Black Spirituality Religion : The Differences Between The 3 Major Religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Destee, Nov 13, 2001.

  1. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Aqil ... thanks for this list of clear, concise differences between the three major religions in the world. I realize you've been brief, but I have questions pertaining specifically to the above, so I've started a new thread, hope you don't mind.

    1. Can you tell me briefly, do all three believe in an "afterlife?" Which ones do and/or don't?

    2. In general, do the three above believe that the other two groups are "lost?"

    Of course, folk may also debate whether these are, in fact, the three major religions (as well as any other thoughts they'd like to contribute).

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Of course I don't mind the inquiring female mind...:) :heart:

    Christianity and Islam do. I am not familiar with the tenets of Judaism. A Muslim becomes a martyr if death occurs in defending Islam. It is believed that to be without life a split second is to be with Allah (God) in the next...

    I don't think "lost" is the right word. Although the name of the Creator is different in the major religions, belief in one God is a common thread that binds all three. There are many gods in the Hindu and Buddhist belief systems, which is why they are considered non-religious by Christian, Jewish and Islamic theologians...
     
  3. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    An addendum to our discourse...

    A WORD ABOUT THE WORD:

    The word “religion” is derived from the Latin word “religo,” which means to tie, to fasten, or bind back. The words “ligament” and “legion” are also derived from the Latin root word “religo”...

    Religion really means the scientific understanding of the Supreme Controller of the Universe; to understand the Supreme Controller and to obey His laws...

    No religion – which is simply a set of externalized and formalized ideas – is indispensable. Only truth is indispensable, and truth shines with a light that is instantly and universally recognized. Unlike dogmatism, which is invariably divisive, truth has a unifying effect, because it is a manifestation of the oneness of life and being...
     
  4. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Thanks Aqil. Gosh, too bad we don't have someone contributing who is familiar with the beliefs of Judaism. Perhaps someone knowledgeable in this area will join in.

    Okay, so we've got Christianity and Islam with an afterlife. Do those who are not in "good standing" upon death, in Islam, go to "hell," as in Christianity? What fate is promised those who do not believe the tenets of Islam?
     
  5. imhotep35

    imhotep35 Active Member MEMBER

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    on the tenets of Judaism

    The Basic Tenets of Judaism
    I am a Jew because the promise of our faith is a universal promise.
    Edmond Fleg (1874-1963), France

    The essence of Judaism centers around three ideas or tenets: study of Torah, service to God, and deeds of lovingkindness.

    TORAH


    The Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible or Tanach (in Hebrew) tells the story of the relationship of the One God to a small group of nomadic people known in history as Hebrews. The Torah, comprising the books of Genesis, Leviticus, Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, relates how a patriarchal figure named Abraham and his wife Sarah accepted One God and “no others” through a covenant or agreement with this One God. In return for their “loyalty”, Abraham and Sarah were chosen to be the leaders of a small “nation” of people who, through numerous difficulties, missteps, and temptations, remained true to that One God.

    But the story as told in the Torah is not as simple as this summary. The epochal events of the Hebrew people and the story of Abraham and Sarah and those who follow them are full of deep and complex meanings that need perpetual questioning and study in order to grasp not only what happened then—thousands of years ago—but to understand what those events mean for us today. Therefore, an essential part of being Jewish means studying the story of being Jewish. And studying Jewish texts means not just knowing the “short answers” or facts, but questioning, pondering, discussing, explaining, and re-explaining.

    SERVICE TO GOD
    I am a Jew because the faith of the people of Israel places above humanity, image of the divine,the Oneness of God.


    One God, of course, is at the epicenter of the Torah. God is special to the Jews because Jews made a covenant to accept One God who is holy. By this acceptance, Jews can become holy—not because they are better or more important than others—but because through holiness they will be “a light unto the nations.”
    God expects that the Jews, for the gift of being holy, will never waver from their convenant that declares God to be One—Adonai Echad. Being holy, however, does not mean merely acceptance of One God. It requires service to God, expressed in many ways, but above all by observing God’s special gift—Shabbat—the day on which God rested and which God gave to humans for them to rest. Setting it aside as a day different from the other six days—Jews and all humans can rest from work and therefore have a special closeness to God on that day. Observing Shabbat—a “day” that begins with the sundown and ends Saturday night—is the first step in the service to God and in the acknowledgement of God’s unique gift to humankind.






