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March 15, 2002  382 Words

Christians, Muslims and Jews Share Many Common Truths

CINCINNATI—Throughout history, much has been written about what divides Muslims, Jews and Christians. Territorial wars have been fought and blood shed because of these divisions. But in this time of international hostility and misunderstanding, one writer focuses on the commonalities that bind these three monotheistic faiths together.

These parallels are featured in the April issue of St. Anthony Messenger in the article “Truths Jews, Christians and Muslims Hold in Common.” Here, Msgr. Joseph M. Champlin examines 10 mutual characteristics that link these faiths together. After March 26, the article will also be posted at: AmericanCatholic.org.

Although there are some very significant differences in the way Jews, Muslims and Christians worship, similarities abound. The first obvious resemblance that Jews, Christians and Muslims share is a unifying belief in one true God and creator of the world. “Christian, Jewish and Muslim believers should be very comfortable together discussing and worshipping the one God they hold in common,” Champlin writes.

Another similarity between the three faiths is a respect and veneration for holy places, although tension surrounding these very places has dominated its landscape over time. Muslims revere Jerusalem as the place where the Prophet Mohammed ascended into heaven. The Dome of the Rock, the earliest Islamic monument, is also significant to Jews because it is the site where Abraham tried to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Over the years, millions of Christians come to the Holy Land to visit locations where Jesus spent much of his life.

Other commonalities among the three faiths that Champlin examines include the importance of prayer, weekly worship, fasting and almsgiving. All three religions have Abraham as their father in faith. For Christians and Muslims, Jesus and Mary are important figures. Muslims do not consider Jesus divine but respect him as a prophet.

Champlin believes that these common threads should be used to bridge the gaps and to promote respect among the religions. “If we know and understand each other better, then it should be easier for us to love one another more. Religion, instead of being a source of division, could become a basis for unity.”

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