Three person before Yom Kippur” (GaelGroup B-18). Yom

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            Three of the biggest religions in
the world are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and many of their features and
beliefs are similar.
Christianity is the most populous religion, but Judaism is the oldest religion.
“Judaism, Islam, and Christianity have been major influences in the formation
of Western culture. They have also played an important role in the development
of Middle Eastern life” (Griffin ¶1). Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share
many similar beliefs and features: for example, they believe in one God;
however, they also have several distinct differences, such as the holy books,
and the holidays celebrated.

            Jews celebrate their religion by
following the Bible, praying, and observing holidays. Although Judaism is the
oldest religion in the world, there are only about 18 million followers, mostly
in Israel and the United States of America. The sacred text of Judaism is the
Hebrew Bible, also known as the Torah, but the most important scripture comes
from the first five books, which is known as the Pentateuch. Jews gather for
worship in synagogues and temples on the Sabbath, and also for other special
events, such as holidays and weddings. Some holidays that are celebrated by the
Jews are Purim, Shavuot, Sukkot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover
(Pesach). Purim, a holiday of joyous celebration, commemorates the saving of
the Jews from the Persians. Shavuot is the Festival of Weeks that commemorates
the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, Sukkot is the Feast of Tabernacles, and
Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year in September. “Yom Kippur is a day set aside for
Jews to atone for their sins against God. One who has sinned against another
person is to seek forgiveness from and reconciliation with that person before
Yom Kippur” (GaelGroup B-18). Yom Kippur
literally means “day of atonement,” and is a religion-wide day of fasting; however,
children, women who are pregnant, and the elderly are exempt. “Passover is the
most important holiday because it remembers the Jewish escape from Egypt after
many years of slavery” (GaelGroup B-15). Jews celebrate their religion by
celebrating holidays, attending worship, and reading the Torah.

            Jews believe in several people and
concepts, especially in God, Moses, and that the prophets spoke the truth. “The
core beliefs of Judaism include belief in one God, belief in the accuracy of
the Hebrew Bible, belief in the prophets, belief that a Messiah will come, and
belief in the last judgement and resurrection” (GaelGroup ¶ 10). A major
belief in Judaism is that God exists, and that He is one, incorporeal, and
eternal. Any intentions or prayers made by Jews should only be addressed to
God. Moses is remembered as the greatest prophet, and the words of the Torah
were passed down to him by God for other writers to write down. Also, Jews
believe that the words of the prophets prove to be true. Much of Judaism belief
is similar to that of Christianity; however, Christians believe that a Messiah
has already come.

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            Christians celebrate their religion
in many ways: by following the Bible, attending church, and observing holidays.
There are approximately 2.2 billion Christians, making it the largest religion
in the world. The sacred text of Christianity is the Bible, comprised of 73
books, and split into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament consists of 46 books about life before Jesus Christ, and the
New Testament consists of 27 books centering on Jesus’ life and teachings. The
New Testament also contains the Gospels, four books written by Matthew, Mark,
Luke, and John, read at Mass and center around Jesus’ life more closely. The
Gospels are also known as the Good News, which Jesus preached throughout His
life. All Christians are expected to attend church on Sundays or Saturday
evenings, especially during the seasons of Advent and Lent. There are six
seasons in the Catholic liturgical year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Ordinary
Time (occurs twice), Lent, and Easter. The most important week is Holy Week,
because it commemorates Jesus’ journey throughout Jerusalem on Palm Sunday,
continues through his death on Good Friday, and concludes with his resurrection
on Easter Sunday. Christians also attend church on holidays, such as Christmas,
Easter, Ash Wednesday, the Immaculate Conception, and on some feast days. Christmas
celebrates Jesus’ birth and ends the season of Advent, Ash Wednesday is the
beginning of Lent, and the Immaculate Conception is the day that Mary conceived
Jesus. Christians celebrate their religion through attending church and
celebrating holidays, as well as believing in the features of Christianity.

