RELI 448N Assignment Analytical Essay
RELI 448N Assignment Analytical Essay
Religions shape worldviews and instruct billions of people worldwide on how to lead their lives, how to relate to other members of society, and how to interact with nature. This document gives a comparative analysis of three of the most influential religions in the world. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, all monotheist traditions, are comparable to one another and have links to each other. They have their origins in Abraham and are connected to him through his two sons, Ishmael the eldest is the link for Islam and Isaac is the link for both Christianity and Judaism. All three religions share the same geographical origin, the Middle East.
Interestingly, these three religions’ beginnings are separated by seven centuries from the first to the second and from the second to the third. Chronologically Judaism was the first to be formed and is the foundation of the other two religions. It was formed in the 7th century BCE then Christianity was formed after it in the 1st century CE. Islam was the last amongst them to be founded in the 7th century CE.
Judaism recognizes Abraham as its founder, Moses is a significant figure within this religion as he is recognized as the writer of the Torah and the giver of the law. Judaism has in its scripture prophesies that promise the coming of a Messiah who will deliver the Jews and start a kingdom that will last forever. This Messiah is supposed to be born from the line of David one of the great Jewish kings. It is on this prophesy that Christianity is built, in Jesus of Nazareth the Christian faith finds its founder and the culmination of the multiple promises of a Messiah to the Jewish people. Christianity regards him not just as a savior to the Jewish people but a savior of all humanity and the world in its entirety. They believe he is the son of God and the equal of God himself.
Others did not regard Jesus as a messiah or son of God but as a prophet amongst the many prophets that had been sent from God. Muhammed the founder of Islam regarded himself as the last of the prophets, a long line of inspired people that included Jesus.A line going as far back as reaching to Moses, going to Abraham, and even as far back as Noah.
The nature of Jesus
It is easy to believe that these religions all believe in the same God, after all, they all converge in Abraham and all believe in a single God though they may not agree on his nature. They part ways when it comes to their beliefs about Jesus. The man that parts history also parts the great Abrahamic religions of the world.
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The Jews expected and still expect a messiah to this day; however, they felt that Jesus, as portrayed by the New Testament, did not fit into the Jewish framework of what the messiah is like. The idea of Jesus’ divinity dismisses him as a candidate for being the Messiah (Goshen-Gottstein, 2002). There are those that question his Jewish heritage and submit that he was not a Jew and therefore he could not have been their messiah. There have been many efforts within Christian circles to detach Jesus from his Jewish heritage (Heschel, 2008).
Other Jews regard Paul as the person that turned Christianity into a religion; they do not believe that Jesus intended to do that. They question his claim to be an accomplished Pharisee and Jew. They see his theology as a mixture of pagan beliefs (Maccoby, 1991)with Judaism as a successful attempt to deify Jesus and start a new religion (Pawlikowski, 1986). Still, others do not believe that the messiah was meant to die before he fulfilled his mission making Isaiah 53 one of the most debated scriptures between Christianity and Judaism.
Like the Jews, the Moslems do not believe in the divinity of Jesus, however, they believe that he is one of the five greatest messengers of God (Saritoprak, 2014). They believe in the virgin birth and his miracles. They believe that the comforter he promised is Muhammed. In the Moslem worldview God has no wife, he created all things. It is a blasphemous thing to think that God would have a child with a human (Drummond, 1944). The Christian faith believes in both the divinity of Jesus (L.Overman, 2010) and that he was the messiah (Manson, 1956).
Relations between the three religions
Radical Islamic terrorist groups have been causing tension between the three faiths. The ISIS, Taliban, Boko Haram, and al-Qaeda have taken many lives of innocent civilians over the years. Not every Muslim agrees with their actions however they are very inappropriate in this age where there is the freedom to live however you want to live. Islamic people suffer from stereotyping and prejudice worldwide from members of the other two religions because of the actions of small groups of people.
Another source of tension between the three religions is the land issue between Israel and Pakistan. This issue engages Jews, Moslems, and Christians from around the world. There is often negotiation however the Jews and the surrounding Islamic nations often resort to violence and bloodshed. America, a nation founded on Christian principles often intervenes in the favor of the Jews. This may be part of the reason why it has been subjected to many acts of terrorism and has had to go on a war on terrorism against the terrorist groups in the Middle East.
Globalization is the increasing interdependence of cultures, populations, and economies across the world. By having more people from different religions interact it is possible to foster an understanding between the three groups. This can lead society to a point where there is an appreciation for diversity and uniqueness. Globalization can facilitate this process.
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all command a huge following together. This is remarkable because these religions have a lot in common and can be traced back to Abraham. Religion should be a way to find one’s creator and not a divider of society. Every religious person is seeking the truth and meaning in life. This is something that should tie together all worshippers in bonds of comradeship regardless of their religions.
Drummond, J. W. (1944). Jesus in the Quran. Sage Journals, 260-262.
Goshen-Gottstein. (2002). Judaisms and incarnational theologies: Mapping out the parameters of dialogue. Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 219-247.
Heschel, S. (2008). The Aryan Jesus:Christian theologians and the bible in Nazi Germany. New Jersey : Princeton University Press.
L.Overman, D. (2010). A case for the divinity of Jesus. New YORK: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
Maccoby, H. (1991). Paul and Hellenism. Philadelphia: Trinity Press International.
Manson, T. W. (1956). The servant-messiah: a study of the public ministry of Jesus. Cambridge: Cambridge University.
Pawlikowski, J. (1986). The mythmaker: Paul and the invention of Christianity. Christian Century.
Saritoprak, Z. (2014). Islam’s Jesus. University Press of Florida.