Homework Help: Social Studies: Religion: Judaism and Christianity


by Court Canary

Judaism and Christianity are two of the world's greatest religions. Both of these religions, along with Islam, are Abramic religions (meaning that they are descendants of Abraham). In fact, Christianity originated from Judaism, so the two religions share the same early history. Jewish followers read from the Torah. Christians read the same exact scriptures, but they call them the Old Testament.

Christians separated from the Jews soon after Jesus Christ had died. Throughout the Old Testament or Torah, God kept promising a messiah, who would save the Jews. Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah. On the other hand, the Jews are still waiting for the Messiah to come.

Some of the Jews who were alive at the time of Jesus didn't accept him as the messiah. A few Jews were involved in the crucifixion of Jesus, and so for many centuries afterwards, the Jews were blamed entirely for his death. During certain periods of time, Christians even persecuted the Jews for their beliefs and many other reasons.

On the other hand, those that did except Jesus as the Messiah, including his disciples, formed the Jewish-Christian movement shortly after his death, and believed themselves to be a reform movement within the religion of Judaism. They continued to worship in the same places as Jews did, and still followed many of the same traditions. After a while, the Jewish rabbis began to ban Christians from their temples, and this is when the two religions began to separate even more. Christianity eventually developed into its own religion, with its own traditions and beliefs.

Both religions have many different forms. In Judaism, there are 5 basic forms: Conservative Judaism, Humanistic Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Reconstuctionist Judaism, and Reform Judaism. The oldest and most conservative of these is Orthodox, who follow the original form of Judaism, and hold very strict beliefs. Conservative Judaism began in the mid-nineteenth century, being against that of Reform Judaism. It is a cross between Reform and Orthodox. The Humanistic and Reconstructionist forms are fairly new and are still very small groups.

As for the different forms of Christianity, there are over 1,000. The main forms of Christianity are Eastern Orthodox, Protestant churches, and Roman Catholic. The largest of these churches is Roman Catholic, approaching almost 1 billion members. The Protestant churches, rising out of protests against the Roman Catholic church in the 16th century, and beliefs of these faiths, although not too different from Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, are believed to be blasphemy by other forms of Christianity. These forms are divided by the way the people interpret the Bible.

As one of the world's largest religions, Christianity has over 2,000 million followers in all parts of the world, making up 33% of the world's population. Judaism, contrary to the huge number of Christians, has only 12 million followers worldwide. The lack of Jews can be partly blamed on the Holocaust. If the Holocaust hadn't happened, there would now be between 25 and 35 million Jews in the world. Most of the world's Jewish population lives in Israel or the United States. Even though it has such a small amount of followers, Judaism has had a major impact on the world, including that several religions developed from it. Christianity is the biggest out of all the religions that originated from Judaism. It may seem that these two major world religions don't have anything in common at all, but they do have a lot in common after all.

Homework Help: Social Studies: Religion