Before monotheism, most cultures in the Middle East and Europe had a polytheistic or even pantheistic outlook on the Divine and were in general agreement. A lot of them came up with a "first cause" type of deity, a lone god that created the universe. Most of them decided that this lone god then created other gods, often some kind of trinity, that then created yet more gods. Many of them came up with a half human, half divine god--a son born either of a human mother and divine father or a divine mother and human father. This son of a god usually had some combination of redemptive, forgiving, healing, soothing and regenerative powers. These gods were part of many pagan pantheons. (Of course the sexual unions between gods and humans could have produced daughters as well, but daughters of God are strangely not currently known as historically significant. Perhaps they were spoken of in some of the mystery cults that existed but for which the details remain generally unknown or unwritten.)
This was the established religious milieu in which monotheism then developed. First to come along were Zorastrianism and ancient Judaism. These rejected all the other gods in favor of just the lone "first cause" god (the one that created the universe). Later, the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten promoted a one god religion centered on the sun that also rejected all the other gods. These monotheisms were attractive to those opposed to the already established pagan political/religious systems partly because they centralized religious authority away from diverse politically powerful priesthoods, placing this power in fewer hands. Also ancient Judaism, by rejecting the idea that a human ruler could be a son of a god, intended to end the abuses that were flowing from that. Ancient Judaism also opened the door for ordinary people to live in heaven. This was an effective selling point because pagans thought that people went to the underworld when they died (except for a very select few) and that basically only the gods could live in heaven.
Monotheism had a rough road after that. Akhenaten was destroyed; the Israelites were thrown out of Egypt and later because of the Babylonian captivity (where Jews and Zorastrians probably had a lively discourse) and the conquering Assyrian king, Nebuchadnezzar, Judaic monotheism began to develop apocalyptic thinking. After Palestine was conquered by the Greeks, Judaism's apocalyptic thinking grew more. After Palestine was conquered and occupied by Rome and ruled by Roman proxies, the monotheistic apocalyptic beliefs fermented and developed even more. Just before the Romans in the first century AD totally destroyed Judea and Jerusalem, the monotheistic apocalyptic mind-set was in full bloom. The Jewish messiah (a concept coming from a prophecy of a world ruler arising in Palestine) was to save the Jews and their religion from the hated Roman occupiers. This, of course, ended in complete disaster. Ironically, the only "world ruler" arising in Palestine around that time was the Roman Emperor Vespasian who was made emperor while in Palestine fighting the Jews, thus fulfilling this prophecy in a way never imagined by the Jews as was mentioned by Josephus in his book, "The Jewish War", written after 70 AD. It is no wonder most Jews finally rejected apocalyptic thinking.
During and after this destruction, monotheism began to fragment. Some Jews who could not give up their apocalyptic beliefs decided that they would have to convert the gentiles if they were ever going to succeed against the Romans. They went East and West. Islam comes from the influence of those who went East and Christianity comes from those who went West. Most Jews, however, decided on a different tactic. They were dispersed all over the ancient world and, as stated above, these Jews made a wise move and decided that it was time to give up on apocalyptic thinking, rejecting it altogether, and this was the beginning of modern Judaism.
The Jews who went East intending to convert the gentiles carried with them these ancient Judaic apocalyptic beliefs and the basic ancient Judaic teachings. The teachings and beliefs made few if any compromises or associations with the pagan religions in the area and Mohammed was the eventual result. Thus Islam is today the most like ancient Judaism.
The story is different for the Jews who went West intending to convert gentiles. Compromises and associations had to be made with a very powerful Rome and Roman pagan religion if they were ever going to succeed. Christianity is thus today the least like ancient Judaism. Because of Jesus coming from a Jewish messianic apocalyptic tradition, however, Christianity also has a strong apocalyptic element in it. It is tempered by the Roman sense of practicality and as a result, although their apocalypticism can be dangerously virulent, it is not as bad as the apocalyptic belief which exists in Islam.
