The Big Three: Christianity, Judaism and Islam

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The United States is often called a country founded on Judeo-Christian values. Now Islam has firmly joined Christianity and Judaism as one of the three most prominent faiths in America. Prominence is about more than numbers. More than three-quarters of Americans say they’re Christian; Jews and Muslims each make up less than 2 percent of the population by most measures.

These three religions are the most prominent because they are considered Abrahamic faiths, faiths that revere Abraham as a spiritual and/or physical ancestor. Some believe that Christians, Jews and Muslims worship the same God; others adamantly disagree. Regardless, the three faiths do share some basic beliefs – in one God and in the Golden Rule, for example – that have been foundational in this country.

Most faiths are global, and religion in America plays out against a worldwide stage. Christianity, Judaism and Islam are considered the Big Three worldwide as well, even though the numbers for Christianity and Islam (they are first and second, respectively) dwarf Judaism, which is also outnumbered by Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and others. Judaism’s status, even as its numbers decrease, is based on its prominence as the faith from which Christianity and Islam sprang and in its role in world events, particularly through the state of Israel.