Similarities and Differences between Christianity and Judaism
Estimates reveal that Christianity is the world`s largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers which accounts for 33% of the world`s total population (Young, 2009). Schlosser (2006) defines Judaism as a religion, a culture, a set of traditions, an ethnicity that is embedded within Jewish people`s expectations, systems of belief and dynamics of families (p 424). He further explains Judaism not only a religion which is the case with Christianity or Islam but rather an identity of the Jewish people. There are approximately 13 million Jews in the world where 6 million of them reside in the U.S while the rest live in Israel (Young, 2009). From a geographical perspective, Jews have been through different parts of the world including middle east, Europe, North America, and Africa which has impacted Jewish culture, beliefs and practices which are important aspects of Judaism as will be identified in the discussion below. There exists a relationship between Christianity and Judaism which is founded on origin of both beliefs. Judaism considers Abraham as the father of Jews and founder of their faith which was established through a covenant with God where Abraham spoke directly with God. Christians identify with Abraham as well where their faith is embedded on a covenant between God and Abraham (Fairchild, 2010). Judaism however emerged after God`s covenant with Abraham while Christianity developed after coming of Jesus Christ hence Christianity is considered to have grown from Judaism (Fairchild, 2010). This paper addresses on some important similarities between Christianity and Judaism as well as differences between the two faith backgrounds.
1. To be a Christian and to be follower of Judaism
How one becomes a Christian is totally different from how one is considered a follower of Judaism. To be a Christian, one can be from any race or even convert from a different religion. The main requirement is confession of Jesus Christ as the son of God and a belief of his teachings as well as upholding onto them. This can be identified in conversion of Peter from Judaism to Christianity where he confessed that Jesus is “the Christ Son of the Living God” (Matt 16: 13-20). This is still applied to date where Christians who follow teachings of Jesus and consider themselves observant to these teachings have to confess before being considered Christians. On the other hand, followers of Judaism religion have to be Jewish (DeLange, 1999). To be a Jew and an observant of Judaism implies belonging to a group of the Jewish people and following the Jewish beliefs and cultural practices (DeLange, 1999, p. 292). These cultural practices include rituals, important celebrations on the Jewish calendar, food types and clothing which identify the individual with Jewish people. A controversial issue arises as to whether being Jewish can be considered as a race but from the definition of themselves, ...