I want to start off by saying that in no way am I trying to disrespect any religion in what I am about to share with you. This is also not a question about the existence of God, so if atheists and religious folk can stick to the topic please. I do not mean any person harm and I confess to not knowing much about religions other than the one I grew up with. However, a recent visit to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul really sent my thoughts racing about tolerance and ignorance in religion.
Hagia Sophia: the once cathedral, later mosque and now museum was quite breathtaking from many different perspectives, but in the same vein sad to witness the destructive force behind religions. Apparently in the dome of the cathedral was the oldest known picture of Jesus that was covered up, obviously, when it became a mosque. The same thing happened with the beautiful mosaics and other paintings inside this magnificent building. An attempt was made to restore it, but the process turned out to do more harm than good to the now lost art. The thing I care about here is the amount of history that was lost due to the forcefulness that comes with religion. And this is only but one such an example. How many books have been burned, buildings destroyed and people raped and killed in the name of religion? In particular when it comes to Abrahamic religions.
I don’t understand how the 3, of 5, most well known Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Islam (also the 2 largest religions in the world) and Judaism can hate each other like that if they have the same Deity. Yet, worshiping the same God is not enough apparently, as these are the religions that show the most hostility toward each other.
For those who are not aware I will give a brief, and by no means an exhaustive rundown:
Abraham had 2 sons: Isaac and Ishmael. Though the oldest, Ishmael, was not born from his wife, but from Hagar (their maidservant) as Sarah was thought to be barren. Later Sarah got pregnant with Isaac. Isaac stands at the root of Judaism and Ishmael of Islam. Interesting thing here is that for Jews and Christians Isaac was the one said by God to be sacrificed where for Muslims it is Ishmael. But both religions accept that Abraham was a prophet from God, hence it must be the same God.
As everyone knows that Jesus - also known as Isa, a Prophet of Islam - caused the split of Christianity from Judaism: which means that both accept Abraham and the God that spoke to him. Hence Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God, albeit known by different names.
Now I beg the question: how can Christians, or any of the other two for that matter, judge their ‘cousin religion’ and condemn their followers to hell because they believe in the wrong God? Also in the light that all 3 religions have the same origin and hence the same God - is only one of these religions correct and why?
Think carefully before you answer as you do not want to judge. Secondly, if you are going to prove the other 2 religions absurd I will ask you to first ask yourself if that reasoning cannot be applied to your religion as well. Please do not mention the acceptance of Jesus as Saviour as that is not the point here. I am exclusively referring to the Deity that is said to be creator of everything.
In the end I just wish people would live and let live. Regardless of religion, sexuality or race, I think the world would be a better place if there was more tolerance amongst us.