Article – Sibling Rivalry

“Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’”
–The Hebrew Bible (Genesis 4:8-10), Jewish scripture

“But come, my soul, do what no coming age
Shall e’er approve—or e’er forget; some deed
Must be attempted, impious, bloody, dire,
Such as my brother’s self might claim as his.
No crime avenged save by a greater crime.”
–Atreus, Act II, Ancient Greek play by Seneca 

“By fighting with Rama you are putting a noose around your own neck.”
–Ramayana, Hindu epic 

Sibling rivalry, or conflicts between siblings, is a common theme that appears in various religious traditions and mythologies. It’s worth noting that while sibling rivalry is a common theme in religious myths and stories, it is often used as a metaphor to convey moral or ethical lessons, and not necessarily meant to be interpreted literally. These stories often highlight the consequences of negative emotions such as jealousy, greed, and pride, and emphasize the importance of virtues such as humility, forgiveness, and compassion in resolving conflicts between siblings or family members.

The story of Cain and Abel in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is a well-known example of sibling rivalry that bears importance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. There are several stories of sibling rivalries in Hindu mythology, as well as a few in Buddhist literature. Ancient mythologies from Ancient China to Ancient Greece and Egypt, as well as Norse mythology, are rich with stories of sibling rivalries amongst the gods. 

See All Commonalities Across Religions

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