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What are The Abrahamic Religions?

Updated on November 22, 2013

A Common Root in Ancient Palastine

In comparative religious studies a common triadic division is often seen made between the Abrahamic faiths, the Indian faiths and the East Asian faiths. The Abrahamic faiths are appropriately named in deference to their common seminal prophet Abraham whose story can be found in the book Genesis of the old testament.

Of course the point is their was a time when to call the Hebrew bible, the old testament would be nonsensical just as it was nonsensical to refer to WWI prior to the happenings of WWII. With the coming of Christ, the positions of the original biblical patriarchs; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was supplanted to a degree. The Christian beliefs of Incarnation, Resurrection, and the Trinity represent the formation of a new covenant that Jews reject. Further Islam regards Jesus as an important prophet but not the final prophet while Jews reject Christ as the Messiah but merely hold him as a important Rabbinical figure such as Maimonides.

Similarities and Differences

For Muslims the final prophet would not be visited by god's arch angel Gabriel until the year 622. In a cave the prophet Muhammad would be dictated the Qua ran to him verbatim. Muhammad is considered to be a direct descendant of Adam.

All three religions hold Abraham as the the original patriarch and prophet of god, the transcendent creator and moral law giver. The narratives expressed in each tradition's holy texts contain common figures, locations, and historical accounts. They all agree that god is the creator of the universe, the ruler of history, and the sender of angels to let his will be known through prophets and revealed scriptures.

The most marked difference of Islam and Judaism from Christianity is found in the nature and conception of Christ. A strict monotheism, viewing god as a united single monolith is found in Islam and Judaism while Christians regard Christ to be one of the three hypostases comprising this essence. So while Christ is god incarnate to most Christians he is merely a prophet of Islam to Muslims. Islam considers the worship of Jesus to be idolatrous.

All these faiths are based upon a creation, prophecies, resurrection of the dead, judgment and a world to come. Jews believe this will be heralded by the arrival of a Jewish Messiah. This messiah is not god incarnate but rather of mortal man of unrivaled holiness. Christians believe these end times will be portended by the second coming of Christ and Muslims await both the second coming of Christ, the completion of his works and subsequent death, but also the coming of Mahdi who will rule in the years preceding the day of judgment.

Five Faiths?

It is of worth to note that these are the commonly indicated faiths by the terms, "Abrahamic," but a few other less mentioned and less popular Abrahamic faiths exist including the Baha'i faith.

Do these religions have more in common than you thought?

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