How important is religion anyway?
Being an American Christian within a Muslim society for over 3 weeks, and being close enough to Israel to feel the pressure of an isolated island of Judaism, can be intense. I've found the history within the middle east to be so in depth. It's endless. I've seen Lucy over in Ethiopia (Australophithecus afarensis, dated 3.2 million years ago), at one point the oldest skeleton found, and it's brought me to thinking as I've been walking, what exactly did occur so long ago? Religion was a large part of it and society today continues those traditions. Why?
The call to prayer happens five times a day over here. No matter what square inch of the city you are standing in, the mosque down the street, along with every other mosque in the city, is linked with megaphones to spread the word of Allah. Allah, meaning God, is not only used by Muslim's but also Arabic speaking Christians. Man is it powerful.
Going about your day and hearing the call to prayer stops you in your train of thought. Have I adhered to my religion? Am I still in check? What do I need to do to be a better Muslim? What if the call to prayer happened in Chicago (where I'm from). Would that prevent another from pulling the trigger? The point is not that it might save lives. The point is the presence and reminder of being in check is with you five times a day. You can't escape it.
Belief is the most powerful word in the English language. Judgment can be a harsh word and I feel religion in general tends to be judgmental. I am this so you are that. I am this, so why aren't you? I am this, because it is the best way to live, you are not, and I feel bad for you. I am this, you are not, so we will kill each other. Belief.
Religious prosecution has gone on for centuries. Government's would use religion as a means to push forward agendas. In the past, it was used as a way to unite different tribes. We can be different, but we share the same belief, and when certain things happen, a higher power is at work, and oh by the way, I can speak with that higher power, so do as I say.
And regardless of everything, someone has to be wrong, right? Not every religion can be correct. I'm not EVEN going into this discussion, but just for a quick sec, why do we stress on the differences, and not the similarities? Because our religion is the correct one!...
This is fun.
So back to my point about being an American Christian, in a Muslim society, close to the home for a lot of Jews. We're all from the same mother! Or maybe. How about this: There was once a man named Abraham, and all three religions claim to be of descendants from his line. Let's just keep it at that. Everything gets really complicated going forward, but how about keeping it at that for a start. My discussion isn't about which religion is correct. I find them all extremely fascinating, and hope people continue their faith as it usually leans toward charity.
Just to get weird for a minute...
In Biology, to figure out how something works, it's about using nature to decode ideas, hypotheses, and theory, and working backwards to find the inception.
Same principles could be applied in figuring out who Abraham was, and what happened before him. In space, the further we look out, the more information we receive about our past. In order to figure out our past on Earth, we uncover artifacts, and date them accordingly.
From the beginning of the human species (6 million years), to Abraham (1800 BC), and what happened between them is an interesting question, and one that we don't have a lot of answers for.
Writing first began within the now middle east, and the first documented writings we have happen to be about Abraham, his family, and his travels (Genesis). That's a crazy coincidence.
Christianity branched off Judaism, but maintained similar writings within the Old Testament. The Quran came later and has most of the same people (Moses, Jesus, Abraham, Isaac) as the Bible and Hebrew Bible.
There are a few archaeological differences that we've uncovered over the years that differ from the writings of these ancient books. These are two distinct differences between narrative and science; we have man recording events from his viewpoint and science wrapping up their own conclusions via artifacts.
What do we know right now about our own species that remains the same today as way back when? That homo sapiens, a part of a specific civilization, record history as to how they would like it to be viewed. There are still discrepancies today. In whatever country you're in, the History books are accounted for in a biased, glorified manner. Some, obviously more than others. Even if they weren't biased, humans don't record and document as a computer would. Perception is also a strong word.
Let's get a little more weird...
Specific patterns work within our species. It's not coincidence there is a rhythm to saying a telephone number, the moon being a perfect sphere, a flower being perfectly symmetrical, a stop sign being perfectly octagonal, and the way stories are written. Seriously, how crazy is it that in nature everything is mostly symmetrical? It's crazy. We've taken it for granted, but when you start noticing these things, you understand it's built within our DNA as well.
If something is said out of rhythm, we pause, if a mutation happens, we pause, if the stop sign comes out disfigured, we throw it away. The heart beat remains constant, and perhaps that's where we first thought of inventing the second.
All of these have a flow, and when broken, outcomes become altered.
Put the same pattern with Abraham and the people that wrote about him, gaps are filled within rhythmic cadences to adhere to the reader. This doesn't have to do with my shooting down religion. More our species does not act as robots, and do not have the brain power to remember exactly the way things go down.
If I was to join the fray of, "Was what they wrote about Abraham and Jesus true?" I would say that the way our species interacts in the world, relates to feel good notation and chooses wording that has a beginning, middle, and an end. I would say it's been falsified. Not saying they did it on purpose, as this has been a part of our species since the beginning of life. Also, not saying what happened wasn't true...
Going back to what I was talking about with our DNA, this relates to the flow of our oldest knowledge of anything; Birth, Life, and Death. Beginning, middle, and end. It's just how we operate ---> Flow
So, I'm not saying religions are false. Merely implying that believing what a human wrote to be 100% true on historical accounts is almost impossible. So, look to the similarities of the religions instead of the differences, or just don't be so judgmental when you believe you are right and they are wrong. We're all from the same people. And it's all so fascinating.
For what it's worth:
Judaism didn't update the Torah going forward, and Christians and Muslims disagreed with that move. Christians believe Jesus was God in human form, and the Jews and Muslims disagreed with that. Muslims believe God gave Muhammad the final revelation to lead people, and Christians and Jews disagree.
The idea that state and church should be separate was thought of through the philosopher Augustine (354-430 AD).
Religious wars have basically occurred in every century.
Judaism is the oldest religion at 500 BC. Followed by the Christians in the 1st century. And Muslims in 6th century.