            Christians believe in several key
components of their religion, including that God is one, their belief in Jesus,
and that He is their Savior and He will come again at the end of the world to
judge the living and the dead. “Christians believe in one God, who is eternal,
all-knowing, and good” (Wilkinson 90). A major Christian belief is that God is
one, but in three persons. God is always present in Christians’ lives
represented as the Father, the Son, Jesus Christ, and as the Holy Spirit in
their hearts. Christians place a lot of their belief around Jesus’ birth, life,
teachings, and death. Christians believe that Jesus was born to Mary, an
ever-virgin, performed miracles, and taught the Good News, all leading to his
death and resurrection. Jesus died when he was nailed to a cross by King Herod
and the Romans, and miraculously resurrected from the dead three days later, on
Easter Sunday. Christians also believe in receiving the seven sacraments, which
are: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Anointing of the
Sick, and Reconciliation, or Penance. The sacraments are divided into three
categories: The Sacraments of Initiation, which consist of Baptism,
Confirmation, and Eucharist, the Sacraments of Healing, which are
Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick, and the Sacraments at the Service of
Communion, which are Matrimony and Holy Orders. All Christians are initiated
into the religion at Baptism, and along their faith journey, they receive some
of the other sacraments. Much of Christian belief is similar to the beliefs of
Judaism, but different from the beliefs of Islam.

            Muslims follow their religion in
several ways, mostly by following the Five Pillars of Islam. Islam is the
second-most populous religion, with approximately 1.2 billion followers of the
faith. The Islamic sacred text is the Qur’an, and “it stands in a tradition of
revelations to prophets stretching back to figures such as Moses” (Wilkinson
132). The Five Pillars of Islam are duties of each Muslim that they must
follow. They are: the confession of faith, worship, almsgiving, fasting, and
the pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest Muslim city. The most important duty is
the pilgrimage to Mecca, where over five to six days, Muslims follow rituals
first done by Muhammad. All Muslims must attend the pilgrimage at least once in
their lifetimes because it represents one’s commitment to God. Holidays are
important in the Islamic faith, just as they are in Judaism and Christianity.
Some holidays celebrated are: Ashura, Eid-Al-Adha, Mawlid An-Nabi, Eid-Al-Fitr,
Isra Mer’aj, and Ramadan. Ashura is a time of fasting, Eid-Al-Adha commemorates
when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son to Allah, Mawlid An-Nabi is
Muhamad’s birthday, and Eid-Al-Fitr is the end of fasting. Isra Mer’aj,
formally known as Laylat Al-Isra wa Al-Miraj which means “the night journey and
ascension,” commemorates the night that Muhammad went from Mecca to Jerusalem
and ascended to and came from the Seven Heavens. It is known as one of the
holiest days of the year in the Islamic faith. Ramadan is the holiest month of
the Islamic calendar. Another important ritual of Islamic life is prayer, five
times a day. “Muslims are called to prayer five times each day (dawn, noon,
mid-afternoon, sunset, and evening) by the muezzin who stands atop the tower of
the mosque” (Esposito ¶ 9). Muslims
celebrate their faith in several ways, including by reading the Qur’an,
following the Five Pillars of Islam, celebrating holidays, and praying five
times a day.

            Muslims believe in several aspects
of their religion, including belief in an afterlife, belief in God, and belief
in Muhammad. “Muslims learn that life on earth is a period of testing and
preparation for the life to come. Angels record good and bad deeds. People
should behave themselves and help others, trusting in Allah’s justice and mercy
for their reward” (Griffin ¶ 6). Similar to beliefs of Judaism and
Christianity, Muslims believe in one God, however, unlike Judaism, they believe
that Muhammad is the greatest prophet, not Moses. “God is referred to as Allah.
He is the only God in Islam and, for Muslims, the sole creator of the cosmos”
(Wilkinson 130). Belief in Islam is very similar to both Judaism and
Christianity, as its roots come from the Jews.

            Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are
very similar belief systems because they derive their roots from Judaism, the
oldest religion; but, the way they celebrate their faith varies from religion
to religion. Followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam believe in similar
people; however, they celebrate in different ways. The three religions are monotheistic,
and they all believe that the words of the prophets are true and will one day
prove themselves. They celebrate different holidays, commemorating important
events in their faith, such as Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and the Passover in
Judaism, the conception, birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the
Savior Jesus Christ in Christianity, and the holy month of Ramadan and Ashura
in Islam. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all changed the lives of their
followers, and they will continue to do so for many years to come.­­

Categories: Holidays


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