Compare Christianity, Islam and Judaism


Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are three of the most influential world religions in history. While Judaism isn't as large as Christianity and Islam, its impact on the world has still been as profound. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are sometimes called "Abrahamic religions" because they trace their history to the ancient figure of Abraham, first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.

What do Christianity, Islam, and Judaism believe about God, the universe, people, and the afterlife, and how do those convictions compare with each other? The charts below are intended to start answering those questions. As a brief guide of the similarities and differences of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the following chart compares the statistics, origins, history and religious beliefs of these three great monotheistic faiths.

Adherents CalledChristiansMuslimsJews
Name Meansfollowers of Christ (Greek christos, Messiah)Arabic, "submission"of the Kingdom of Judah
Date Foundedc. 30 CE622 CEc. 1800 BCE (Abraham); 6th cent. BCE (Pentateuch); or 70 CE (destruction of Second Temple)

see When Was Judaism Founded?
Place FoundedSouthern Levant (modern-day Israel, Palestine, and Jordan)Arabian PeninsulaSouthern Levant (modern-day Israel, Palestine, and Jordan)

see Where Was Judaism Founded?
Original LanguagesAramaic and GreekArabicHebrew
Founders & Early LeadersJesus, Peter, PaulMuhammadAbraham, Moses
Expansionwithin 60 years, churches in major cities in Palestine, Turkey, Greece and Rome; entire Roman Empire by end of 4th cent.within 12 years, entire Arabian peninsula; within 100 years, Muslim world stretched from the Atlantic to Chinalittle expansion; mostly confined to Palestine area throughout history
SchismsCatholic-Orthodox (1054); Catholic-Protestant (1500s)Shia-Sunni (c. 650 CE)Reform-Orthodox (1800s CE)
BranchesRoman Catholic; Eastern Orthodox; Protestant

see Christian Denominations
Sunni, Shi'a, Sufism

see Islamic Sects and Schools
Orthodox, Reform, Conservative

see Jewish Sects and Movements
Main LocationsEurope, North and South America, AfricaMiddle East, North Africa, Southeast AsiaIsrael, Eastern Europe, USA
Adherents2.2 billion

see Christianity Adherents
1.6 billion14 million

see Adherents of Judaism
Adherents in USA159 million3.3 million5.6 million
Adherents in Canada21 million500,000350,000
Adherents in UK51 million320,000
TextsBible (Hebrew Bible + New Testament)

see Christian Texts
Qur'an (sacred text); Hadith (tradition)

see Islamic sacred texts
Hebrew Bible (Tanakh); Talmud

see Jewish sacred texts
Hebrew Biblecanonical; called "the Old Testament"noncanonical and corrupted but useful as a inspired textcanonical
Apocryphacanonical (Catholic) or useful but noncanonical (Protestant)noncanonicalnoncanonical but useful
New Testamentcanonicalnoncanonical and corrupted but useful as a inspired textnoncanonical
CreedsApostle's Creed, Nicene CreedSix Articles of Faith13 Articles of Faith
Religious Lawcanon law (Catholicism)ShariaHalakhah
Religious AuthorityBible; some also look to church fathers, church councils, ecumenical creeds; papal decrees and canon law for CatholicsQur'an, HadithBible, Talmud, halakhah
Scriptureviews vary: most believe inspired by God; some believe literal Word of God, inerrant in original languages

see Christian Doctrines of Scripture
inspired, literal word of God; inerrant in original languageviews vary
ProphetsBiblical prophets were true prophets of GodBiblical prophets were true prophets; Muhammad is the final and greatest

see Islamic Beliefs About Prophets
Biblical prophets were true prophets of God
God & SpiritsOne God, who is a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; angels; demons; saints

see God & Spiritual Beings in Christianity
One God (Allah in Arabic); the same God revealed (imperfectly) in the Jewish and Christian BiblesOne God: Yahweh (YHVH)

