah than an Islamist criminal.

Finally, social equality is also explored in Judaism. Like Christianity, the equality of all people before God is proclaimed in Judaism. According to the Torah, all discrimination and the presence of gender, cultural, historical, and racial prejudices are unacceptable and are an affront to the divine will (Unpacked, 2015). Gender equality is also accepted as the only true equality postulated by any of the Abrahamic cultures. Consequently, all are equal before God: Jewish women from Israel and Christian and Muslim men from the United States, for example.

Works Cited

Friedman, Milton. “What Does “Created Equal” Mean?” Hoover Institute, 2018.

Kia, A. “The Concept of Responsibility of Men and Women in Islam.” Arts & Humanities Open Access Journal, vol. 3, no. 5, 2019, pp. 247-251.

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Thrift, Erin, and Jeff Sugarman. “What is Social Justice? Implications for Psychology.” Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, vol. 39, no. 1, 2019: pp. 1-17.

Unpacked. “Israel Inside: Tikun Olam — To Repair The World.” YouTube, 2015.

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