From: Govind Rajesh < >
I think a couple of qualifications are necessary. The Jewish god is jealous when it comes to *Jews* worshiping other gods. The commandment “thou shalt have no other gods before me” is addressed specifically to the Jewish people. By implication non-Jews are free to have their own gods.
Furthermore taking possession of a sliver of Promised Land is one thing and claiming the whole world for oneself and not leaving any room for anyone else is another. In much of the ancient world it was commonplace for tribes in search of fertile lands or under pressure from other tribes and peoples to move to new territories, displacing existing inhabitants in the process.
Ancient biblical narrative is situated in this phase of West Asian & European history and it would naturally reflect that ground reality. The destruction of the Canaanites is only one instance in a constant series of inter-tribal warfare chronicled in the Hebrew Bible. The Jews and Judaism in turn were very often targets of other tribes, for instance when the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. Finally, the fact that there is no commandment to convert in Judaism is due to a fundamental point of difference with Islam and Christianity which is that both of these later religions are apocalyptic and centered on an imminent end-time. This one feature, more than any other, to my mind at least, is their defining characteristic. This is the meaning of the message of Jesus that the kingdom of god was near at hand and his consequent call for sinners to repent. There is his problematic utterance to his first apostles that “Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom”.
Muhammad was even more emphatically apocalyptic with his core message of the coming Day of Judgment and the need for everyone to prepare for it. It is this absolute conviction of just-around-the-corner approaching doom that motivated both Jesus and Muhammad to launch their campaigns to make everyone converts.
The exclusive religious ego that characterizes all who are religiously committed then latched on to this missionary zeal, turning each of these religions into the sole path to salvation from apocalypse for everyone without exception. This is the genesis of both the worldwide Crusade and the endless Jihad, something that is absent from a self-sufficient and self-contained Judaism. Therefore, for the sake of accuracy, and to avoid barking up the wrong religious tree of Judaism, my recommendation would be to conceive of Judaism as distinct from the religions of Islam and Christianity and to more appropriately refer to these two as “apocalyptic” rather than simply as Abrahamic.