“Three Faiths, One God: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,” is a 2005 PBS documentary directed by Gerald Krell. The primary purpose of the film is to explore both the differences and similarities in religious practices and beliefs between Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The film explores how people in the Abrahamic faiths are mitigating historical and longstanding conflicts between the three religions and eliminating barriers between them. To compare and contrast the principles of the three religions, a broad range of voices from both religious experts and ordinary people are showcased throughout the film.
Throughout “Three Faiths, One God: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,” the fundamental similarities and differences between Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are explored in-depth. One such similarity is the fact that Christianity, Islam, and Judaism share a central belief in one God that is the same in all three faiths. The shared belief in one God is considered to be one of the major factors that result in unity between the three religions. It is also noted that the Qur’an, Torah, and the New Testament are similar because they promote the same values despite the differences in interpretation and language. Another factor that is generally shared between all three religions are views on interfaith marriage. For example, Christians, Jews, and Muslim women are generally discouraged from marrying people from different religions. The only exception to this rule is Muslim men, who are allowed to marry either Christian or Jewish women under certain conditions. Additionally, the Five Pillars of Islam are mentioned to have parallels with the essential principles of Christianity and Judaism such as the belief in one God, fasting as a way to come closer to God, and charity as a way to express kindness and compassion. Furthermore, the ritualized prayer structure represents a similarity with both Islam and Judaism.
There are also a number of parallels between both the Shi’a sect of Islam and Christianity regarding Jesus and Imam Hussain, the third Shi’a Imam and the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). For examples, the mothers of both Jesus and Hussain (Fatima and Mary) were revered figures and both of their sons were bringing a message of hope and peace to a society that was undergoing much violence and corruption. Additionally, both Jesus and Hussain were outnumbered by their enemies and killed (during the Crucifixion and the Battle of Karbala) and their martyrdoms are commemorated by remembrance days (Easter and Ashura). Moreover, Shi’a Muslims believe that there are Twelve Imams that are the successors of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Christians believe that Jesus had Twelve Apostles who came from the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
It is also noted that there are a number of similarities between the Battle of Karbala, in which Imam Hussain was martyred, and the Holocaust. For example, both events came about due to the rise of tyrannical, despotic rulers (Adolf Hitler and Yazid I) who violated treaties upon their rise to power (the Treaty of Versailles and the Hasan–Muawiya Treaty), and perpetrated the mass murder of innocent civilians for ideological reasons (fascism and anti-Shi’ism). Additionally, both the Battle of Karbala and the Holocaust continue to impact the conscious of Shi’a Muslims and members of the Jewish community to the present day.
The film also goes explores several of the differences between the three faiths. One example of a difference between Christianity, Islam, and Judaism is the fact that there are differences in the interpretation of the narrative between the religions. For example, it is stated that if any contradictions between the texts of the Torah and the New Testament arise, the Qur’an represents the correct version. Another difference between Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are the different interpretations of the major prophets of their religions. Despite the differing interpretations of their major prophets, the religion of Islam holds both Abraham and Jesus in high esteem.
The importance of interfaith dialogue is also explored in the film. For example, an interfaith discussion is depicted in which Christian, Muslim, and Jewish participants met to discuss the common misconceptions that they have toward each other. Another notable scene in the film is when a Catholic Church invites a Shi’a Muslim Imam from Pakistan to participate in an ecumenical service to discuss the need for interfaith dialogue in the post-9/11 era. The showcase of interfaith dialogues between the three faiths serves as a way to illustrate the similarities between them and a way to overcome any disputes and misconceptions that are held by Christians. Muslims, Jews.
In conclusion, Three Faiths, One God: Judaism, Christianity, Islam” discuss some of the issues facing the three major monotheistic religions. Overall, the film was very well made and insightful. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in religion, philosophy, and contemporary social issues. Through the use of documentary films, one can gain a better insight into the problems facing the three major monotheistic religious communities and understand how to address the concerns of all three communities adequately.