So Rome, when it discarded its republic in favor of an autocracy during the time of Julius Caesar and which soon after decided to make its emperors divine "Sons of God" (which violated their own principles), made a terrible mistake and eventually paid a heavy price for that mistake. By incorporating the Middle Eastern idea of a divine "Son of God" ruler, they weakened their social fabric and set themselves up for a battle with monotheists. Monotheism had originally developed to counter that kind of system! So even though they had thoroughly defeated the Jews by 70 AD, it was only a matter of time before monotheistic ideas began making headway against the Romans. Eventually Rome had to compromise with Christianity. It did the typically Roman thing of incorporating Christianity into its own religious tradition, thus making Christianity the state religion.
Because Christianity contains the Trinity, a divine son of God, the sacrament of communion and the mother goddess figure (St. Mary), it technically isn't really monotheistic! It likes to think it is, but it isn't. When certain christian sects try to be more monotheistic (by rejecting the Trinity or communion or the divinity of St. Mary or focusing more on the Book of Revelation or even the Old Testament) they become more apocalyptic like Islam (the monotheism most like ancient Judaism). Opposing this tendency toward apocalyptic thinking are Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopal, Lutheran and other christian sects. These are the least monotheistic because they retain the Trinity and in some cases a beatified St. Mary (the mother goddess figure) and the sacrament of communion. Very importantly, they also retain either a Roman practicality or an English type sense of fair play and reason. Thus today you will find these sects unwilling to buy into taking the Book of Revelation literally as some christian sects do. The inherited Roman practicality and English sense of fair play and reason prevent them from being that apocalyptic.
Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the federal government building in Oklahoma and the terrible events in Waco, Texas are just some of the horrible examples of the effects of the apocalyptic thinking coming from these more monotheistic christian sects. Some of these sects ("Identity" Christians for instance) even go so far as to believe that they are from the lost ten tribes of Israel! This is really ironic and doomed to failure partly because, of course, at the very least the Jews and the Moslems know that as long as ANY christian keeps any sort of that originally pagan "Son of God" belief, that they cannot be truly monotheistic or Israelites! More likely and ironic would be if it turns out that the current "Palestinians" are descendants of those ten tribes! These days the effects of the various more monotheistic christian sects' apocalyptic behavior is minimal compared to what the various factions of the far more monotheistic Moslems are doing. The islamic apocalyptic mind-set is manifesting a type of zealotry not seen since ancient Roman times. Read Josephus's, "The Jewish War", to get a good idea of just how bad this phenomenon can be.
Christianity is a really fascinating religion. It retains some lovely things; a redemptive, forgiving god (Jesus), a mother goddess figure (Mary) and the Roman type of practical sensibility. It also still retains the Trinity and the sacrament of communion. When the failed (Judea and Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans) Jewish messiah, Jesus, was revitalized and romanized to create the Christianity and Jesus that exists today, Bacchus (a redemptive, forgiving god, born of a human mother and a divine father) was the Roman template upon which this Jewish messiah was placed. The sacrament of communion comes from this (one way the ancient Romans worshipped Bacchus was to drink wine representing his blood and to eat bread representing his body). This was a compromise made to insure that this new religion, Christianity, would be accepted by the Romans, for Bacchus was a very popular god. To further accommodate the Jewish influence, the rest of the Roman pantheon was discarded. So Christianity as it now stands has four, maybe even five, deities; the trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost), Abaddon (or Apollyon) and the mother goddess (now called St. Mary). Interestingly, "Mary", is actually an ancient Egyptian word meaning "beloved of God", and "Amen" is actually an ancient Egyptian name for one of their main gods! The name "Moses" probably comes from a famous ancient Egyptian name; as there were a number of pharaohs named Tuth or Thutmoses and there was Ahmoses* or Ahmose (with a story of origin similar to the biblical Moses), who drove the Hyksos (the Hyksos were Semitic) out of Egypt and back into the Palestine area. Thus the story of the biblical Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt has historical antecedents. (One hotly contested idea has this happening against the backdrop of the Santorini eruption). As a result, the religious heritage of Europe could better be called Romano-judaic rather than Judeo-christian and along with ancient Judaism, itself, being better defined as an Egypto-semitic religion.
