compare contrast religion Essay

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Compare and Contrast essay: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism

Christianity most widely distributed of the world religions, having substantial

in all the populated continents of the globe. Its total membership may exceed 1.7 billion

Islam, a major world religion, founded in Arabia and based on the teachings of

called the Prophet. One who practices Islam is a Muslim. Muslims follow the Koran, the

revelation brought by Muhammad. The Muslim world population is estimated at more

billion. Islam is the quickest growing religion.

Judaism is one of the world’s oldest religious traditions. Pre-modern Judaism constituted

traditional Judaism today constitutes) an integrated cultural system of Jewish law,

practice encompassing the totality of individual and communal existence. It is a system

sanctification in which all is to be subsumed under God’s rule. Judaism originated in the

Middle East, but Jewish communities have existed at one time or another in almost all

the world, a result of both voluntary migrations and forced exile or expulsions.

The central element of Christianity is the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus of Nazareth, a

rabbi, attracted a following of people who believed him to be a new prophet. Their

recollections of Jesus’ words and deeds recall his days on earth and the miracle of his

resurrection from the dead on the first Easter. These Jewish Christians began the first

Much like Christianity Islam was based on the prophesies and teaching of person or

Muhammad. In Mohammed’s time (570?-632), the Arabian Peninsula was inhabited by

Bedouins and city-dwelling Arabs. Muhammad began his ministry at the age of 40, when,

claimed, the archangel Gabriel appeared to him in a vision. At first Muhammad confided

visions only to his family and close friends. After four years he began to preach openly in

native city of Mecca. Ridiculed by the Meccans, he went to Medina in 622. At his death

Muhammad was the leader of an Arab state growing rapidly in power. The third duty of a

is to pay zakat. This tax was originally levied by Muhammad ,and later by Muslim states,

wealthy members of the community, primarily to help the poor. The fourth duty is the

the month of Ramadan. During the fasting month, one must refrain from eating, drinking,

smoking, and sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset. The fifth duty is the pilgrimage

Mecca. Every adult Muslim who is physically and economically able to do so must make

pilgrimage at least once in his or her lifetime.

Unlike the other two major religions Judaism evolved form the Israelites who didn’t deny

existence of other gods for other nations, though they only worshipped one deity. Its deity

Yahweh, the god of the patriarchs, who was worshipped in a sacrificial cult centered in

Jerusalem and later at sanctuaries in the north, where a rival Jewish kingdom was

Prophets who warned against the people’s reliance on these temple cults saw themselves

vindicated when both the northern and southern kingdoms were destroyed by foreign

The exile of the Judeans to Babylonia in 586 BC was a major turning point in Israelite

religion. The prior history of Israel now was reinterpreted in light of the events of 586,

laying the foundation for the traditional biblical Pentateuch, prophetic canon, and

books. A truly monotheistic religion, called Judaism, developed from these events. In 539

the Jews were permitted to return to Israel.

In Christian teaching, Jesus is the supreme preacher and exemplar of the moral life, but

most Christians that does not fully justify significance of his life and work. Christians

that God is almighty in dominion over all that is in heaven and on earth, righteous

over good and evil. Baptism is the means of initiation into Christianity. Another

component of the Christian faith and practice is its community. The community of faith

church is the primary setting for Christian worship, although Christians of all traditions

placed a strong emphasis on private devotion and individual prayer.

Unlike Christianity Islam has two fundamental sources of doctrine and practice, which

Koran and the Sunna. Muslims regard the Koran as the speech of God to Muhammad and

that God himself is the author. The Sunna is known through Hadith, the body of

on the words and actions of the Prophet. Unlike the Koran, Hadith is not considered

The Islamic culture also believes that there are fundamental things for all Muslims to do

they go to heaven. According to Islam, God has four fundamental functions: creation,

sustenance, guidance, and judgment. The Koran declares that “reforming the earth” is the

of human endeavor. The Koran insists that individuals transcend their pettiness and

inner moral quality. Islam teaches that God sent prophets to teach both individuals and

correct moral and spiritual behavior. Muslims believe that Muhammad was the final

that the Koran is the final and most nearly perfect revelation of God, consummating and

superseding all earlier revelations. Muslims also believe in a final judgment when

will be judged according to their deeds.

