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The Judeo-Christian
Tradition
How the great monotheistic faiths
influenced democracy.
Ancient Greek & Roman Beliefs

Polytheism
 many gods & goddesses
who reward or punish
people for behavior

Different than the
monotheistic religions
(belief in one god),
Christianity, Judaism,
Islam
Judaism



Religion of the Hebrews
 Monotheistic (one God)
 The Torah
God wishes for people to be moral
People are created in God’s image
 Each person has dignity that can
never be taken away
 Differs from Greek & Roman ideas
of dignity based on reason and the
belief in one god
People can choose (reason) between
good & evil = moral responsibility;
individual worth
 You are responsible for the choices
you make
Christianity

Ideas stem from Judaism
 Jesus Christ
 monotheism
 personal relationship b/w God & each human being
 ALL people are equal before God, regardless of status,
wealth, nationality...
 EQUALITY OF ALL PEOPLE=CENTRAL
BELIEF OF DEMOCRACY!!!
 Emphasized social responsibility
 Love God, yourself, neighbors, enemies
 The Golden Rule
Ideas Spread

Judaism spread as the Jews were repeatedly
forced from their homelands


moved as a community, taking their beliefs to new
lands where they influenced others
Christianity spreads across Roman Empire
 Roman Catholic Church becomes the
world’s most powerful institution

Christianity became the official religion of the
Roman Empire
Islam




Began in Middle East with prophet
Muhammed
 Holy book: Qur’an/Koran
He emphasized…
 Dignity of all human beings
 Believe that strong community
bond will lead to tolerance of
different groups
 it is the responsibility of the
community to fight oppression
 give charity
 help those in need
5 Pillars of Faith
Laws apply equally to ALL, even
leaders
Legacy of Judaism,
Christianity & Islam
Ideas that shaped democracy:
Every person has the ability to choose
between right and wrong
 The duty of the individual and the
community to combat oppression
 The worth of an individual
 The equality of people before God
