Define religion as used in philosophy, and using one or more theories in the philosophy of religion, how might the philosophy of religion help us understand if not solve the problems in the Middle East among Christians, Jews, and Muslims, beginning from the premise that these problems find some roots in religion.
All three monotheistic religions have something in common, they worship one God and he can said to be common to all of them. Although Islam may appear to be a religion which is more focused on wars and other similar confrontational issues, at the end of the day it is also a redemptory religion. However it must be admitted that ignorance on religion has exacerbated several of the problems in the Middle East, conflicts which have been going on for centuries and which seem to have no real end in sight.
It is strange to note that confrontational problems continue to dominate the Middle East at such a level when the main philosophy of each religion is that of redemption and compassion. Christianity which has often been militant where Islam is concerned has actually been at cross purposes many a time with what Judaism represents. The philosophy of Judaism continues to be based on compassion and empathy although the coming of the Messiah still appears to be something which the Jews cannot come to terms with.
Basically all three religions share a common purpose and it is important to note that although Islam calls for the retaking of Jerusalem, the Christians have also abused their position there for several centuries. Islam has consistently called for the conquering of Jerusalem at all costs as this is a holy city and the place where the prophet Muhammed had his base.
Monotheism as a philosophy should arguable increase the possibility of religions to c-operate better and this is certainly the case with Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Naturally enough, each has a different outlook on redemption and perhaps the philosophy of Islam that all warriors go to Paradise could be seen as the biggest stumbling block to a proper reconciliation between religions. However the philosophy of redemption and forgiveness as practiced by Judaism and Christianity should also hold sway over militarism which is potentially damaging and harmful to future relations.
The Middle East remains a powder keg of problems for various reasons, not least the lack of basic understanding on what is actually causing the problem and an unwillingness to be successful in solving it. All three religions have a monotheistic philosophy and should come together in an attempt to solve the conflict issues and not retreat into their respective shells to destroy any hope of a compromise. Obviously all this is easier said than done but when the philosophy of redemption is applied and implemented accordingly, this can have lasting effects on good relations in the area. The Jews cannot claim superiority by treating arabs as outcasts or pariahs as this is not even permissible in their religion but this unfortunately happens. Christains also need to apply their own philosophy of religion to the Middle Eastern problem and attempt to find common ground with Muslims and Jews. Institutionalized racism on the part of Jews versus the Palestinians is also not something consonant with the Jewish faith and should definitely not be resorted to. All three religions have common ground and this should be built upon not dismantled for the hope of a peaceful solution in the Middle East.
Hammer R, The Jerusalem Anthology; The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, Jerusalem, 1995, Print
Vaughan, Killibrew; Jerusalem in Bible and Archeology; Brill Leiden Boston 2003, Print