    DEEDS OF LOVINGKINDNESS
    I am a Jew because for the Jew the world is not completed; people must complete it.



    ObservingShabbat, however, is a personal expression of service to God. So while it is “good” for the individual, it may have no tangible benefit to others. Therefore, along with study of Torah and service to God, must be deeds of lovingkindness. For without good deeds, done without expectation of payment or reward, there can be no holiness. And although Torah study and service to God are stated before deeds of lovingkindness, one must also perform good deeds that help make another person’s life better, more fulfilled, or holier.
     
  6. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Thanks for joining in Imhotep and Kemetstry ...

    Do either of you know whether Judaism teaches about an "afterlife?" If so, what happens to those that fail to "make it in?"

    I'd also like to know do all three groups think the other two are spiritually lost (for lack of a better term)?
     
  7. imhotep35

    imhotep35 Active Member MEMBER

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    Judaism and afterlife

    Christianity rose out of Judaism as Christ, Himself, was a Jew - from the line of Judah. In my mind, one outstanding difference or point of departure is the recoginition of Christ as the Messiah promised in the early Scriptures. Of course there are Messianic Jews who accept Christ as the incarnate Son of God. Others still look to Elijah to herald the Messiah. The New Testament is the founding 'papers' for Christians, who see John the Baptist as the herald of Christ, our Redeemer.
    On the concept of "afterlife"...I attach the following:

    Question

    I've often wondered what Judaism has to say about hell?... or Heaven for that matter?...

    Answer

    The afterlife is a fundamental of Jewish belief!

    The creation of man testifies to the eternal life of the soul. The Torah says, "And the Almighty formed the man of dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the SOUL of life" (Genesis 2:7). On this verse, the Zohar
    states that "one who blows, blows from within himself," indicating that the soul is actually part of G-d's essence. Since G-d's essence is completely spiritual and non-physical, it is impossible that the soul should die. (The commentator Chizkuni says this why the verse calls it "soul of LIFE.")

    That's what King Solomon meant when he wrote, "The dust will return to the ground as it was, and the spirit will return to G-d who gave it." (Ecclesiastes 12:17)

    For anyone who believes in a just and caring G-d, the existence of an afterlife makes logical sense. Could it be this world is just a playground without consequences? Did Hitler get away with killing 6,000,000 Jews? No. There is obviously a place where good people receive reward and bad people get punished. (see Maimonides' 13 Principles of Faith) The question of "why do bad things happen to good people" has a lot to do with how we look at existence. The way we usually perceive things is like
    this: A "good life" means that I make a comfortable living, I enjoy good health, and then I die peacefully at age 80. That's a good life. Anything else is "bad."

    In a limited sense, that's true. But if we have a soul and there is such a thing as eternity, then that changes the picture entirely. Eighty years in the face of eternity is not such a big deal.

    From Judaism's perspective, our eternal soul is as real as our thumb. This is the world of doing, and the "world to come" is where we experience the eternal reality of whatever we've become. Do you think after being responsible for the torture and deaths of millions of people, that Hitler could really "end it all" by just swallowing some poison? No. Ultimate justice is found in another dimension.

    But the concept goes much deeper. From an eternal view, if the ultimate pleasure we're going after is transcendence - the eternal relationship with the Almighty Himself, then who would be luckier: Someone who lives an easy life with little connection to G-d, or someone who is born handicapped, and despite the challenges, develops a connection with G-d. Who would be
    "luckier" in terms of eternal existence? All I'm trying to point out is that the rules of life start to look different from the point of view of eternity, as opposed to just the 70 or 80 years we have on earth.

    So what is the afterlife exactly?

