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INTRODUCTION TO THE ABRAHAMIC FAITHS Judaism, Christianity, and Islam constitute what is known as Abrahamic. o These faiths all trace their traditions back to Abraham. o The life of Abraham is most fully discussed in the Hebrew Bible, used by both Christians and Jews. o The three faiths are closely connected historically. Christianity arose out of Judaism and rapidly became a separate religion. Islam refers to itself as the completion and correction of he Jewish and Christian scriptures [regarded as incomplete and flawed accounts of God’s revelation]. o Israel- Judaism-Hebrew Shalom-hi in jew Five (5) Major Characteristics of the Abrahamic Faiths Central to the Abrahamic faiths is the belief in one god as creator and sustainer of the universe. o Early Jewish texts indicate that “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” was regarded as the most powerful among many gods and goddesses of the ancient Middle East. However, it wasn’t until 700 BCE that monotheism [belief in the existence of only one God] had become common in Judaism. o Christianity strongly affirms monotheism, but developed the concept of the three aspects of God, known as the Trinity. o The basic statement of faith in Islam attests the belief in one God. However, Islam strongly opposes the Christian doctrine of the Trinity because of the doctrines on the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. A second major characteristic of the Abrahamic Faiths is creationism. A third major characteristic of the Abrahamic Faiths is first humans, Adam and Eve. A fourth major characteristic of the Abrahamic Faiths is that each person has only one earthly life and that there is life after death. o Judaism teaches that when the Messiah comes all the righteous will be raised and the wicked will be cast into hell. o Both Christianity and Islam teach that there will be a Day of Judgment when God will judge the dead, taking the righteous to Heaven and casting away the wicked into damnation. Fifth, the prophets are those who foretell of future events for the purpose of calling people to faith.
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UNDERSTANDING ISLAM An Introduction Islam is an Arabic word meaning “to submit.” Derived from the root s-l-m, which means primarily “peace” but in a secondary sense “surrender.” Its full connotation is the peace that comes when one’s life is surrendered to God.” (Smith, 222) A Muslim is one who submits -that is, one who lives life in the way God intends. Muslims worship one God (Allah in arabic), who is the creator and ruler of the universe, all-powerful and with no equal. Today there are over one (1) billion Muslims worldwide. There are two (2) main branches of Islam: o Sunni – who comprise 80% of all Muslims [Africa, Baghdad, Saudi Arabia] o Shi'a– who are found mainly in Iran, Yeman, Bahrain, and Iraq ISLAM IS TOTAL WAY OF LIFE, NOT JUST CONCERNED WITH SPIRITUAL MATTERS. o
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