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Amr Salah

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Aren't Christianity, Judaism and Islam basically the same? How much archaeological evidence is there of similar teachings in the past?

Among countless arguments that keep recurring almost on a daily basis, specially in the middle-east, many are centered around the constant conflict between the Abrahamic religions. I found it strange that whole centuries were not enough for humans to reach some conclusions, perhaps because we are all, to some extent, biased. People simply ignored, and in some cases resented, what they didn't konw. The media played a significant role in further increasing the gap using inflaming language, fabricated and biased news while ignoring or hiding historic and concrete facts altogether.

Apparently, Jews denied Christians and Muslims, Christians denied Muslims and Jews, and Muslims denied Christians and Jews. Nowadays, many people are conditioned to take sides without even thinking. One puzzling point is that some people turned other religions to a forbidden knowledge instead of encouraging people to know. Thus, they seem to prefer keeping people ignorant rather than letting them form an opinion on their own.

I don't know if someone has contributed to any sort of worldwide work that deals with the basic similarities between the Abrahamic religions, specially the beliefs. Thus, I invite everyone who is willing to share what they know about: the similarities between the Abrahamic religions, the archaeological evidence regarding them and what you think whether any human, organization or government nowadays has any right to turn any of the Abrahamic religions to a forbidden knowledge.

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    Aug 25 2012: If we were to go back to basics, all religions are pretty much the same.In Malaysia, we have the Malaysian Interfaith Network (MIN) to promote better understanding of common values between all religions.It's best if you would visit the site yourself.

    http://www.malaysianinterfaithnetwork.net/?page=introduction
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      Aug 25 2012: Thanks, Muhammad, for your comment.
      The idea sounds really fascinating.
      I think each country needs an organization, or a network, like this. Perhaps there should be even one worldwide organization that keeps the identity of each religion separated, yet identifies the common shared basics between religions and shares the wealth of knowledge about religions with the whole world. I think it should be offering knowledge and information only, without interfering with the politics of the world (that's also considering that the current world powers probably would not abandon their seats willingly :) ).
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      Aug 25 2012: That is a good step.

      I guess the moderates might get involved.

      It will not have much impact on the fundamentalists of any faith who believe they have the truth and the other religions are the work of the devil or mistaken.

      If moderates reject the attitudes and violence of fundamentalists, that might help as well.
    • Aug 28 2012: A question?
      Am I confused, or was not a malaysian citizen recrntly scentenced to 11 years imprisonment for being an atheist? (after a brutal beating for which no one was prosecuted).Is it not also true that sharia law governs? Tell me , what do they do to a muslim who choses to convert, or to renounce his faith? Does it , "promote better understanding and common values..."



      As an aside, I would argue that all religions are not pretty much the same, deism is vastly differnt as it posits a god so transcendent it is removed from the universe itself. Religions can be passive, (the dao), or aggressive, (sikh)... prosletyzing, (mormon), or exclusive, (judaism), among a thousand other qualifications. They can be revealed to a single individual, (such as islam or the mormon faith), or as an amalgam of experiences,( the gospels perhaps, or the torah).



      You could posit that all religions were basically the same were to examine them in a psycological or sociological paradigm, but not in a theological one. Of course then you would have to back that up with a creditable psyco- or socio- explanation as to what religion was and why they were similar. As Marx did for example.



      Regards.
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        Aug 28 2012: Dear Ian,

        Firstly, I would like to say that I haven't heard of any news regarding a Malaysian atheist.Would be happy if you could provide me with any news links available on the internet?


        Ian, you have to understand that Malaysia is NOT a wholly Muslim country.We are a secular islamic country.A good percentage of Malaysians are not even Muslims.We do have Sharia courts but those are only for the Muslims.Sharia law too has its own limit in governing Malaysian Muslims.As far as I'm concerned, Civil Law rules here.

        All I'm saying is that all religion promote good behaviour.Shouldn't we highlight this fact instead of fighting each other?
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          Sep 2 2012: But we should not ignore the negative parts.

          Like death for apostasy.

          You may be ignoring: "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)

          "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

          And while looking for common ground, don't forget: "The only true faith in God's sight is Islam." (Surah 3:19)

          Again I suggest our shared humanity binds us more than different religious beliefs.

          Although the common enemy against all superstition is the atheist, human rights, science and reason. Maybe that will unite different religious groups.
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        Sep 2 2012: I agree with you 100% but I think this question's true aim is to find the common ground between us? Don't you think? As far as I'm concerned, I've met with wonderful atheists whom I never regard as enemies.

        Regarding the surahs that you've pointed out here, every surah has its history and you can't just quote the Quran like a book because every surah is connected to each other and taking a part of the surah while leaving some behind might change the true meaning of the surah.Perhaps you should watch Lesley Hazleton's video (I'll include the link for you).I hope this clears the air around here.Peace please.

        http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/lesley_hazelton_on_reading_the_koran.html
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          Sep 2 2012: Thanks Muhammad Aizat Zainal Alam

          I have seen that talk. It's a good one.

          I note when groups feel threatened the rhethoric often changes, including in religious speech and writings.

          Also, given the content is there, the reader can pick and choose what they want and claim it has authority from the most high.

          Hoping for peace, and freedom, here as well
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        Sep 2 2012: You're very welcome but I have to point out that what you're doing is what the extremists would do to justify their actions.Without a deep understanding of a certain text, one would assume the literal meaning of the passages in it.This has happened repeatedly in all sorts of religion eg Honour killings, the Crusades, killings in Rohingya etc.

        Plus , it would be meaningless if we were to copy and paste whatever we like into our brains without considering the whole body of the text.
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          Sep 3 2012: I don't assume holy books or what popes and imans say is from a god.

          But others do.

          I'm not sure if all the negatives in religions are just taking things out of context.

          I would agree some interpretations of holy texts may very likely be not what was meant.

          Other sections might be reasonably open to different interpretations. Text and speech and their interpretation is somewhat subjective. Long complicated texts are not a great way to get a precise message across.

          Also when the bible says kill people who work on the sabbath, or kill adulterers well that's fairly straight forward.

          The OT and NT are quite contradictory. Christians are happy to pick and choose the bits they want from the OT. Also Jewish people have different levels of compliance with the old law, and generally don't kill people for working on the sabbath. But maybe they should if they are going to follow gods word no matter how repulsive.

          Western society has its problems but killing people for religious reasons is not tolerated anymore.

          Are you suggesting there is nothing we would judge offensive or sexist or tribalist or racist or against modern human rights in the Qu'ran? Even if we tried to understand it in context?

          Equally there are sections in the Qurán that seem appropriate for the

          I'm not superstitious so you don't need to worry about me taking it the wrong way. It is the religious folk you need to worry about, firstly because they may misinterpret, secondly because their is probably a lot of nasty material in the Abrahamic texts.

          After all this is the god that committed near global genocide with Noah's flood. And much much more. A god that at best regulates slavery.
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        Sep 3 2012: Well, did you try to understand the Quran or the NT or the OT in its context?

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