Columns

The same beginning — what happened?

Melissa
Martin

Thursday, December 27, 2018

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What do Christians, Jews, and Muslims have in common? The three world monotheisms, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, all believe in the Genesis account of creation; the first humans in the Garden of Eden; and the fall of humanity when Adam and Eve disobeyed the Creator. The rest of the world calls the Adam and Eve story a myth; not compatible with science on the emergence of the human species.

Two naked people, a talking snake, and a fruit tree with special powers — An analogy, a tall tale, or a literal story to show and tell how God's children choose the knowledge of good and evil and disobeyed? But the crux of the story focuses on human freedom — the freedom to make their own choice. But God also outlined the consequence of their choice — death.

Enter the Bible, the Torah, the Quran.

Bible: The name for the complete 66 books in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Torah: The Hebrew name given to the five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Quran: The central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God (Allah).

The Bible, the Torah, and the Quran believe that Jesus was Jewish, his disciplines were Jewish, and the people who initially followed them were Jewish. However, they differ on the identity of Jesus.

Christians believe Jesus is God in human form — messiah, redeemer, saviour.

In Judaism, some regard Jesus as a Jewish teacher, a rabbi, while others see him as a false prophet.

For Islam, Muhammad was the founder of Islam and a prophet. “The Quran explicitly makes mention of Jesus, one of 26 prophets named in the Muslim holy book,” according to an article in the Arab Weekly (www.thearabweekly.com/).

Enter a history of conflict, stifve, and religious wars.

The state of Israel was established in 1948. The Israeli Occupation refers to the lands captured during the 1967 war that remain under military control, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and Gaza.

The Israeli-Palestinian decades-old conflict is ongoing. Israel is home to holy sites for both Judaism and Islam. Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs both want the same piece of land.

“Israelis and Palestinians are caught in what could be called a “cycle of denial”. The Palestinian national movement denies Israel's legitimacy, and Israel in turn denies the Palestinians' national sovereignty. The cycle of denial has defined this shared existence since the creation of Israel 70 years ago,” according to a 2018 article in The Atlantic.

On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — an event long awaited by pro-Israel American Jews, the nation of Israel and evangelical Christians around the world. But Jerusalem is also sacred real estate to Arabs and Muslims.

Christians remained the largest religious group in the world in 2015, making up nearly a third (31 per cent) of Earth's 7.3 billion people, according to a Pew Research Center demographic analysis. “More babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion in recent years, reflecting Christianity's continued status as the world's largest religious group,” according to a 2017 article on the Pew website (www.pewforum.org/).

Globally, Muslims make up the second-largest religious group, with 1.8 billion people, or 24 per cent of the world's population.

Judaism is the oldest of the world's three great monotheistic religions (serving one God).

And Judaism, Islam, Christianity, all are strongly tied to the ancient city of Jerusalem. It was the capital of King David's Israel in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the city where David's son Solomon built his temple. According to the Quran, Jerusalem was the last place the Prophet Muhammad visited before he ascended to the heavens and conversed with God. Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, is a celebration of Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus was crucified at a spot outside Jerusalem called Golgotha.

Judaism, Islam, Christianity; the same beginning — what happened?

Melissa Martin, PhD, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist in the US. Send comments to the Observer or melissamcolumnist@gmail.com (www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com)


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