One of the most compelling issues regarding religious comparison is the knowledge that each of these religions believes itself to be the only correct path to enlightenment or the afterlife. This is one similarity that is found in virtually all religions.
The Jews, Christians and Islamic all have a similar story of creation. Each starts with Adam and Eve being created by God or a Supreme Being. They all have parts where the angels take issue with what they perceive to be God’s favoritism regarding his creations.
There are many complaints about they fact that they have always been by his side and done his bidding and now they are required to bow down to the humans he created. Not all religions believe in angels but almost all of them have some form of creature that is not happy about the creation of man. This is man’s way of putting himself first in the eyes of his God. Man feels a need to balance his superiority with a need for guidance. The omnipotent being covers the guidance aspect and man being over the angels satisfies his superiority issue.
All of the religions have one or more antagonists in their creation stories. With the Jews, Christians and Islamic it is Satan, with the Hindu it is the negative emotions such as greed, anger and desire and with the Mayan it is the Gods themselves who are the testers of man.
Satan, in the religions who believe, is a “fallen angel”. He is so called because when all the other angels do God’s bidding and bow down to man, he alone refuses to do so, stating he was there before them and would not bow to something less than himself. This, of course, angered God and he told Satan that from now on he was banned from God’s sight.
According to all the religions who believe in Satan, this was fine with him. He told God that he would spend his time tempting and leading astray the people that God had created. God, in turn, stated that only people who ere not worthy would fall for Satan’s tricks and if they did, they could join him in hell for eternity.
Man has a need to explain everything in his life, good, bad or otherwise. As there is a God who is good, there must be a Satan (or other being) that is not good. This explains man’s dual personality and is even covered in those religions that do not subscribe to God and Satan. Duality is the basis of many religions and balance is a major issue within them.
In the Mayan tradition, the Gods created man for personal reasons, which was to worship them and make sure they were not forgotten. They tested the first couple of groups they created but were displeased with the results. The people they created were too basic to understand what they had been made for and could not adore the Gods properly so they were destroyed. Even the last group the Gods made was faulty according to the Gods, this time because they knew and saw too much. The Gods dimmed their vision so they would not be equals with the Gods.
Although all the religions teach of the desire and attempts to become “Godlike”, they all seem to have the undercurrent of Gods who do not wish to have equals but rather worshippers instead. It may be that we, as humans, need to feel there is a “father figure” we can turn to or alternately blame for those things that happen in our lives. This is unusual since mankind tends to be very egotistical regarding our place in the universe and yet when it comes to religion, we are more than willing to step aside and let an omnipotent being guise our destiny.