Updated: May 9, 2020
One thing that I have learnt over the years is that what troubles people most in today’s world and surrounding modern day conflicts appears to be the distortion of monotheism and hatred more than anything else.
So I decided that this lesson’s objective should be to simply define monotheism and summarize the beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam without any distortion (the action of giving a misleading account or impression) so that when preparing a risk assessment where religion is a factor, students should concentrate on radical beliefs rather than association (a connection or cooperative link between people or organizations).
There is no explaining hatred as that is an unfathomable and irrational emotion especially when it invokes feelings of animosity, anger, or resentment, which can be directed against certain individuals, groups, entities, objects, behaviours, concepts, or ideas.
Monotheism is belief in a single god. Three of the most well-known monotheistic religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Although all three praise the same omnipotent God, their beliefs and doctrines differ. A narrower definition of monotheism is the belief in the existence of only one god that created the world, is all-powerful and intervenes in the world
Judaism is one of the oldest religions still existing today. Most Jews are found in Israel and North America. Two of the most important aspects of Judaism are the Covenant, a special relationship with God, and the Ten Commandments, a set of principles regarding worship and ethics given to the prophet Moses.
The sacred text of Judaism is the Hebrew Bible, which most people know as the Old Testament of the Bible. The first five chapters, known as the Torah, are particularly significant to the Jewish people.
Jewish identity arises primarily from the culture and traditions of their people. Jewish beliefs vary widely on theological matters. However, there are three main 'movements' that represent certain theological beliefs: Orthodox Judaism, which is very traditional; Reform Judaism, which is the most liberal; and Conservative Judaism, which is the middle ground between the other two denominations.
Christianity is the most widespread religion in the world, though most Christians live in Europe or the Americas. Christians believe in God as a Holy Trinity. The name and symbol of Christianity both come from the prophet Jesus of Nazareth, known as Jesus Christ, whom they believe to be the Son of God. Most Christians believe those who accept salvation through Jesus and follow the Ten Commandments will be rewarded in Heaven. Sinners who do not repent or who reject God will be punished in Hell.
The sacred text of Christianity is the Holy Bible, which consists of the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament - which, among other things, narrates the life of Jesus.
Over time, Christianity has taken various forms, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and Protestantism. Today, there are hundreds of Protestant denominations. In the U.S., dozens of these denominations - the Baptists and Methodists are the two largest that command sizable followers.
Islam is the second largest religion in the world. Although there are many Muslims who live in the Middle East, there are also high populations in Northern Africa, Indonesia, and the U.S. The most important aspects of Islam can be summarized in their Five Pillars: recognizing Allah as the one, true God and Muhammad as God's messenger, daily prayer, almsgiving to the needy, fasting during Ramadan, and pilgrimage to Mecca.
The sacred text of Islam is the Qur'an, an Arabic word that means recitation. This name is derived from what Muslims believe was the very first message Muhammad received from God, which was in the form of a command: Recite! (in Arabic, iqra' ).
One of the conflicts that has at times crippled the lands of the Middle East is the Islamic Sunni/Shiite divide which is one of the defining conflicts of Islamic culture that still exists today with the Shiite minority mainly residing in Iran, as well as Southern Iraq and Southern Lebanon.
Like Christianity, the faith of Islam has broken into sects and offshoots. Two of the most controversial, yet well-known, of its offshoots are Sufism and the Bahai Movement (outlawed in Iran). Unlike Orthodox Islam, these offshoots believe that Muhammad's teachings were not the final revelations of Allah.