If you are curious about religion and what different religions have to offer, or if you just aren’t sure exactly what the differences and similarities are between these religions, then here is your chance for a brief introduction and description of the major beliefs that Islam, Judaism, and Christianity include in their belief structure.
Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all have similarities and differences between them. Unfortunately too often in society we tend to only focus on and emphasize the differences between these three religions. However I believe that is very important and beneficial for us to understand the similarities that do in fact exist between these religions. Today I will give you four main comparable ethical issues that these three religions follow, as well as a few major differences.
To begin, the first similarity among Islam, Judaism, and Christianity is the belief in one God. These three religions acknowledge God as Creator of all creation. They also believe that all humans are equal before God and are created in God’s image. Along with this belief in one God, an answer to what happens to a human after death is sought. Among these three religions there is a general consensus that an afterlife does indeed exist. Although what exactly the afterlife consists of is varied, the general understanding is that if one lives their life to God’s liking, then they will attain Heaven or Paradise and will be able to be with God for eternity.
These religions also believe in the same prophets, with one exception being the Islamic belief in Mohammed being the last in the line of prophets. Neither Judaism nor Christianity believed Mohammed to be a prophet of God.
Another similarity includes the importance of family relationships. Parents are to provide a framework of moral values and a loving home for their children to grow up in. It is considered the obligation of the parents to teach their children about their religion and to encourage them to also be followers of their religion. Marriage should be permanent and both parents are expected to make a serious effort to live together in harmony and with mutual respect towards each other.
As for the differences between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, one major distinction is the importance of the prophet Jesus. Islam and Judaism do not consider Jesus to be any better than any of the previous prophets that God had sent. However Christianity believes that Jesus was divine, and that he was God’s single most important messenger.
Another difference is the belief in original sin. Christianity believes that because Adam and Eve sinned, then all human beings once they are born have the stain of this original sin in them. Conversely, Islam and Judaism do not believe that Adam’s sin affects all humans. These two religions consider every human being to be born pure, and that only through one’s personal choosing can they commit sin against God.
Overall Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are diverse religions that stem from a common background. They all believe that God created human beings and that humans are here for God’s purposes and to ultimately perform God’s will. However as time went on and more prophets were acknowledged as to be teaching God’s word, differences started to surface. This is the main reason as to why there seems to be so many similarities, and yet so many differences among these three unique religions.
So what do you think is the driving force between these three religions? Is one prophet, Jesus, capable of driving this wedge between such similar religions that have the same background? Is one religion more right than another?
If you know of any other commonalities or parallels between these religions and would like to share your opinion, feel free!
Smith, Huston, The World’s Religions. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.