September 14, 2013
Christianity Traditions and Contemporary Issues
The Western religions Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have similarities and commonalities along with numerous differences concerning divinity and their religious belief systems. This paper will present historic and theological similarities, and connections of the three religions. Christianity chosen as the focused religion, information presented will show and facilitate understanding the familiarities Christianity attains with Islam and Judaism. The subject of this paper will describe and explain the issues that generate struggles within Christianity as well as its struggles and effects among Islam and Judaism within modern society. Historical connections and theological similarities
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam exist as three major world religions. Each religion attains followers estimating more than one billion with Judaism estimating more than 15 billion. In addition, historic, and theological elements affect the lives of each person individually within his or her religion as well as affecting the groups in a secular world today.
The three religions are collectively known as "Abrahamic Religions" because they trace their vast history to the covenant God made with Abraham in the Hebrew Bible; it is possible that Moses could have been a father to Judaism because of his relation to Abraham. Before kings came to rule, traditional authorities provided leadership. Throughout ancient history, Hebrews experienced their share of the art of jarring societal changes that marked the histories of most people through centuries (Elser, 200).
The Prophet Muhammad had met both Jews and Christians during his lifetime, and the religion of Islam has come into contact with both fellow monotheistic faiths throughout most of its history. It is unknown when Judaism had originated, but its place of origin was in Palestine, B.C.E. Christianity originated from the Bible's central figure, Jesus of Nazareth, around 33 C.E. also in Palestine, and the Islamic faith founded by the Prophet Muhammad in 622, C.E. in what is known as Saudi Arabia. Although it took an approximate 15 to 60 years for both Islam and Christian faiths to expand and grow continent to continent, Judaism did little to no expansion and stayed confined to Palestine.
Concerning sacred texts, followers of Islam read the Qur`an, whereas followers of Judaism and Christianity read the Holy Bible (Judaism -Old Testament and Christianity - the Jewish Bible and the New Testament). Places of worship for the Islamic (or Muslim) people are mosques or temples, for Judaism it is synagogues, and for Christians they are churches, chapels, tabernacles or cathedrals. The major concentrations of the religions include; Islam (Middle - East to Southeast Asia), Judaism (in the country of Israel, Europe, and the United States of America), and Christianity (continents of Europe, Africa, North, and South Americas). Judaism and Islamic beliefs elaborate on strict monotheism whereas Christians on Trinitarian monotheism (Father, Son -Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit). Each religion has their beliefs in spiritual, supernatural beings like angels and demons. Islam followers not only believe in angels and demons but also believe in Jinn (spiritual creatures mentioned in the Qur`an, also referred to as a genie). Revered people of faith, called Prophets, are mentioned in the Islamic and Judaic faiths as spiritual teachers, whereas Christianity labels these men of the cloth saints, reverends, vicars, bishops, and popes. In reality, these religions believe in One God, but have many names (Islam/Muslim: Allah, Judaism: Yahweh/Elohim, and Christianity- Yahweh, the Holy Trinity).
Considering God’s role in human salvation, Islam, and Christianity believe in predestination. Judaism believes in divine revelation and forgiveness for their day of prayer, Islamic people pray on Friday,