Fundamental Difference between Judaism and Christianity Essay
Fundamental Difference between Judaism and Christianity
Judaism and Christianity are closely related religions that can trace their origins back to Abraham and are considered in the studies of comparative religion as Abrahamic religion or Judeo-Abrahamic Faith. While there are those who argue that Christianity is a religion that began independently from Judaism, interpretations of biblical texts from the Old Testament reveal that it started out as Jewish sect during the late Second Temple period of the 1st century. The origins of Judaism on the other hand are still unclear as there are debates regarding the source of this religion.
Most scholars however agree that the Genesis book of the Hebrew Bible is the canonical that bears on that question. Whatever the origins of these religions maybe, it is clear that they are currently considered as two (2) separate religions that differ on many fundamental issues. The first fundamental issue upon which Christianity and Judaism differ is with regard to the existence of God. Christianity believes that the existence of God is manifested in the Holy Trinity. God, according to the Christians, exists as three (3) distinct persons who share a single essence, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
God is indivisible but the persons who form the trinity are distinct from each other. This notion of God existing as the Holy Trinity runs contrary to the tenets of Judaism as they believe that God exists solely as a single indivisible divine being. The idea of the Holy Trinity is incomprehensible to the followers of Judaism because of the rejection of the notion that Jesus or any other object or living being could be “God”, that God could have a literal “son” in physical form or is divisible in any way, or that God could be joined to the material world in such fashion.
While Judaism has two (2) different words used to label God (transcendence = Ein Sof and immanence = Shekhinah), these refer only to ways of experiencing God and still maintain the indivisibility of God. The other fundamental difference between Christianity and Judaism is with regard to the idea of Original Sin. The concept of Original Sin is found only in Christianity and it makes the assumption that all human beings are born with the original sin which is derived from the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
This basically theorizes that everyone is born a sinner and nobody is born a saint. The only exception to this rule however is Jesus Christ who is regarded as the only person born without original sin. The concept if Original Sin does not exist in Judaism. Instead, Judaism holds that people have free will and have the ability to affect the course of their lives even if they be born naturally with a good inclination or bad inclination. Judaism holds that humans are born with either yetzer hatov or good inclination, or yetzer hara or bad inclination but can change because of free will.
According to the teachings in some sects of Judaism, there can be no original sin because Adam and Eve cannot be blamed for eating the forbidden fruit because the notion of evil or of sin did not arise until after the fruit was eaten. Judaism and Christianity also differ with regard to the concept of love. According to certain scholars, love, as understood in the Christian sense, is equivalent to charity and that love in the Judaic context means justice.
This is seen in this bible passage: “Whereas Jews believe that law is the ultimate fulfillment of love, Christians believe that love is “the fulfillment of the Law. ” An examination of the core commandments of Judaism reveals that love as justice means that God commands the love of his people or Israel but never professes his love for his people (Israel). The Christian concept of love is manifested by the numerous acts of charity that Jesus Christ was said to perform during his lifetime including the ultimate act of love which was sacrificing himself to atone for the sins of man.
These fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity have given rise to the existence of two (2) separate religions who may arguably be worshipping the same God. Whatever the justifications are for having such fundamental differences, there is one common ground that not only Judaism and Christianity but also other religions can agree upon, that is that one should always seek to do good for others and learn to respect the beliefs of others.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 15 February 2017
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