Comparative Religions - The Abrahamic Religions

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

A cross, symbolic of Christianity; The Star of David, symbolic of Judaism; a crescent moon, symbolic of Islam.

Christianity was founded in the early 1st century AD, with the teaching, miracles, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Today it is the largest religion in the world, with around 2 billion followers. Especially dominant in the western world, today's Christianity has a wide variety of forms, beliefs and practices but all center around faith in Jesus Christ.
Judaism is one of the oldest religions still existing today. It began as the religion of the small nation of the Hebrews, and through thousands of years of suffering, persecution, dispersion, and occasional victory, has continued to be a profoundly influential religion and culture. Today, 14 million people identify themselves as Jewish. Modern Judaism is a complex phenomenon that incorporates both a nation and a religion, and often combines strict adherence to ritual laws with a more liberal attitude towards religious belief. Follow a link below to learn more about Judaism.
Islam is a monotheistic religion based on revelations received by the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century, which were later recorded in the Qur'an (Koran), Islam's sacred text. The faith spread rapidly and today Islam is the second largest religion in the world. The Arabic word islam means "submission," reflecting the religion's central tenet of submitting to the will of God. Islamic practices are defined by the Five Pillars of Islam: faith, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and alms.

Christianity was founded circa 33 AD, in Palestine by prophets of Jesus of Nazareth. The original languages are Aramaic and Greek. Within 60 years, there were churches in major cities in Palestine, Turkey, Greece and Rome; the entire Roman Empire followed Christianity by the end of 4th century. The two major splits are Catholic Orthodex-circa 1054-and Catholic Protestant- circa 1500s.
It is unknown when exactly Judaism was founded, but it is thought that it originated in Palestine, and that the founding fathers are Moses or Abraham. The original language is Hebrew. It’s reach never extended very far and is mostly contained in Palestine. The major splits are reform and Orthodox, both splits emerged around the 1800s.
Islam was founded in Saudi Arabia by the prophet Muhammad, in the year 662 AD. The original language is Arabic. Within 12 years, it spread throughout the entire Arabian Peninsula, and within 100 years, the Muslim world stretched from the Atlantic to China. The major splits are Shi'a and Sunni, both emerging around 650 AD.
Symbol for Allah

Crescent Moon and Star

The primary sacred text of the Christian religion is the Christian Bible, which contains the Old and testament. The Old Testament is viewed as the foundation and authority of the faith. It is regarded as superseding the New Testament, while the New Testament is said to be a fulfillment of the Old Testament. Catholic and Orthodox Bibles also include the Apocrypha, 13 Jewish books written sometime between the Old and New Testaments. Other rejected texts include the Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles and Gnostic Scriptures.
Scroll of the Torah

The Tanakh is the main sacred text of the Jewish faith. It contains the same books as the Christian Old Testament, just in a different order with slight differences. The most recognized of Jewish texts is the Torah, which usually consists of the first five books of the Tanakh, though sometimes is used to mean the Tanakh in its entirety, or the whole of Jewish writings in their entirety. There are also many other texts used in the Jewish religion:
· Nevi'im (Prophets)
o 21 books of narrative and prophecy
· Ketuvim (Writings)
o 13 books including wisdom, literature, prophecy, and stories
· Talmud (the Oral Torah)
o collection of rabbinical writings that interpret, explain and apply the Torah scriptures
· Midrash
o large body of rabbinical material derived primarily from sermons
· Responsa
o thousands of volumes of answers to specific questions on Jewish law
· Zohar
o central text of Kabbalah, the mystical branch of Judaism
Islam has two main texts used as guidance:
· Qur’an
o It is the most sacred text of Islam and highest authority in both religion and law. It is believed to be a perfect record of the Angel Gabriel’s revelations to Muhammad. It is divided into 114 surahs – chapters – and they are generally sorted from longest to shortest. Since the shorter surahs appear to date from Muhammad’s earlier revelations, this results in a reverse chronological order.
· Hadith
o This is a record of the words and deeds of the prophet, his family, and his companions. It is an important source of doctrine, law and, and practice.
Stained Glass image of Jesus Christ

