Similarities and differences between abrahamic religions essay

Religious Studies

The first mention of three core religions of the world is met in Myths of History. Later Campbell (2008) was one if those who represented a comprehensive research of the Hero emergence in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam stating that all religions had the same root. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam belong to Abrahamic religions that are monotheistic. Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity counting 1. 3 billion of adherents while Christianity has 2 billion of followers (Esposito, Fasching, & Lewis, 2002).
That might suggest that three religions have many similarities analyzing the history of religious studies. A research of the meta-narratives leads to a conclusion that three meta-narratives resemble one another apart from the suggestion that, perhaps, their main characters knew each other. All of the meta-narratives that are the Bible, Koran and Jewish Bible (Tanakh) including New Testament mentioned three stages of the Hero story: living happily at home, knocking about foreign lands experiencing various ordeals and return home. The Exodus formed the basis of Christianity and Judaism being adopted by Islam later on. The idea was as follows: humankind resided in Paradise until it was banished form the blessed land as a result of disobedience to God. Then the God decided to save the world and Paradise was restored (Campbell, 2008).
Another significant similarity is that all of the religions are monotheistic. They support the idea of the one all-powerful God (the Creator of Universe). There is strict monotheism in the case of Judaism and Islam while Christianity worships the Holy Trinity (triune personification of the God). However, the religions use different names for the God which are Jesus Christ (Christianity), Mohammad (Islam) and Abraham (Judaism).
Also, the religions have another similarities associated with basic concepts of the faith. For example, salvation in all religions is possible through good works, faith, grace and righteousness.
Another central problem addressed by all three religions is evil. Evil is often opposed to the God identity and described as undeserved. For example, there is the Devil (Satan) in Christianity who embodies humans’ suffering. Also, the religions coincide in hell and holy spirit concepts. Hell is described as a place of punishment for the sins. It is named differently: Hell (Christianity), Jahannam (Islam) and Gehenna (Judaism). Sometimes it is described as the place of eternal staying (Christianity), while Islam and Judaism consider it as a temporary punishment. Holy Spirit is referred as a divine power in all three religions. In Islam it is identical to the Angel Gabriel, while in Christianity it is the third person in the Holy Trinity.
However, there are certain differences between three religions as well. The most significant differences underlie in rituals. There are several rituals in Christianity including confirmation, penance, marriage, anointing of sick people and holy orders. The rituals differ inside of the Christian faith because it is characterized with significant diversity (Esposito, Fasching, & Lewis, 2002).
Islam rituals include five ceremonies also called pillars of Islam: shahadah (faith profession), salat (accomplishing prayers five times a day), zakat (necessary charity), sawm (fasting for one month a year – Ramadan), and hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).
Judaism’s rituals include Circumcision of new born males, Barmitzvah (a ceremony that marks coming of age of Jewish young males) and worship of Sabbath. As well as for other religions, prayer is important for Judaism religion.
Among other significant differences between three religions is relation to Jesus Christ identity: in Christianity he is the second person in the Holy Trinity born of the Virgin Mary who is true God and a central figure in the religion; in Islam Jesus Christ is described as prophet born of the Virgin Mary who, however, is not divine; in Judaism Jesus Christ is neither Messiah nor a divine person.
Opinions of three religions differ with regard to Jesus Christ death as well. In accordance with Christianity beliefs, Jesus Christ was crucified and then resurrected after three days. Islam claims that Jesus was raised by Allah to Heaven and was not crucified while Judaism argues Jesus’ crucifixion occurred because of his assertion to be divine.
Another significant difference is the concept of sin in the religions. Christianity claims that all humans were inherit a sinful nature because of Adam who disobeyed the God. Jesus Christ was claimed to die for atonement of human sins. Interestingly, there is no an initial concept of sin either in Islam or in Judaism. For Islam, all humans are sinless but human nature and weaknesses may lead to sins committing. There is no vicarious atonement in Islam. Judaism is the most strict with regard to the sin concept since is rejects sin existence. Judaism encourages atonement for sins through repentance and prayer seeking forgiveness from God. There is a special day of atonement in Judaism called Yom Kippur which is sat aside for the purpose of atonement (Esposito, Fasching, & Lewis, 2002).
The main finding of the research is that three religions that were studied have the same basis and converging in basic concepts. They were created to support primary human needs including shelter for suffering humans and hope for a better future. The most significant differences were traced in rituals that could be human inventions. This conclusion refers to the unity and equality of the mankind.


Campbell, J. (2008). The Hero with a thousand faces. (3d ed.). Novato, CA: New World Library.
Esposito, J. L., Fasching, D. J., & Lewis, T. (2002). World religions today. (3d ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.