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World History: Lesson 5: Major Western Religions (Judaism, Christianity, & Islam)
Religion
Judaism
Origin
The religion
of the
Hebrew
tribes
c. 1300 BC
Christianity
Founded by
Jesus Christ
in Israel, c.
30 AD.
Followers
God
Purpose of life
Afterlife
Practices
Sacred texts
15 million
worldwide,
heaviest
concentrations
are in Israel
and the United
States
One God,
Yahweh
(YHVH) or
Jehovah
Obey God's
commandments,
live ethically.
Not historically
emphasized.
Beliefs vary
from no
afterlife to
shadowy
existence to
the World to
Come (similar
to heaven).
Tanakh (including
the Torah): roughly
equivalent to the
Old Testament of
the Christian Bible
2 billion
worldwide,
heaviest
concentrations
are in the
Americas and
Europe
One God
who is a
Trinity of
Father,
Son, and
Holy Spirit
Circumcision at
birth, bar/bat
mitzvah at
adulthood.
Synagogue
services on
Saturdays. No
pork or other
non-kosher
foods. Holidays
related to
historical
events.
Prayer, church
on Sundays,
numerous
holidays.
Most observe
at least some
of the Seven
Sacraments:
baptism,
Communion
(or Eucharist),
confession,
confirmation,
marriage,
ordination,
Last Rites
Five Pillars:
Faith, Prayer,
Alms,
Pilgrimage,
Fasting.
Mosque
services on
Fridays.
Ablutions
before prayer.
No alcohol or
pork. Holidays
related to the
pilgrimage and
fast of
Ramadan.
Focus is more on
this life than the
next.
All have sinned
and are thereby
separated from
God. Salvation is
through faith in
Christ and, for
some,
sacraments and
good works.
"Do unto others
as you would
have them do
unto you."
Islam
Founded by
the Prophet
Muhammad,
622 AD,
Saudi Arabia
1.3 billion
worldwide,
heaviest
concentrations
are in South
Asia and Africa
One God
(Allah)
Humans must
submit (islam) to
the will of God to
gain Paradise
after death.
"There is no God
but Allah and
Muhammad is
His prophet."
Eternal
Heaven or Hell
(or, in the
Catholic
branch,
temporary
purgatory to
atone for sins
before gaining
entry to
Heaven).
Paradise or
Hell.
Talmud:
interpretation and
application of
Jewish law to
everyday life
situations
The Bible
(Old Testament:
focused on the
patriarchs such as
Abraham and
Moses; New
Testament focused
on the life and
teachings of Jesus)
Qur'an (Scripture);
Hadith (tradition)
The combination is
the basis for
Sharia, the code by
which many
Muslims live their
lives and on which
the legal systems
of many Islamic
nations are based.
Major Divisions
Orthodox: original form,
most traditional
Reformed: developed in
1600s to modernize the
faith
Conservative: developed
in 1700s as a middle
ground - not as
traditional as Orthodox or
as liberal as Reformed
Catholic: oldest form,
highly hierarchical, led by
an infallible pope.
Orthodox: Eastern form
which split from Catholics
in 1054 AD; no pope.
Protestant: developed in
1500s, rejected much of
the ritual and traditions
of the Catholic Church;
many different forms, no
pope
Sunni: largest
denomination, believe
any devout man may lead
Shiite: believe that the
descendants of
Muhammad hold a
special role as spiritual
and political leaders
Sufi: by far the smallest
denomination, mystics