The intention of this paper is to plainly and simply define the various religions, so people will have a basic understanding of what the religions are all about.
Judaism starts with God choosing Abraham (in about 2000 BCE)
to teach Humanity about the One True God, the creator of all. He was called the first Hebrew, because it
comes from the Hebrew word, “Eevreet:” which means “to cross over.” This is because he was told by God to cross
For a little background to the forming of Judaism, the giving of the Torah, there was a famine in the
Judaism is made up primarily of the Torah of Moses, the
books of the Prophets, the Psalms of David, and the Oral Tradition, which
eventually formed the Talmud. That is
the essence of Judaism. Judaism believes
that there were no more Prophets after the first temple period. After that there are Scholars or Teachers
called Rabbis that passed on this tradition from teacher to student for the
last 2500 years. Judaism can be divided
into 2 eras: one is the
The central idea to
Judaism is that God chose Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Children of Israel to
receive the Torah and then to be a light onto the nations. To teach the world monotheism, morals,
etc… There are about 14 million Jews in
the world. About 6 million in
Whereas in Christianity, to receive forgiveness for your
sins, you must accept that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins (and
accept the blood of the Lamb of God) to be saved. That is why in
the Christian church, they do communion, which is
eating the body of Jesus (bread) and drinking his blood (wine). Catholic dogma
states that the bread and wine literally become Jesus' flesh and blood when
they do communion. As the Gospel of John reports Jesus to have said in John
6:53-57, "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life
in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him
up at the last day. For my flesh is
meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my
blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the
living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me."
Also in Matthew 26:26-29, "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup (of wine), and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it; For this is my Blood of the New Covenant (Testament), which is shed for many, for the remission of sins."
It should be noted that many of the beliefs and practices of the Church were carried over from the Pagan beliefs and practices of the
Christianity believes that while the Jews were under Roman occupation in the
Christians believe in a Holy Trinity which is God the father, God the son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. According to the Gospel, Jesus says “There is no way to the father but by me.” The biggest Proselytizers for Christianity were other Jews such as Peter and Saul (later renamed Paul) who believed that Jesus was the Promised Messiah. Eventually in 325 CE, Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire embraced Christianity and made it the state religion and soon almost all of Europe had become Christian. It was also at this time, that Christianity officiated the Nicene Creed, which made it a crime punishable by death to not believe in the Trinity. Previous to this time, there were Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but did not believe that he was divine. These Jews were called Nazarenes (Nasara in Arabic). Deuteronomy 13:2-5 states (Hebrew translation)
"If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and he give thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, of which he spoke unto thee saying: 'Let us go after other gods [including other ways and beliefs] which thou hast not known, and let us serve them', thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God putteth you to proof, to know whether ye do love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. After the Lord your God shall ye walk, and Him shall ye fear, and His commandments shall ye keep, and unto His voice shall ye hearken, and Him shall ye serve, and unto Him shall ye cleave."
This verse means that even if a prophet comes and does many miracles but tells you to worship a different god than the God of Abraham, then you should not follow him. According to Jews, Jesus called them to worship him as the son of God, and in Judaism, worshipping a man is idolatry.
There are presently about 2 billion Christians in the world, roughly 1 billion of those are Roman Catholic. The other denominations are Eastern Orthodox and Protestant. All three believe in the Trinity and the Incarnation of God in the body of Christ.
Muslims belive that Islam started with Adam, the first man. They believe that God spoke to 124,000 different Prophets communicating to them the same basic message, the belief in the One God and to follow his commandments as conveyed by His Prophets. These Prophets include Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Jesus, etc. In the Qur'an, Abraham is called the first Muslim (the one who submitted his whole self to God) and in fact, Islam is called the Religion of Abraham throughout the Qur'an. Islam believes that prior to the Nation (Ummmah) of Muhammad, the previous Muslim nations were the Nation of Israel and the Nazarenes (the true followers of Jesus). Islam believes that whomever follows the Prophet of their time period are Muslims (those who submit to God by following His Prophets). In fact, the reason why Muslims pray towards Mecca, is that they believe that Abraham built the first house of God, the Ka'ba in Mecca with his son, Ishmael. All of the laws that Muslims follow are the laws given to Abraham (not Moses) such as circumcision, dietary laws, praying, fasting, giving in charity, etc. The laws specifically given to Moses and the Israelites, Muslims do not follow such as the Sabbath, more stringent dietary laws (such as not mixing milk and meat), wearing Tzitzit and Tefillin, hanging a Mezuzah, observing the Israelite holidays, etc. Also, Muslims believe that from Abraham until Muhammad, the message of God was more reserved for the Children of Israel, and that Prophet Muhammad had come to make the message of the One God universal for all humanity! So now instead of there just being an Israelite covenant, Islam was now a universal covenant.
A little history... Muhammad bin Abdullah came from the lineage of Abraham through Ishmael. He lived in Mecca, Arabia and used to meditate in a cave on Mt.Hira outside of the city. It was during this meditation in the Arabic month of Ramadhan in 610 CE, after the Prophet turned 40 years old, that the Angel Gabriel came to him and started to reveal the Qur’an (literally recitation) to him. Over a period of 23 years, the Angel continued to reveal the Qur’an to him. The first 13 years were in