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Blessilda Beatriz E.

Grade 11 - HUMSS Block 1

One for All, All for One

There is one, only one and no other. This worldview of the existence of only one true
God known as monotheism serves as the foundation of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism,
Christianity and Islam. Each has its own set of beliefs and realities of which some are either
similar or contradicting to the others. These faiths share a common origin in the Middle East
where Abraham formed a covenant with God and founded Judaism, where Jesus Christ redeemed
humanity and spread His teachings through Christianity and where Muhammad taught Allahs
laws and wisdom in Islam. Although these foundations share some common ground, differences
still prevail up to this day leading to continuous war, discrimination and injustice. Will there ever
be a time where only peace, love and compassion exist?

John L. Esposito said, They (the three religions) share a common belief in the oneness
of God (monotheism), sacred history (history as the theater of Gods activity and the encounter
of God and humankind), prophets and divine revelation, angels, and Satan. All stress moral
responsibility and accountability, Judgment Day, and eternal reward and punishment. The three
traditions place emphasis on justice, equality and compassion as guiding principles. All
encourage and require charity works where Jews consider feeding the poor as mitzvah or a good
deed. In Christianity, Jesus example of helping those in need is evident throughout the four
Gospels and provides an example for Christians to follow. In Islam, the zakat, or alms, tax
requires Muslims to pay a portion of their wealth to those less fortunate than themselves. All
three religions believe that compassion draws one closer to God. As such, the golden rule, found
in all three faiths, exemplifies this belief. The Torah, in Leviticus 19:18, tells man to ... love
your neighbor as yourself." The Gospel, in Matthew 7:12, advises that, Whatever you wish
that men would do to you, do so to them." And in the sayings and teachings of Muhammad, the
hadith (writings about Muhammad) advises that Not one of you is a believer until he loves for
his brother what he loves for himself. Fairness and equality comprises the three sacred texts of
all three religions. The Exodus, first book the Jewish Torah allows retribution. It states, "an eye
for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" (Exodus 21:24). However, according to religious scholar, Huston
Smith, this mandate does not encourage vengeance, rather, it mitigates it. An eye for an eye
disallows Jews from seeking more than equal recompense for harm or loss. Christianity and
Islam teach that God favors forgiveness the most rather than seeking violence and vengeance.

On the other hand, these three faiths also have different views regarding certain aspects
one of which is how they claim salvation. In Judaism, it is achieved through good works, prayers
and the grace of God. Christianitys central teaching is John 3:16, or God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life. Thus, believers of Jesus Christ will not perish and will have eternal life. The
Muslims must complete the Five Pillars of Islam which are Shahadah (profession of faith), Salat
(praying five times each day), Zakat (paying alms), Sawm (fasting during Ramadam), and Hajj
(pilgrimage to Mecca) in order for them to enter Jannah (paradise). However, Muslims believe
that there is one sure way of entering Jannah and that is giving up ones life for Allah. On
contrary, this belief contradicts the teachings of Judaism and Christianity where these traditions
do not consider suicide holy, but a sin because they believe that God is the one who gave us life
and He is the only one who can take it away.

Religion not only shapes mans culture, but also the roles of women in society. In early
times, women were regarded as second class to men. In Jewish tradition, only married women
were viewed holy. Their obligation is to stay at home and be a mother that is why they were not
able to study and go to temples. In addition, the image of Eve as temptress in the Bible has
resulted in an extremely negative impact on women throughout the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
All women were believed to have inherited from their mother, the Biblical Eve, both her guilt
and her guile. The impact of Eve on her female descendants is present all Jewish and Christian
writings such as, "I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap
and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will
ensnare....while I was still searching but not finding, I found one upright man among a thousand
but not one upright woman among them all" (Ecclesiastes 7:26-28) and, "No wickedness comes
anywhere near the wickedness of a woman.....Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all
must die" (Ecclesiasticus 25:19-24). Even in the Talmud, it is stated that women are exempt
from the study of the Torah. St. Pauls attitude in the New Testament is not any brighter, "As in
all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not
allowed to speak, but must be in submission as the law says. If they want to inquire about
something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to
speak in the church." (I Corinthians 14:34-35). However in the Quran, women were viewed no
different than that of men. The Quran never mentioned women as deceivers or gateways of the
devil. A woman even has the right to argue even with the Prophet of Islam himself. One full
chapter of the Quran whose title is Almujadilah backs this, "Allah has heard and accepted the
statement of the woman who pleads with you (the Prophet) concerning her husband and carries
her complaint to Allah, and Allah hears the arguments between both of you for Allah hears and
sees all things...." (58:1). No one has the right to instruct her to be silent. In Jewish tradition,
menstruating women were unclean and impure, but in Islam teachings, they are not considered
cursed and are even allowed to be exempted from some rituals and fasting during her period.

In the end, these three religions remain as foundations of culture of different nations in
the present time. Many changes have happened, but the core teachings of these faiths still live. It
is the time to gain understanding and set aside differences to have a peaceful world. Who knows?
Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, God, no matter what we call Him, might just be the same God above
us, the one God who created us and will judge us when the time comes. This is why we should
not waste our times fighting and start reaching out to others despite our different beliefs. Lets
fulfill our missions as adherents of our respective religions and spread love in this world. God
gave us all this wonderful life. It is time for us to do something for Him, the one and only.