The idea of a “Judeo‐Christian Tradition” has been in fashion for some time among political theorizers and the image this phrase evokes in the minds of most people is that it means the common values of Judaism and Christianity, on which the “Modern Western Civilization” is based. And the opposite of this “Judeo‐Christian” tradition is “Islam”.
But, if to compare Judaism, Christianity and Islam, we shall see that they have the same values.
The difference between Judaism and the other two religions is that it is restricted to one racial group — the Jews, while the other two are not restricted to any particular racial group. The difference between Judaism and Christianity is that the Jews believe that God is whatever created the Universe, and its shape or image is unknown, while the Christians believe that God has a human shape, that Jesus is his son, and that Jesus is also God, and that God is the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost).
The difference between Christianity and the other two religions is that the Christians believe that God has a human shape, that Jesus is his son, and that Jesus is also God, and that God is the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost), while Jews and Muslims believe that God is whatever created the Universe, and has no shape or image. The difference between Christianity and Judaism is that Christianity is a universal religions, while Judaism is restricted to one racial group — the Jews.
The difference between Islam and Judaism is that Islam is a universal religions, while Judaism is restricted to one racial group — the Jews. The difference between Islam and Christianity is that Muslims believe that God is whatever created the Universe, and has no shape or image, while the Christians believe that God has a human shape, that Jesus is his son, and that Jesus is also God, and that God is the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost).
The rest of the differences between the three religions either follow from these main differences, or are superficial and mostly ethnic or historical.
Thus, if we tabulate the differences between the three Abrahamic religions, as follows:
it becomes clear that Judaism and Christianity have the least in common, while Islam has the most commonality with both Judaism and Christianity.
Historically, prior to the Israeli‐Palestinian conflict, there was not much hostility between Jews and Muslims, apart from some occasional local tribal conflicts. The Jews, however, had been subjected to many persecutions at the hand of the Christians for a mixture of religious, racial, and social reasons. This deeply‐rooted hatred of the Jews by the Christians, became known as “anti‐Semitism1”. The well‐known cases of anti‐Semitism were the East‐European “pogroms2“” and the “Nazi holocaust3”. There also had been much enmity between the Christians and the Muslims at the time of the Crusades.
So, by the commonality of values and history up to the 20th century, it would appear, that, if there were to be a deep rift between the three Abrahamic religions, it would have been the Judeo‐Islamic belief in One God, against the Christians, who would be seen by both the Jews and the Muslims as idolaters and historical enemies of them both. Then how did it come about that Jews and Christians had joined together against the Muslims in a “Judeo‐Christian Tradition”?
The reason for this seeming paradox, is that the term “Judeo‐Christian”, has little to do with religion or past history. It is a late 20th century political phenomenon. “Judeo‐Christianity” is a mixture of American geo‐political ambitions with Israeli Zionism, justified by references to the Bible by some Evangelical Christians. And the reasons the “Judeo‐Christians” see Islam as the enemy is not religious, but political. Politicians need an enemy, because hatred and fear of an enemy helps them to generate popular support for themselves. The desire of the Israeli and American politicians to dominate the Middle East makes Islam an ideal enemy, because this gives them justification for their wars. The “Judeo‐Christian values” are not the values of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, but just another political ideology used to justify crimes against person and property by politicians.
1) The implied meaning of the word “anti‐Semitism” is “opposition to anything Semitic”, Semites being the people descended from Shem (mentioned in the Bible). To this group belong, among others, Jews, Arabs, and Assyrians. But the word “anti‐Semitism” is used to mean not “opposition to anything Semitic”, but the specific form of “hatred of the Jews”, as it existed in Europe for many centuries.
The reasons for this hatred of the Jews by the Europeans were religious, racial and social.
The religious causes of anti‐Semitism go back to pre‐Christian time, and consist of the resentment of the European pagans (idol‐worshipers) at the refusal of the Jews to worship their idols and to follow their social customs.
The Christians were European pagans, who accepted the Jewish Bible and the teachings of a Jew, Jesus, whom they believed to be the Son of God. The Christians blamed the Jews for the killing of Jesus, and saw them as the people damned by God for the murder of His Son. Such Christian views of the Jews persisted as the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic church until 1965, when the Vatican accepted the legitimacy of Judaism as a religion and exonerated the Jews from the blame for the murder of Jesus.
The religious anti‐Semitism was compounded by the fact that Jews had different racial characteristics from most Europeans, which made them fair game for racist attacks.
But in spite of the oppression and segregation to which the Jews were subjected in Europe, they were succeeding to place themselves into positions of economic superiority, by engaging in banking, money‐lending, and other business activities. This excited envy of the Europeans and was the social cause of anti‐Semitism.
At the end of the 19th century and during the 20th century, as Christianity was being increasingly replaced by political ideologies, pseudo‐scientific racial theories began to emerge. The term “anti‐Semitism” itself appeared at that time. This pseudo‐scientific anti‐Semitism culminated in the “Nazi” anti‐Semitism and the Holocaust (a mass extermination of Jews).
There was no “anti‐Semitism” in the Muslim world — racially the Arabs themselves are Semites. Religiously, the Jews were seen, as the “people of the Book”, and were treated with tolerance. The current Israeli‐Palestinian conflict is neither racial, nor religious, nor social — it is geo‐political. It is the result of the displacement of Arabs from the coastal Palestine, which is the present state of Israel, and of the subsequent further Israeli expansion after 1967.
Today the word “anti‐Semitism” is often used to describe any criticism of the Israeli policies.
2) The word “pogrom” is a Russian word meaning “violent destruction”, but it has entered into other languages to mean “violent mob attacks against Jews in Russia around the early 1900s, during which Jews were killed and their houses ransacked and burnt”.
3) “Holocaust” is the name given to the killing of some six million Jews by the “Nazis” (German National Socialists lead by Adolf Hitler) during World War II.
See also the Chechen Holocaust, and the Palestinian Nakba.