Compare Christianity, Islam and Judaism

Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are three of the most influential world religions in history and share a common heritage. They are sometimes called "Abrahamic religions" because they trace their history to the ancient figure of Abraham, who is first mentioned in the Jewish Bible.

What do these great monotheistic faiths believe about God, the universe, human nature, and the afterlife? What do have in common and where do they differ? This comparison chart to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism is intended as a starting point to answering these questions.

Christianity   Islam   Judaism  
etymology followers of Christ (Greek christos, Messiah) Arabic islam, "submission" (to the will of God) of the Kingdom of Judah
adherents called Christians Muslims Jews
date founded c. 30 CE 622 CE c. 1800 BCE (Abraham); 6th cent. BCE (Pentateuch); or 70 CE (destruction of Second Temple)
place founded Southern Levant (modern-day Israel, Palestine, and Jordan) Arabian Peninsula Southern Levant (modern-day Israel, Palestine, and Jordan)
languages Aramaic and Greek Arabic Hebrew
founders Jesus, Peter, Paul Muhammad Abraham, Moses
expansion within 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 China little expansion; mostly confined to Palestine area throughout history
schisms Catholic-Orthodox (1054); Catholic-Protestant (1500s) Shia-Sunni (c. 650 CE) Reform-Orthodox (1800s CE)
branches Roman Catholic; Eastern Orthodox; Protestant Sunni (majority), Shi'a, Sufism Orthodox, Reform, Conservative
main locations Europe, North and South America, Africa Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia Israel, Eastern Europe, USA
adherents (world) 2.2 billion 1.6 billion 14 million
adherents (USA) 159 million 3.3 million 5.6 million
adherents (Canada) 21 million 500,000 350,000
adherents (UK) 51 million 320,000
texts Bible (Hebrew Bible + New Testament) Qur'an (sacred text); Hadith (tradition) Hebrew Bible (Tanakh); Talmud
Hebrew Bible canonical; called "the Old Testament" noncanonical and corrupted but useful as a inspired text canonical
Apocrypha canonical (Catholic) or useful but noncanonical (Protestant) noncanonical noncanonical but useful
New Testament canonical noncanonical and corrupted but useful as a inspired text noncanonical
creeds Apostle's Creed, Nicene Creed Six Articles of Faith 13 Articles of Faith
religious law canon law (Catholicism) Sharia Halakhah
religious authority Bible (all), ecumenical councils and creeds (Catholic and Orthodox), papal decrees and canon law (Catholic), continuing revelations (Pentecostal) Qur'an, Hadith Bible, Talmud, halakhah
doctrine of scripture views vary: most believe inspired by God; some believe literal Word of God, inerrant in original languages inspired, literal word of God; inerrant in original language views vary
prophets Biblical prophets were true prophets of God Biblical prophets were true prophets; Muhammad is the final and greatest Biblical prophets were true prophets of God
god(s) One God (Allah in Arabic); the same God revealed (imperfectly) in the Jewish and Christian Bibles One God: Yahweh (YHVH)
spiritual beings angels and demons angels, demons, jinn angels and demons
revered humans saints, church fathers prophets; imams (especially in Shia Islam) prophets
messiah Jesus Christ is the Messiah awaited by the Jews Sunni: the Madhi (Messiah) will come in the future; identity is known only to Allah; Shi'a: was born in 869, is now the Hidden Imam the Messiah will come in the future
Jesus Son of God, God incarnate, Word of God, Messiah, savior of the world true prophet of God, whose message has been corrupted false prophet
birth of Jesus virgin birth virgin birth normal birth
death of Jesus normal death plus spiritual suffering Jesus did not die, but ascended bodily into heaven (a disciple died in his place) normal death
resurrection of Jesus affirmed rejected, because Jesus did not die; he ascended into heaven during crucifixion denied
second coming of Jesus affirmed affirmed denied
revelation through Prophets and Jesus (as God Himself), recorded in Bible through Muhammad, recorded in Qur'an prophets, recorded in Hebrew Bible
human nature Created good but all inherit "original sin" from Adam, causing a tendency to evil born with equal ability to do good or evil two equal impulses, one good and one bad
salvation correct belief, faith, good deeds, sacraments (Protestants emphasize faith alone) correct belief, good deeds, Five Pillars belief in God, good deeds
predestination affirmed by most denominations affirmed
afterlife Resurrection of body and soul; eternal heaven or hell (most denominations); temporary purgatory (Catholicism) eternal Paradise or eternal Hell Not emphasized; views vary: no afterlife, shadowy existence, World to Come (similar to heaven), Gehenna (similar to hell), reincarnation
Christianity is true religion respected as fellow "People of the Book" but have wrong beliefs and only partial, corrupted revelation false interpretation and expansion of Judaism
Islam is respected as a fellow monotheistic religion, but Muhammad is not seen as a true prophet true religion false interpretation and expansion of Judaism
Judaism is true religion but with incomplete revelation respected as fellow "People of the Book" but have wrong beliefs and only partial, corrupted revelation true religion
house of worship church, chapel, cathedral, basilica, meeting hall mosque synagogue, temple, schul
day of worship Sunday Friday Saturday
clergy/leaders priest, bishop, archbishop, patriarch, pope, pastor, minister, preacher, deacon imams rabbis
practices prayer, Bible study, baptism, Eucharist (Communion), church on Sundays, numerous holidays 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. Circumcision at birth, bar/bat mitzvah at adulthood, observing Sabbath, wearing tallit and tefilin, prayer services
major holidays Easter, Christmas, saints' days (some denominations) Al-Hijra, Ramadan, 'Id Al-Fitr Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah, Purim
symbols Cross, dove, anchor, fish, alpha/omega, chi rho Star and crescent; name of Allah in Arabic; color green; mosque silhouette Star of David, chai, hamsa, tree