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The Abrahamic Faiths:
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Global Issues
Mr. Joshi
Teacher’s Note
► In
this lesson, we’ll be looking at the religious
beliefs of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
► The
population and influence of people of these
faiths is immense and therefore worth studying.
► The
aim of this lesson is not to convince you about
the truthfulness of these beliefs, but rather to help
you understand what people of these faiths
believe to be true. Much of world history in the
last 2000 years has been a result of these beliefs.
The Levant
The fertile Crescent
Can you see
why the
Middle East
was the
of Trade”?
Why might
that also
help to
explain why
Map of
How Abraham Changed World History!
► He
is considered the founding father by Jews,
Christians, and Muslims!
► He
began a tradition of monotheism – the idea
that there is only ONE God and that one God must
be obeyed by EVERYONE. He started the idea
that there was only ONE TRUE WAY to God.
The Sacrifice of Abraham
► According
to the Jewish and Christian traditions,
God called Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to
show his unwavering obedience. Abraham
unhesitatingly went through the preparations, but
God stopped at the last moment and allowed
Abraham to sacrifice a sheep instead, having been
convinced by Abraham’s obedience.
► According
to Muslims, the
story of Abraham’s sacrifice
is the same except it is
Ishmael that was almost
sacrificed instead of Isaac.
The meaning of Abraham for Judaism
As recorded in the Torah, Jews believe they are the
“chosen people of God” because of what God told
"Go forth from your native land and from your father's
house and I will make of you a great nation. And I will
bless those who bless you and curse him that curses you
and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by
Thus, some Jewish people believe the land that is Israel
today was given to them by God and cannot be taken or
given away.
The meaning of Abraham for Christians
► The
sacrifice that Abraham was willing to do
of his son Isaac was seen by Christians as
the sacrifice Christ did for all humans.
► The
“descendants” of Abraham are anyone
who follows the words of the one God –
connection to Abraham need only be
through faith, not through blood.
The meaning of Abraham for Muslims
► He
is an excellent role model of complete
submission of a human being to the will of
God. This is the literal meaning of the word
Judaism – The Torah and Talmud
► The
Torah is the holiest of scriptures for
Jewish people. They are referred to as “The
Old Testament” by Christians and contain a
history of creation (Genesis) as well as
stories of ancient Hebrew rulers such as
Moses and David.
► The
Talmud is a collection of writings and
commentary on the stories of the Torah.
Moses and the 10 Commandments
There is no god except God.
Thou shall not make sculptured images of God.
Thou shall not swear falsely by the name of God.
Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Honor they father and mother.
Thou shall not murder.
Thou shall not commit adultery.
Thou shall not steal.
Thou shall not bear false witness against your
10. Thou shall not covet (desire) anything that is
your neighbor’s.
Highlights from the Life of Christ
► Born
into a Jewish family (about 3 C.E.)
who saw himself as Jewish throughout his
► Worked as a carpenter.
► Was baptized at the age of 30 by John the
► Ministered for perhaps 3 years by seeking to
persuade Jewish people to follow him.
► Arrested and crucified by Roman authorities
as a troublemaker.
What does “Jesus Christ” mean?
► The
name "Jesus" is the English version of
the Greek Ίησους (Iēsous), which itself
comes from the Hebrew ‫( יהושע‬Yehoshua)
which means “God”.
► The
name “Christ” is a title derived from the
Greek Χριστός (Christós), meaning the
"Anointed One," which corresponds to the
Hebrew-derived “Messiah”
Christian Teachings
► Primary
Source – Luke 6:27-31
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate
you, bless those who curse you, and pray for
those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on
the cheek, let him hit the other one too; if
someone takes your coat, let him have your
shirt as well. Give to everyone who asks you
for something, and when someone takes what
is yours, do not ask for it back. Do for others
just what you want them to do for you.”
What do you think of this quote?
Christian Beliefs about Jesus
► Jesus
was virgin-born, performed miracles,
and ascended to heaven after his
crucifixion. Christians believe Jesus will
return to Earth one day.
► Jesus
is divine as the Son of God, and fulfills
the prophesy of the Messiah from the Old
Testament (the Torah for Jewish people).
How do we know about Jesus?
► The
main sources of information regarding
Jesus' life and teachings are the Gospels
(testimonies) of some of his followers –
Luke, Matthew, and Mark. In many places,
these Gospels agree, but in some instances,
they do not.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Primary Source – Luke 10:25-37
A man once asked, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal
life?" Jesus answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your
heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with
all your mind.” Jesus added, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
But, the man asked, “And who is my neighbor?“
In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to
Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped
him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half
dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and
when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too,
a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by
on the other side.
(continued on next slide)
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the
man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on
him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds,
pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on
his own donkey, took him to an inn in Jericho and
took care of him. The next day he took out two
silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look
after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will
reimburse you for any extra expense you may
Jesus asked, "Which of these three do you think
was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands
of robbers?“ The man replied, “The one who had
mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do
From the New International Version of the Bible
Parable of the Prodigal Son
Primary Source: Luke 15:11-32 (Note: This is my paraphrase)
A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father,
‘Father, give me my share of your property.’ A few days after
the father did so, the younger son gathered all of his
belongings and traveled into a far country. There he wasted
his money with unwise living. After he had spent everything,
a severe famine began in that country and he began to be in
need. The younger son worked as a laborer feeding the pigs
of a farmer. Yet, his pay was little and prices for food were
high. He could not find anyone to help him.
The younger son thought, “How many hired servants of my
father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with
hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him,
"Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I
am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one
of your hired servants."‘ He went to visit his father.
Parable of the Prodigal Son (cont.)
But while he was still far off, his father saw him,
and was moved with compassion, and ran to
hug him. The younger son said to him, ‘Father,
I have sinned against heaven, and in your
sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your
son.’ But the father said to his servants, “Bring
out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring
on his hand, and shoes on his feet. Bring the
fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat, and
celebrate; for this, my son, was dead, and is
alive again. He was lost, and is found.” They
began to celebrate.
The man’s elder son was in the field. As he came near to
the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of
the servants to him, and asked what was going on. He
was told, “Your brother has come, and your father has
killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back
safe and healthy.” But the elder son was angry, and would
not go in. The father came out, and begged him.
But he answered his father, “Behold, these many years I
have served you, and I never disobeyed a command of
yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might
celebrate with my friends. But when this, your son, came,
who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed
the fattened calf for him.” The father said to him, “Son,
you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But
it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your
brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is
Christian Behavior
► Thinking
about the parables of Christ, what
kind of behavior would Christ favor? Not
► To
what extent have humans behaved in
this manner?
Challenges to Monotheistic
Theories of God
► Is
God all knowing? If so, does God know
the future? If so, is there free will?
► Is
God all good? If so, why does he let bad
things happen to innocent people?
What should happen when religious
beliefs and government laws
First Case in Point:
Polygamy and Underage Marriage
1st Amendment in the U.S.
Congress shall make no law respecting
an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of
the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
Government for a redress of grievances.
According to the beliefs of this religious group, it is a common practice to reassign
women and children to different families since they are seen as church property.
Second Case in Point:
Medical Procedures
► Members
of the Christian Science Church
believe that sickness is caused by fear,
ignorance, or sin. Prayer, rather than
medicine (drugs or surgery), is the choice
that many members make to get better.
► Members
of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
interpret the Bible to say that blood is
sacred and do not participate in
Third Case in Point:
Free Speech/Hate Speech