The Trinity – Christianity is a Trinitarian monotheism, including the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost
God – the father of the trinity – supreme creator
Jesus Christ – the son of the trinity – born to the Virgin Mary, seen as the son of God
The Holy Spirit – the Holy Ghost – instrument of divine action in nature
The afterlife – belief that at the end of one’s life, your soul will either go to an eternal heavon or an eternal hell
13 Article of the Jewish Faith
· God exists
· God is one and unique
· God is incorporeal
· God is eternal
· Prayer is to God only
· The prophets spoke truth
· Moses was the greatest of the prophets
· The Written and Oral Torah were given to Moses
· There will be no other Torah
· God knows the thoughts and deeds of men
· God will reward the good and punish the wicked
· The Messiah will come
· The dead will be resurrected
The Six Articles of Faith – according to this list, to be a Muslim one must believe in:
· One God
· The angels of God
· The books of God, especially the Qur'an
· The prophets of God, especially Muhammad
· The Day of Judgment (or the afterlife)
· The supremacy of God's will (or predestination)

Practices and Rituals
Depiction of the Virgin Mary, Jesus' mother

· Baptism
· Confirmation
· Communion
· Sunday Service
· Prayer
· Bible Study
· Evangelism and Missions
· Ordination
· Marriage
· Healings
· Funerals
Jewish rituals and religious observances are based on Jewish law
· Mitzvot – commandments
o There are 613 commandments
· Rabbinical law
· Worship at a synagogue
· Eating Kosher
The Five Pillars of Islam islam1.png
· Daily confession of Faith
o Expression of the two fundamentals that make one a Muslim - There is no god but God and Muhammad is the prophet of God.
· Daily ritual prayer
o Performed five times each day: at dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset, and evening. Before prayer, one must wash their feet, hands, and face with either water or sand, then face the direction of the Ka’ba Shrine in Mecca to pray.
· Paying the alms tax
o Paid at a rate of 2.5% of all of one’s possessions
· Fasting during the month of Ramadan
o Abstinence from food, drink, and sexual intercourse during daylight hours. Exceptions are made for travelers, soldiers, menstruating women, and the ill, though they are expected to fast later when they are able.
· Pilgrimage to Mecca
o Must be made during the last month of the Islamic year. Upon arrival at Mecca, pilgrims enter the state of ihram (purity) and must wear all white. While in the state of ihram, pilgrims must not cut their nails or hair, engage in sexual relations, argue, fight, or hunt. The pilgrim must walk around the Ka’ba seven times while reciting the talbiya, then kiss or tough the black stone in the Ka’ba, pray twice towards the station of Abraham and the Ka’ba, then run seven times between the small mountains of Safa and Marwa.

· Mardi Gras – last Tuesday before the beginning of Lent
o Seen as a big party before a long period of discipline and repentance
· St. Patrick’s Day – March 17th
o Celebrates Irish culture, honors St. Patrick
· Ash Wednesday –the Wednesday six weeks prior to Easter
o Symbolic begging of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness
· Lent – begins Ash Wednesday, ends on Easter
o Symbolic of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness
· Palm Sunday – last Sunday before Easter
o Commemorated the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem before his Crucifixion
· Easter – first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox
o Celebrates the resurrection of Christ
· St. Andrew’s Day – November 30th
o Day for celebrating Scottish culture, honors Andrew, the brother of St. Peter
· Advent – begins Sunday nearest November 30th, and ending on Christmas Eve
o Mostly, an anticipation of the historical coming of Christ
· Christmas – December 25
o Celebration of Jesus’s birth
According to the Jewish calendar:
· Rosh Hashanah - Jewish New Year – 1 Tishrei
Star of David inside Hamsa

· Yom Kippur - Day of Atonement – 10 Tishrei
· Sukkot - Festival of Huts – 15-20 Tishrei
· Shemini Atzeret - Eighth Day of Assembly – 22 Tishrei
· Simchat Torah - Rejoicing with the Torah – 23 Tishrei
· Hanukkah - Festival of Lights - 25 Kislev-2 Tevet
· Tu B'Shevat - New Year for Trees - 15 Shevat
· Purim - Festival of Lots - 14 Adar
· Pesach – Passover - 15-21 Nisan
· Yom Ha'Shoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - 27 Nisan
· Yom Ha'atzma'ut - Israel Independence Day - 5 Iyar
· Lag B'Omer - Part of Counting of the Omer - 18 Iyar
· Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day - 28 Iyar
· Shavuot - Festival of Weeks - 6-7 Sivan
· Tisha B'Av - Fast of 9th of Av - 9 Av
Islam has only two major holidays that are observed:
· Ramadan
· ‘Ashura
o Voluntary fasting