see God in Judaism
Spiritual Beingsangels and demonsangels, demons, jinnangels and demons
Revered Humanssaints, church fathersprophets; imams (especially in Shia Islam)prophets
MessiahJesus Christ is the Messiah awaited by the JewsSunni: the Madhi (Messiah) will come in the future; identity is known only to Allah; Shi'a: was born in 869, is now the Hidden Imamthe Messiah will come in the future

see Jewish Beliefs about the Messiah
JesusSon of God, God incarnate, Word of God, Messiah, savior of the world

see Christian beliefs about Jesus
true prophet of God, whose message has been corrupted

see Islamic beliefs about Jesus
false prophet
Birth of Jesusvirgin birthvirgin birthnormal birth
Death of Jesusreal physical death plus spiritual sufferingJesus did not die, but ascended bodily into heaven (a disciple died in his place)normal death
Resurrection of Jesusaffirmeddid not die; ascended into heaven during crucifixiondenied
Second Coming of Jesusaffirmedaffirmeddenied
Revelationthrough Prophets and Jesus (as God Himself), recorded in Biblethrough Muhammad, recorded in Qur'anprophets, recorded in Hebrew Bible
Human NatureCreated good but all inherit "original sin" from Adam, causing a tendency to evil

see Christian Beliefs about Human Nature
born with equal ability to do good or evil

see Islamic Beliefs About Human Nature
two equal impulses, one good and one bad

see Jewish views of human nature
Salvationcorrect belief, faith, good deeds, sacraments (Protestants emphasize faith alone)

see Christian Beliefs about Salvation
correct belief, good deeds, Five Pillars

see Salvation in Islam
belief in God, good deeds
Predestinationaffirmed by most denominationsaffirmed
AfterlifeResurrection of body and soul; eternal heaven or hell (most denominations); temporary purgatory (Catholicism)

see Christianity on the Afterlife
eternal Paradise or eternal Hell

see Islamic Beliefs About the Afterlife
Not emphasized; views vary: no afterlife, shadowy existence, World to Come (similar to heaven), Gehenna (similar to hell), reincarnation

see The Afterlife in Judaism
View of Christianitytrue religionrespected as fellow "People of the Book" but have wrong beliefs and only partial, corrupted revelationfalse interpretation and expansion of Judaism
View of Islamrespected as a fellow monotheistic religion, but Muhammad is not seen as a true prophetfalse interpretation and expansion of Judaism
View of Judaismtrue religion but with incomplete revelationrespected as fellow "People of the Book" but have wrong beliefs and only partial, corrupted revelationtrue religion
House of Worshipchurch, chapel, cathedral, basilica, meeting hallmosquesynagogue, temple, schul
Day of WorshipSundayFridaySaturday
Clergypriest, bishop, archbishop, patriarch, pope, pastor, minister, preacher, deaconimamsrabbis
PracticesPrayer, Bible study, baptism, Eucharist (Communion), church on Sundays, numerous holidays.

see Christian Practices
Five Pillars: Faith, Prayer, Alms, Pilgrimage, Fasting. Mosque services on Fridays. Ablutions before prayer. No alcohol or pork. Holidays related to the pilgrimage and fast of Ramadan.

see Muslim rituals and practices
Circumcision at birth, bar/bat mitzvah at adulthood, observing Sabbath, wearing tallit and tefilin, prayer services

see Jewish Rituals and Practices
head covered during prayergenerally noyesgenerally yes (especially men)
Major HolidaysLent, Holy Week, EasterEid-al-Fitr, Eid-al-Adha, month of RamadanYom Kippur, Days of Awe, Passover
Other HolidaysChristmas, saints daysMawlid, AshuraChanukah, Purim
SymbolsCross, dove, anchor, fish, alpha/omega, chi rho

see Christian Symbols
Star and crescent; name of Allah in Arabic; color green; mosque silhouette.

see Islamic symbols
Star of David, chai, hamsa, tree

see Symbols in Judaism
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