    When a person dies and goes to heaven, the judgment is not arbitrary and externally imposed. Rather, the soul is shown two videotapes. The first video is called "This is Your Life!" Every decision and every thought, all the good deeds, and the embarrassing things a person did in private is all replayed without any embellishments. It's fully bared for all to see. That's why the next world is called Olam HaEmet - "the World of Truth," because
    there we clearly recognize our personal strengths and shortcomings, and the true purpose of life. In short, Hell is not the Devil with a pitchfork stoking the fires.

    The second video depicts how a person's life "could have been..." if the right choices had been made, if the opportunities were seized, if the potential was actualized. This video - the pain of squandered potential - is much more difficult to bear. But at the same time it purifies the soul as well. The pain creates regret which removes the barriers and enables the soul to completely connect to G-d.

    Not all souls merit Gehenom. It is for people who have done good but need to be purified. A handful of people are too evil for Gehenom, and they are punished eternally. Pharaoh is one example.

    So what about "heaven?"

    Heaven is where the soul experiences the greatest possible pleasure - the feeling of closeness to G-d. Of course not all souls experience that to the same degree. It's like going to a symphony concert. Some tickets are front-row center; others are back in the bleachers. Where your seat is located is based on the merit of your good deeds - e.g. giving charity, caring for others, prayer.

    A second factor in heaven is your understanding of the environment. Just like at the concert, a person can have great seats but no appreciation of what's going on. If a person spends their lifetime elevating the soul and becoming sensitive to spiritual realities (through Torah study), then that will translate into unimaginable pleasure in heaven. On the other hand, if
    life was all about pizza and football, well, that can get pretty boring for eternity.

    The existence of the afterlife is not stated explicitly in the Torah itself, because as human beings we have to focus on our task in this world. Though awareness of an eternal reward can also be an effective motivator.

    For further study, see Maimonides' Foundations of the Torah, "The Way of G-d" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto, and the commentary of Nachmanides to Leviticus 18:29.

    May the Almighty grant you blessings, success - and eternal life!

    Rabbi Shraga Simmons
    Aish.com

    Back to Ask the Rabbi Q&A Archives
     
  8. dbaraka

    dbaraka Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    There is no such thing as a jewish religion.The proper term is Hebrew Israelites (Hebrews).The so call Jews were one of the twelve tribes of Israel.Up
    until relatively recent his-story, the Jew were not considered a race or religion.
     
  9. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Thank you Imhotep for sharing this information with us. I noticed that much of it was from the web site, www.aish.com. I visited there and wrote to them, asking permission if we could keep their content posted here (I am adamantly opposed to using content that belongs to someone else, without permission). This was their response:

    Shalom,

    Thanks for asking. That's fine, as long as it says the author and Aish.com as it does, then you can quote as much as you want.

    Kol Tuv - All the best,

    Benyamin Buxbaum
    Aish HaTorah Internet
    Jerusalem, Israel
    http://aish.com/lists/ All our Lists
    http://aish.com


    :)

    It seems that each of the "three major religions" believe/teach of an afterlife. Based on what I read above, the afterlife for those in the Jewish faith (who do not live "properly") is not nearly as bad as the afterlife of Christians, who are hell-bound, if they don't "make it in."

    Aqil, what about the afterlife for Muslims who fail to live properly? Is there a "hell" for them? How is that place described?

    Imhotep, why was it such a big deal that Sammy Davis, Jr. claimed to be Jewish? Are African Americans not normally Jewish too?

    Dbaraka, Welcome! :wave:
    So glad to see you joining in the discussion. Please continue to share your views with us.

    You all are great, thanks for sharing with me. :)
     
  10. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    hmmmm ... no one has responded to my question about all 3 groups thinking the other 2 are "spiritually lost." Too touchy a subject fellas? :look:

    Thinking on this question a little deeper, it's obvious that the answer must be yes. I came to this position, based on the fact that within these groups (at least Christians and Muslims, as I don't know much about Judaism), many think their own are "spiritually lost." Therefore, it makes sense for me to believe that they'd think those completely outside their way of thinking would be lost.

    Right?
     
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