Issues and Traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Topics: Christianity, Islam, Judaism Pages: 5 (1589 words) Published: January 29, 2011

Issues and Traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
World Religious Traditions II

Issues and Traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Religion takes on many different forms and there are several definitions in as many languages used to describe the practices. For the purposes of this paper, the following basic definition will be used. Religion is the belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. Also, a personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship (Company, 2000). This paper will examine three major religions of today: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. An attempt will be made to identify the top two current issues each religion faces as well as look at two sacred traditions and study the significance and major characteristics of each.


Judaism is monotheistic in nature and has been described as a religion, a race, a culture, and a nation. All of these descriptions have some validity to them but Judaism is best described by some as an extended family (Rich, 2006). This extended family consists of four movements Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist. All of which, still find themselves victims of discrimination known as anti-Semitism which is based on stereotypes and myths and often invokes the belief that Jews have extraordinary influence with which they conspire to harm or control society. For those Jews living in the Middle East there is also the very real danger and threats from a powerful country possibly in possession of nuclear weapons. The president of Iran threatened them publicly with annihilation.

Discrimination and threats of violence Jews are a very real part of Jewish life but there are just as many positive popular time honored traditions that exists still today. One of which is the wedding tradition. The tradition begins with the husband signing a Ketabuh, the groom’s marital contractual obligation to the bride. The groom is then led to the Chuppah, a tarp this symbolizes their future home together. The bride is led in with singing and dances and then she circles the groom seven and comes to stand to the right of him. After several additional steps the marriage is blessed and ends in a wedding feast. Another Jewish tradition performed prior to Yom Kippur is called the ceremony of kapparot. The practice was first discussed at the beginning of the ninth century. It was believed that the sins of an individual could be transferred to a fowl, a rooster for men and a hen for women. The fowl was to be held over the head and swung in a circle three times while the following was spoken: "This is my exchange, my substitute, my atonement; this rooster (or hen) shall go to its death, but I shall go to a good, long life, and to peace." (Schwartz, 2009) The fowl was then donated to the poor and hoped to take on any misfortune that might have occurred to the one who took part in the ritual. The primary sacred text used by the Jews is the Torah.


Christianity is currently noted to be the largest religion in the world today, with around two billion followers. Christian beliefs center on the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the son of God. Jesus’ teachings focused on the kingdom of God, love of God, and love of one another. Today there are many different views his teachings and the meaning of some forms of love. One of the most controversial topics in the faith today is that of practicing homosexuality. The Christian bible stems from the Jewish sacred text which banned homosexuality of any kind. The bible even talks of God destroying two cities over homosexual behavior (Clark, 2009). Today many leaders condone the behavior and some are even practicing it themselves. While homosexuality may serve as a...
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