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A Paper Discussing Christianity, Judaism, And Islam, And How Aspects Of Each Religion Has Affected General Social Behavior. "History Of God" By Karen Armstrong As Reference

2895 words - 12 pages

Since the time of the biblical Abraham, the dominant religions of the Middle East have changed from polytheistic to monotheistic. The monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all trace their roots to Abraham and generally agree upon the fact that they worship his God, with their own belief structures developed around it. With their similar backgrounds, the followers of these monotheistic faiths have come to view God with some attributes that are common throughout them all to some degree or another.One of the most readily apparent examples of this is the idea that God is anthropomorphic in these monotheistic religions. While this is certainly not a new concept in the arena of religion, its application has been fairly unique in regards to monotheistic faiths. In Judaism, the most ancient of these religions, the books of the Old Testament are a set of compositions describing God's actions in our world, both directly and indirectly. The Jewish name for their God is Yahweh. Jews believe that Yahweh has chosen them as "His people" and believe that they share a sacred covenant with him. By following the rules that have been passed down to them by God, they believe that they acquire a divine protection that is unique to them. In this we see that the Jewish concept of God is able to rationalize, favor, and protect man. Through the laws, the Torah, given to the Jews by God, we see that their God also has a sense of justice, which implies the ability to enforce the laws being handed down. In Judaism, the concept of an anthropomorphic God has led to several beliefs. The belief that Jews are the Chosen People has led to the development of an inferiority complex on the part of the Jews when looking at pagan faiths. They believe that since these people are blasphemous, they do not share God's favor and therefore are inferior and "backwards." The concept of God being male has also led to the marginalization of women in Jewish society, taking much of their prestige that was enjoyed in pagan religions that stressed the female role in fertility and creation. The emulation of God's actions, such as resting on the Sabbath and washing feet on Maundy Thursday, has been a major practice among the Jews. The concept of justice as delivered to them by Yahweh has inspired in the Jewish population a sense of morality and social justice. This even led to the Jews creating one of the first welfare systems in their state of Israel that was greatly admired and copied by other ancient civilizations. Jews believe their God is a vengeful, jealous God, outraged by idolatry and worshipping of other Gods. The Old Testament is filled with stories of God punishing the Jews when they strayed from His path, using armies and natural disasters as means to destroy their state and scatter them into exile. Another belief is that God speaks through unique men who act as his prophets. There are numerous records of such men, and what is notable about each of their messages is...

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