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Why A Birthplace Matters Essay

1010 words - 5 pages

Turn on the news. Most likely, one of the top stories will be an update on a conflict occurring in the Middle East. Throughout history, the Middle East has been a land of conflict and violence. Although it is difficult to pinpoint the source of all of this strife, one could argue that because the Middle East, especially Jerusalem, is a place of importance for three major world religions, this region is bound to have strained relationships. However, in order to fully understand this region, it is necessary to have an understanding of the three religions that lay claims to the Middle East. Those religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Although on the surface, these three religions seem quite unrelated, they are actually intricately bound together and very similar. No matter how different the practices and beliefs of Jews, Christians, and Muslims may seem, these three religions are similar because they all began in the same region and built upon similar beliefs. Since the Middle East is the birthplace of three related major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, these religions share similarities that bind them together, such as monotheism, prophets and teachings, similarities that are very important in Middle Eastern politics today.
Judaism grew out of the beliefs of the ancient Hebrew people. “The Hebrews believed that God had made a covenant, or binding agreement, with Moses. Under this agreement, the Hebrews accepted God as the ruler of heaven and Earth. In return, God made the Hebrews the chosen people on Earth (Ahmad 563).” This covenant reinforced the monotheism of the Hebrews; they fully accepted the idea that there was only one God (564). “The Hebrews recorded their early history as well as the moral and religious laws of God in their sacred book, the Torah (564).” In addition to the Ten Commandments, the Torah contained the moral guidelines of the Hebrews. These elevated codes led to Judaism’s ethical world view (564). While many prophets existed during the times of the Hebrews, Abraham became known as the Father of the Jewish people. Judaism became the building block for the two religions to come that would build off of its beliefs and teachings. In today’s world, Jews still revere the beliefs and practices of the ancient Hebrews. Like their ancestors, they also consider Israel, particularly the holy city of Jerusalem, to be sacred (Blackadar 6). When Zionism took off in the later part of the nineteenth century, historic religious ties drew the long-displaced Jews to yearn to return to their spiritual homeland (Blackadar 6).
Hundreds of years after Judaism began, the Middle East was once again the birthplace of a religion that would one day be an important part of international politics (Ahmad 565). Christianity, which was founded by Jesus Christ, sprouted from Jewish traditions (565). Like Jews, Christians are also monotheistic, however Christians believe in one God in three persons (565). Christians believe in...

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