The Jewish culture has much in common with the other major religions. All forms of

been rooted in the Hebrew Bible. The various historical forms of Judaism have shared

characteristic features. The most essential of these is a belief that a single, transcendent

God created the universe and continues to govern it. The same God who created the

revealed himself to the Israelites at Mount Sinai. The content of that revelation is the

A second major concept in Judaism is that of the covenant between God and the Jewish

They would acknowledge God, agreeing to obey his laws; God, in turn, would

as his particular people. Both natural and historical events that befall Israel are

as emanating from God and as influenced by Israel’s religious behavior. In time, the

was mitigated by the belief that virtue and obedience ultimately would be rewarded and

punished by divine judgment after death, and that at the end of time God would send his

to redeem the Jews and restore them to sovereignty in their land.

The Catholic Church experienced a split between the eastern and western parts of

major crisis emerged in the 700s over the use of images, or icons, in Christian churches.

eventually the icons were restored. During the 600s and 700s eastern centers were

the dynamic new faith of Islam, with only Constantinople remaining unconquered.

features of the Christian East contributed to its increasing alienation from the West,

finally produced the Great Schism, traditionally dated from 1054, when Rome and

exchanged excommunication’s. The separation of east and West has continued into

despite repeated attempts at reconciliation. Some of the most dynamic developments

in the western part of the Roman Empire, which witnessed the growth of the papacy and

migration of the Germanic peoples. The most powerful force remaining in Rome was its

who became the leader of the Western church as waves of invading tribes swept into

as the political power of Constantinople in the west declined. Finally in 800 an

Western Empire was born when Pope Leo III crowned Frankish king Charlemagne

Christianity in the West, unlike its eastern counterpart, developed into a single entity.

Church and state clashed repeatedly over the delineation of their respective spheres of

authority. Church and state did cooperate by closing ranks in organizing Crusades against

Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem. However, the Crusades did not permanently restore

rule to the Holy Land, and they did not unify the West either ecclesiastically or

Islam’s major struggle was with their expansion to other cultures and geographic areas,

were already occupied by Christianity and Judaism. During the first centuries of Islam its

and theology, the basic orthodox Islamic disciplines, were developed. The 700s and 800s

emergence of the first major Islamic theological school, called the Mutazilites, who

reason and rigorous logical rationalists, they maintained that human reason is competent

distinguish between good and evil. By the 900s a reaction had set in, led by philosophers

maintained that moral truths are established by God and can be known only through

In the 11th century, attacks on philosophy by orthodox Islamic thinkers, notably the

al Ghazali, had much to do with the eventual decline of rationalist philosophical

in the Islamic community. The Shiites are the only surviving major sectarian movement

They emerged out of a dispute over political succession to Muhammad. The Shiites

series of 12 Imams, beginning with Ali. The 12th and last imam disappeared in 880, and

Shiites await his return, at which time they believe the world will be filled with justice.

Judaism also experienced some major struggles of it’s own too indifferent than that of

and Christianity. The Maccabean revolt of 165 to 142 BC brought about Jewish political

independence from Syria. The earliest apocalyptic writings were composed during this

This genre of cryptic revelations interpreted the wars of the time as part of a cosmic

between the forces of good and evil that would end with the ultimate victory of God’s

Messianic-apocalyptic fervor increased when Jewish political independence was brought

by Roman legions in the middle of the 1st century BC and climaxed in the outbreak of an

unsuccessful revolt in AD 66 to 70. The Romans’ destruction of the Second Temple in

their suppression of a second revolt in 132 to 135 discredited the priestly leadership. In

context the rabbinic movement emerged, emphasizing communal and spiritual life. The

taught that through study, prayer, and observance the individual Jew could achieve

Despite all there differences expressed in the predeceasing sections of this essay

Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are similar in many respects, such as they all believe in

monotheism, they all believe in prophets and base their religion on the word these

brought from God himself, they all preach donation. They’ve experienced conflicts

other, which still exist today. Jerusalem is a major religious city to all these religions.

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