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c. 4 BC Birth of Jesus
c. 26 AD John the Baptist begins ministry
c. 27 AD Jesus begins ministry
c. 30 AD Crucifixion of Jesus
c. 35 Conversion of Paul
c. 44 Martyrdom of James
c. 46-48 Paul's first missionary journey
c. 49 Council of Jerusalem
c. 50-52 Paul's second missionary journey
c. 51-52 First and Second Thessalonians written
c. 53-57 Paul's third missionary journey
c. 57 Letter to the Romans written
c. 59-62 Paul imprisoned in Rome
c. 60 Andrew martyred by crucifixion in Achaia (Greece).
c. 66-67 Second Timothy written
c. 68 Martyrdom of Paul 70 Fall of Jerusalem
c. 90-95 John exiled on island of Patmos
c. 95 Book of Revelation written
c. 96 Clement of Rome's Letter to the Corinthians written
c. 120 Didache written
• 202 Christians persecuted under Septimus Severus
• 211 Christians tolerated under Emperor Antoninus Caracalla
• 222 Christians favored Emperor Alexander Severus
• 230 Origen's On First Principles
• 235 Christians persecuted under Emperor Maximin the Thracian
• 238 Christians tolerated under Emperor Gordian III
• 244 Christians favored under Emperor Philip the Arabian
• 251 Cyprian's Unity of the Catholic Church
• 254 Death of Origen
• 303 Diocletian orders burning of Christian books and churches
• 312 Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity
313 Edict of Milan establishes official toleration of Christianity
325 Council of Nicea
• 336 Death of Constantine
• 354 Birth of Augustine
• 367 Athanasius lists all 27 books of NT
• 379 Basil the Great dies
380 Christianity made official religion of Roman Empire
• 2000 BCE - 1500 BCE Abraham and the patriarchs
• 1700 BCE Jewish people migrate to Egypt
• 1280 BCE The Exodus - Moses leads the Jewish people out of Egypt. Moses receives the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.
• 1240 BCE - 1050 BCE The Jewish people enters the Promised Land of Canaan
• 1047 BCE - 1007 BCE Reign of King Saul
• 1010 BCE - 970 BCE Jerusalem is made the capital by King David
• 970 BCE - 931 BCE Reign of King Solomon
• 950 BCE First Temple of Jerusalem is completed
• 931 BCE - 877 BCE Prophet Samuel
• 930s BCE - 590s BCE The Kingdom is divided in northern Israel and southern Judah
• 720s BCE Assyria conquers Israel and the Ten Tribes are exiled
• 586 BCE The Babylonians conquers Judah and destroy the First Temple
• 540 BCE Persian conquers Babylonia
• 538 BCE Judahites return from Babylonian exile
• 367 BCE Second Temple is built in Jerusalem
• 330s BCE Alexander the Great rules Palestine
• 200 BCE - 150 CE Canonozation of yhe Hebrew Bible Tanakh
• 230 BCE - 400 CE Rome rules the Holy Land
• 166 BCE - 160 BCE Jewish Maccabean revolt
• 142 BCE - 129 BCE Jewish autonomy under Hasmonean rule
• c. 570 CE Birth of Muhammad.
• c. 610 CE Muhammad receives first vision in a cave near Mecca.
• c. 610-22 CE Muhammad preaches in Mecca.
622 CE Hijira - Muhammad and followers flee to Medina. Islamic calendar (AH, Anno Hegirae) begins.
• 624 CE Muslims successfully attack Meccan caravans at Badr.
• 625 Muslims are defeated by Meccans at Uhud.
• 630 Muslims capture Mecca. Ka'ba is cleansed, pilgrimage rites are Islamicized, tribes of Arabia vow allegiance to Muhammad
• 632 Death of Muhammad. Abu Bakr chosen as caliph.
• 632-33 Wars of ridda (apostasy) restore allegiance to Islam
• 633 Muslim conquests (Futuhat) begin.
• 633-42 Muslim armies take the Fertile Crescent (Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia), North African coast, parts of Persian and Byzantine Empires
• c. 650 Caliph Uthman has the Qur'an written down.
• 656 Uthman is murdered; Ali becomes fourth caliph.
• 657 Battle of Siffin. Mu'awiya, governor of Syria, claims the caliphate.
• 659 Arbitration at Adruh is opposed by Ali's supporters. 661 Ali is murdered; Mu'awiya becomes caliph. Beginning of Umayyad Caliphate (661-750).
680 Death of Husayn marks beginning of the Shi'at Ali ("party of Ali") or Shi'a sect.
• 685-705 Reign of Abd al-Malik. Centralization of administration - Arabic becomes official written language (instead of Greek and Persian) and Arab coinage is established.
• late 600s Ruling classes in East and West Africa convert to Islam.
• 700-800s Groups of ascetics and mystics begin to form
• 710 Arab armies enter Spain from North Africa.
732 Muslim empire reaches its furthest extent. Battle of Tours prevents further advance northwards.