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The modern religious beliefs, laws, government structures as well as the social conducts, exhibited by various people in the world, can be said to have originated from three major systems of beliefs, namely Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Even though there exist plenty of religious groupings that have been formed over the years, these three religious groups have found great support in the Western culture, whereby they have had great civilization impact on people in the western world. In order to comprehend these effects brought about by these religious beliefs it is crucial to understand the origin of these beliefs, their similarities and differences.
The traditions, as well as the philosophies of Christianity, Judaism and Islam are believed to have originated from the founding father of Hebrew, popularly known as Abraham, as early as in 1800 BC. Abraham is believed to be the constitutor of three beliefs that have largely impacted the western nations.
The Judaism beliefs came into existence when Israel was established as a state. This happened after the Israel tribes were divided into two groups – the Northern and the Southern Kingdoms of Judas in the period of 922 to 587 BCE. The beliefs, as well as the customs of these nomadic tribe groups, were later identified as the Arabic ones, though in most ways the Arab tribe shared some similarities with the Hebrews. But the Arab tribes did develop some unique lifestyle and remained nomadic; on the other hand, the Hebrews strictly followed the teachings that were outlined in the Holy Scriptures in order to achieve their Promised Land. In case of the Arab tribes, who remained nomadic as a result of this new development, a central unifying agent was not available to ensure that they developed an organized religion as it was the case with the Hebrews.
In about 600 CE Abraham’s traditions and beliefs were revived by Mohammed, who is believed to be the founding father of Islamic religion. He disagreed with the belief, held by many people at that time, that Isaac and his offsprings were the only chosen race. He came up with a new teaching, whereby he stated that Ishmael was the one who was chosen by God and, thus, his descendents, who were the Arabs, carried the holy lineage of Abraham. Mohammed did redefine the Arabic tradition with the new customs of Islamic religion. The new faith, which was developed by Mohammed, was based on one fully submitting to the will of Allah, whereby he developed the five duties which a Muslim is expected to fulfill in the name of Allah.
Christianity is believed to be an offspring of Judaism. People believed that Messiah would be born among the Jews. Jesus was born and he delivered many message of repentance and living a holy life according to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. Through his teachings he taught that whoever believed in him would be forgiven and deprived of sins. Jesus can be considered to be the father of Christian traditions and beliefs because the Christian faith is deeply founded on his teachings (Barnett & Paul 23). Jesus was crucified on the cross and the Christian faith is strongly based on this event.
There exist some similarities between Judaism, Islam and Christianity in the tradition western societies. One of the major similarities between the three religions is that they encourage the presence of one supreme God. Second, they state that their God is the creator of the universe as well as the unitary judge who will pass judgments to all people on a Judgment Day. The three beliefs tend to teach their followers that they should fully submit to God’s will and this should be the basic goal of their existence (Assmann &Jan 76). Another significant similarity that exists between the western traditions of these three religions is that their followers consider themselves to be Abraham’s descendants. This means that the three beliefs recognize Abraham as their father in different unique ways.
The three religions are believed to have originated in the Middle East; later they spread to all parts of the world. The expansion of these traditions and beliefs occurred due to the missionaries’ efforts. Another common similarity found within these three religious beliefs is that the leaders of these groups are very educated, whereby they have profound knowledge of the teachings found in the holy books, upon which these religions are based (Blasi &Anthony 54).
These three religions share common features as the teachings, provided in the three religions, are strongly founded on Holy Scriptures. For instance, the Islamic religion bases its teachings on the Qur’an, whereas the Christian religion is based on the Bible. On the other hand, all the three beliefs state that there is life after death and that people are either rewarded or punished, depending on the life one lived while being alive.
The western traditions of these religions put more emphasis on weekly worship meetings. These meetings are held in special worship places, which are believed to be sacred. Christians tend to meet in churches; those who profess the Judaism faith meet in synagogues; the Muslims meet in mosque for worship. The three beliefs also practice the act of fasting in different seasons or times of a year (Masumian &Farnaz 87).
The members of the three religions also reckon that human dignity, care for the less fortunate people in the society as well as social justice should be observed in the community. They also believe in existence of angels, demons as well as other supernatural beings. They do belief that prophets have a central role in passing and conveying the messages of the Almighty God to his people. Finally, they tend to emphasize the need for their followers to practice daily prayers or regular prayers to God.
There are a number of fundamental diversities that exist between the western traditions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The adherents of the Judaism beliefs are Jews, while those of the Christianity are Christians and Islam is worshiped by Muslims. The three religions use different holy books for their teachings. The Islamic faith uses Qur’an; Christianity uses the Bible; the Judaism uses the Hebrew Bible. The Judaism scripture is divided into three sections – Torah, Khetuvim and Nevi’im. The bible is divided into two sections – the New Testament and the Old Testament (Dodds &Adam 340). Finally, the Qur’an is comprised of one section. The three religions have different Major Prophets. The Judaism has Moses while Christianity has Jesus and the Islam has Muhammad.
In conclusion there are a number of similarities and differences between the western traditional of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Still they all serve the same purpose of bringing people closer to God.