A new film is showing on American television. "Three Faiths, One God" compares the practices and beliefs of the three so-called Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Many of the similarities have surprised American audiences, and critical reviews of the film have been very positive.
"Three Faiths, One God," is the name of a new documentary focusing on the similarities and differences among three great religious traditions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Scripture and ritual… fundamentalism… extremism… and tolerance... are all examined, as are historical conflicts.
"What's most important is understanding and reconciliation between the three groups. That's basically the theme of the documentary," says Gerald Krell. He is co-producer of the film, along with his friend and partner of more than 40 years, Meyer Odze.
"The major thing that I got out of it was the humanism, the caring for people; you look on both sides and you respect your fellow human being," adds Mr. Odze.
For two years Krell and Odze traveled across America, taping more than 100 hours of video while interviewing religious leaders and scholars, such as Islamic Studies Professor Akbar Ahmed.
"So I believe there is a great deal that is in common between the faiths,” says the professor. “Of course historically, theologically there are points of argument and discussion and debate. Even within each faith you will have different ways of interpreting how to look at God, how to look at the text, but the overall global picture then, the three faiths have a great deal in common, which I believe is a very strong base for us to be looking at for the 21st Century."
Among what the three faiths share: an unshakable believe in one God, an understanding that the 10 Commandments are the base of faith, a reliance on prayer as a connection to God, and a moral certainty that, contrary to some stereotypes, charity is the duty of all faithful followers.
"Part of what the documentary is supposed to do is to get at these stereotypes and misconceptions," says Mr. Krell.
Clearly it comes at a time when the three faiths are experiencing many tensions, but there are signs of interfaith cooperation too, and of religious leaders wanting to promote understanding rather than distrust.