Religion and mythology go hand in hand. Religion is a belief and practice system, whereas mythology is the study of myths. But nobody can deny that myths are a significant part of any religion. Mythology help understands religion better. There are countless religions in the world, and with that, we have a myriad of mythologies.
Today, we are going to tell you about two religions which are different and similar, simultaneously. We are talking about Christianity and Judaism. You might be wondering how these two are the same? Well, they are, because of some facts. One is, Christianity originated from Judaism. Judaism has had a strong influence on Christianity and Islam. And second, both Judaism and Christianity believe in One God. Now, coming to the differences, they do not have many differences in mythology, but how it shaped each religion. The major distinction is, Christianity was founded by Jesus and Judaism is an Abrahamic religion. Let us look some more:
Beliefs about Jesus
There are different views about Jesus Christ in Christianity and Judaism. Christians view Jesus as God in flesh – a human being. Jews believe Jesus as the Prophet of God and not God himself. Christians believe Jesus is a messiah sent by God to sacrifice himself for our sins. However, Jews believe that Christ was not a messiah but a normal human being born to ordinary Jewish parents.
Christianity have faith in the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On one hand, according to Christians, the Trinity are three different forms of God. On the other hand, Jews have faith in one god, and all humans are equal before God. God resides within every person. Jews look at all humans equally. Jews believe in divine revelation through prophets including Jesus. In contrast, Christians believe in divine revelation through Jesus and prophets. According to Jews, just like Abraham, Moses, and David, Jesus is also the prophet of God and not God himself. Also, Christians assume the second incoming of Jesus whereas Jews do not.
Bible and Tanakh
Christians follow the Bible having two sections. These sections are The Old Testament and The New Testament. The Jews follow the text in the Hebrew Bible called the Tanakh. The similarity between the two scriptures is that both these books have the Old Testament. The Old Testament contains the creation of the world known as Genesis. It also has stories about the exodus of Israelites and how a Messiah will come to the end of the world. Whereas the New Testament contains the teachings of Jesus Christ and about the Christian church. It also contains stories about the last battle between good and evil and the end of the world.
Christianity and Judaism have completely different beliefs and myths about the underworld and the devil. According to Judaism, Satan is not a physical being ruling the underworld. Satan is an illusionary obstacle in life. He is the “accuser” or the “ tempter” who tempts people to commit sins. He did it with Adam and Eve and even with Abraham. However, Satan has to take permission from God to interfere in a mortal’s life.
But the concept of Satan changes in Christianity. In Christianity, they feel that Satan or the devil rules the underworld. However, in stories, the devil was not always the devil. He was an archangel of heaven. His name was Lucifer. Lucifer was the most beautiful one, God has created. He was perfect in every way without a hint of imperfection. But, all this glory got into his head. He started to believe that he was equal to God and should take over.
The battle of angels took place. Michael, another archangel defeats Lucifer in the war of heaven. Furthermore, he and his followers were banished to the underworld as punishment. However, Lucifer was full of revenge and did not learn his lesson. He turned dark, became Satan from an archangel. It is believed that Lucifer, turned into a serpent in the Garden of Eden and tempted Adam and Eve. Unlike Jewish beliefs, Satan or Lucifer do not take permission from God before tempting somebody to commit a sin.
Binding of Isaac
The Hebrew Bible tells the story about the time when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to him. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son. He tied Isaac to the altar and was about to sacrifice him when God stopped him. Abraham sacrificed a ram instead. God said to Abraham that it was his test and now he knows that he is afraid of God. Now the Jews and Christians have different versions of this story. Jews perceived that God never had an intention to make Abraham sacrifice his son. He taught humankind that any kind of human sacrifice is not acceptable in their religion. The thought of killing Isaac never crossed God’s mind. Also, Abraham was not going to sacrifice his son. He understood God’s command to raise his son as an offering.
Whereas, this story is interpreted differently in Christianity. First of all, it is mentioned in the New Testament in Christianity. Therefore, have Jesus as God. They considered that Abraham would have sacrificed Isaac and God will bring him back from the dead. For Abraham, it was the faith in God to bring his son. Moreover, the binding of Isaac is also associated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when the two went up there, Isaac asked Abraham about the lamb offering they were going to make. Abraham responded, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” But, instead of Isaac, a ram was sacrificed.
There are so many other mythological stories like these. Each story has different teaching and lessons in them. Also, they make us curious about our ancestors and history. The mythological stories are like oceans where you lose yourself and learn so many things. Amidst all this, do not forget the important lesson that these stories tell us. The lesson of good over evil and being a good human. All the religions in our world are different from each other in many things. But the lesson of humanity is the same. And, how we should never forget the virtue of humanity within us. It is humanity that makes us human and we should never lose it within us. Let us always thrive to spread love in this world.