With the rise of modern and post-modern philosophies over the past two hundred years, a large percentage of the world population is either questioning or leaving a family religion. About 16% of the world’s population, 1.2 billion people, would be considered non-religious or secular. Those who grow up in primarily secular homes have no interest in religion. Some of these decisions stem from information learned in our schools where religion is considered historical, archaic and founded on myth. This leads many to believe “God is dead” and worse, He was never alive.
I trust that you, my readers, are open minded enough to as the question, “How long have these beliefs been around; where and why did they originate; and are they true or are they propaganda?” Perhaps the most important question embedded into the discussion of religion is, “Does absolute truth exist?”
We can break these questions down into several sections.
- What is truth? Does absolute truth exist?
- What is the big-picture history of religion?
- Is religion related to the science of origins (where did we come from / how did we get here)?
- Do all religions point to the same God?
- Are there many gods or just one?
- What are the major differences in the world’s religions? Do the differences matter?
No doubt you have other questions and frankly, I could continue the list. But let me share some facts and figures that will frame the discussion. According to a 2020 website*, the number of active religions in the world is over 4,200. Most of these are classified as indigenous to peoples or traditional African beliefs. If we look at the number of adherents (believers / practitioners) of the world religions, five to seven come out on top.
By investigating the major world religions, we will be able to see what is common and what is different in their beliefs. From this, we can build an understanding of how religion influences an adherent’s life. Next time I will present the world religions to be discussed and why I chose them.
Until then, please comment on what you would like to learn. What are your primary beliefs about religion? As I posted last time, this is your site. I want to research and provide information that is important to you.
* My source is from the Library of Congress archive of online material. The website <www.adherents.com> is no longer in operation by this group. Please see <https://webarchive.loc.gov/all/20200304211001/https://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html> if interested.