1. By far the largest disparity in the Islamic view of Heaven and Hell versus the Christian and Judiac views are in the concept itself. In Islam, just getting to Heaven or Hell is a process; when you die, the soul is still encapsulated within the body, and you get a small taste of whether you’re headed to Heaven or Hell. This means the good lay peacefully while the evil begin to suffer until the Day of Judgement. On the Day of Judgement, your soul will depart to whichever you deserve (determined by your actions and how much faith you had in life). There are also seven heavens, where all your needs will be met, whether it be food, drink, or companionship (the virgins). In the Christian view of Heaven, the theme seems to be that in addition to only having one Heaven, there is no want for anything physical since there is only love, peace, and contentment (you’ll never get hungry, you love everyone, and you are all-knowing). Heaven in the Judiac sense is hard to get ahold of though. There’s no real clear-cut explaination, but the overall sense is that Heaven is more of a return to the Garden of Eden BEFORE Eve ate that apple – blissful ignorance and overall happiness.
2. The Nativity scene supposedly takes place on what we know now as Christmas – December 25th. This lines up with a pagan holiday of sorts: Winter solstice. This was done to make it easier for pagans to covert to Christianity. The winter solstice for pagans is looked upon as a time of rebirth for the god Sol Invictus (and/or the god Mithras, depending on which version you happen upon). Gift giving (frankencense and myrh, for example) was also a pagan ritual from the the Roman Saturnalia celebrations. The spring equinox falls in line with Easter (or the Passion), and is regarded as a time of celebrating life renewing itself (hence Jesus’ rising from the dead after three days).
3. In the Old Testament, God was like a new parent (and I guess He kind of was). Humans were in essence first children who needed a firm hand to keep from getting out of line. In the New Testament, God was an older parent with more patience and a couple of kids under His belt – things that would have been cause for alarm before were now dealt with kindly and with a gentle redirect. In this way, the authors of the New Testament clearly wanted to give hope to humankind. Even though bad things happen and people sin, there is hope of making it to Heaven if only you apologize and make up for your mistakes with good deeds. This really differs from the gods found in The Iliad and Gilgamesh. In those epics, the gods were immortal people, really, with all the drama found in human relationships. There was also no sense that the gods loved anyone – not each other, and certainly not humans. Humans were pawns in the war pitting one god against another and not looked as something worth much time or effort of the Mount Olympus gang.