* Ahmoses (1570-1546 B.C.). Quoting: "Ahmoses was the younger brother of Kamoses. After the death of his brother, Ahmoses completed the systematic expulsion of the (Semitic) Hyksos, driving them up into Palestine. Returning to Egypt, Ahmoses found the country once again racked by civil war. Putting down all opposition, Ahmoses made himself the pharaoh of all Egypt".
Very significantly, it was partly from out of this christian tradition that freedom and liberty as a philosophy for government was recreated after a very long wait of nearly 1800 years! This was something the other (more "pure") monotheists never managed to do by themselves. The Enlightenment was grudgingly allowed room and succeeded in this christian tradition, but such thinking is still very difficult in the Islamic tradition. The English were also instrumental in this re-creation of freedom and liberty as a philosophy for government, manifesting as constitutional government (basically a re-creation of the ancient Roman Republic). Because of their own unique tradition of fair play and freedom and Christianity, English people managed a miraculous thing; the creation of the United States of America, a powerful new Rome!
There is a mind-numbing problem however. The apocalyptic time bombs embedded in some of the more monotheistic christian sects and various factions of Islam, and now again apocalyptic jewish sects and in the secular apocalyptic step children of monotheism; communism, nazism, ba'athism, etc., are causing these different groups to hate and fight each other more than ever (and even though they are all cut from the same cloth). Because of its historically unique position as a powerful new "Rome", America is caught in the middle and is being equated to the Babylon and Rome of the ancient Jews as "The Great Satan" or "The Beast" by islamic sects and even some christian sects, or seen as "The Shining City on the Hill" or "The New Jerusalem" by other christian sects, or characterized as "imperialists" by communists or called "Jew lovers" and "ZOG" (by nazis, Identity Christians and ba'athists), ("ZOG", e.g. "Zionist Occupation Government", is also like terminology used by communists!) or called "crusaders" (by Al Qaeda, Hamas, etc., and ba'athists) or seen as "fulfillment of (apocalyptic) prophecy" by certain christian and jewish sects.
The Jews are also caught right in the middle of this. The monotheistic god concept created by ancient Judaism has grown large, has fragmented into mutually exclusive, often antagonistic and apocalyptic parts (religious and secular) that are now attacking not only the descendants of those who first invented it (one of the bigger ironies of all time), but are also attacking America (equating it to Babylon or the old imperial Rome) and, of course, continually attacking each other!
On top of all that is a concept of God that is unique to monotheism. This concept holds that everything that happens is the will of God. This is a very old and pernicious monotheistic concept that has been in operation from the beginnings of monotheism. It has been and continues to be used until this day. So when monotheists wipe out whole cities, peoples or nations they say that God was punishing them! Likewise when they deliberately fullfill prophecy or fraudulently perform miracles they say God did that when in fact it was they themselves doing it. This is why Al-Qaeda, for instance, said that God destroyed the World Trade Center. There are many more cases of atrocities commited by monotheists deceptively made holy in a similar fashion. They also are fond of calling their terrorist operatives in these actions angels. That way they can say that an angel of the Lord was punishing their enemies. Of course, attributing to God these various heinous crimes and lies has got to be some of the most evil reasoning ever invented by man.
As a result, if America and other civilized nations want to survive the 21st Century and counter monotheism's apocalypticism and its ugly actions and tricks, they must sideline monotheism's egregious excesses by providing real hope accomplished by standing up and fighting for freedom and liberty and constitutional government around the world and they also must provide a real way out by dramatically increasing efforts to explore, utilize and colonize the solar system.
Realizing who and where God really is will help as well. God is right here, right now and we are all standing right on top of it. Honor yourselves and your planet for it is divine!