David A. Majd-Faridi
Islam, Judaism and Christianity share more commonalities than differences. Sometimes in the texts the reference, sometimes in the values they preach. One certain string that ties all three together is that they all worship the same God. This fact would never be apparent if one was to observe the historic and current religious justified fighting that has taken place since the rising of these religions. More specifically, current conflicts between Muslim extremists and Christians can only be classified as brutal and unforgiving, the byproduct of what should be a feud of completely opposing views. However this turns out to not be the case, and perhaps the most interesting conclusion that we discussed in class, Christians and Muslims have MORE in common with each other than they do with the Jewish faith.
We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. (Quran [Pickthall] 2:136)
This connection made from the Quran is absolutely fascinating. As someone who has never had the teachings or readings from the Quran given to me, I had absolutely no idea that passages like this were present. There is a very real, and very powerful, connection that should theoretically bind these religions more closely than is displayed historically. When I read this massage here, equating the teachings and revelations done by Abraham through Jesus I can help but wonder a dangerous question; what causes the violent conflicts between these religions to date?
The obvious answer might be to leverage around the identity of who exactly Jesus was and his relationship to God. But I would make the argument that based off of this text and the teachings that are found by Jesus and his apostilles in the New Testament, harmony should be well within the realm of reality. As was pointed out in class, both texts have references to violence and harsh responses to blasphemers or sinful acts, however I do not see the practices or viewpoints of these two major religions as direct conflicts. In other words, there really is no reason why these have to operate as if they are two complete separate entities.
When the outside layer is peeled back it is clear that at the core of these two monotheistic religions are attempting to explain and capture the same spiritual reality. They both describe the same singular God, just through different facets in terms of point of view. I suspect that there could be very powerful effects if extremists (on every side) would cease to justify horrific acts on each other and face the truth. Simply put, by the true nature of these core of each religion, each and every Christian, Muslim, and Jew is a brother or sister of faith to a considerable degree. I would even be so bold to claim that those who practice these faiths and get exposed to passages like these would also see some strong connections and agree with me. Those that use religion to oppress or justify horrific deeds do not represent the majority in any of these religions, rather they represent the evil capacity of humanity that can be demonstrated at any time, from any faith or ideology background.
Quran [Pickthall] 2:136
Spodek, Ch11. Pg 348. Section on Islam’s connection to other Monotheistic Faiths
Word Count: 595 – 70 in quotes.