Thousands of Religions
Evidence of religion, art, and recorded events dates back thirty to forty thousand years. There have been an estimated one hundred thousand religions. Today, thousands of religions exist. One hundred and fifty of these have a million or more followers. Some of the better known religions include Hinduism, which originated six thousand years ago; Judaism, four thousand years ago; Buddhism (and Confucianism and Taoism), twenty-six hundred years ago; Christianity, two thousand years ago; and Islam, fourteen hundred years ago.
Gods and No Gods
We’ve worshipped everything from the sun, to the moon, to Egyptian pharaohs and Roman emperors. Then we created mythological gods in our own image. Through our history, we’ve worshipped the many gods of countless polytheistic religions. About four thousand years ago, in the Middle East, someone came up with the idea that there is just one God. Keep in mind that this was just someone’s idea. Someone like you or me. This idea marked the beginning of the western concept of what we refer to as monotheism (one God). That religion was Judaism and the God Yahweh (misspelled Jehovah in the King James Version of the Bible). About fourteen hundred years later (twenty-six hundred years ago), Buddhism (in India), Confucianism, and Taoism (both in China), belief systems with no gods, emerged as powerful religious movements in the East.
Seeds of Dissension
“In the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), followers must depend on self-selected humans (priests, rabbis, ministers, imams and other clerics) with their own vested interests in the hierarchy they represent to interpret historically derived texts. These texts provide a basis for claiming their respective gods have established a unique relationship with their followers, offering them certain supernatural privileges (heaven, salvation, eternal life, etc.) that are denied to nonbelievers. In all instances, nonbelievers are seen as sinners, lost souls, infidels or other such labels of exclusion and division, beings who do not merit the same protections of the particular religion’s god.
”Inherent in this mutually exclusive supernatural belief structure, (meaning it cannot be confirmed by human experience and can only be assumed by faith) are the seeds of dissension, distrust, arrogance, self-aggrandizement, and open hostilities. The stronger one worldview/religion holds to its beliefs, the stronger the faith demonstrated by another. The principle of energetic polarities insures that the more fierce one force becomes, the more horrific the reaction.
“While acts of force will temporarily shift the favor in the struggle from one side to the other, a long-term solution will only be possible when enough humans adopt a view of humanity and its place in the universe that can become self-evident to people of all cultures. A view of reality that transcends current religions and provides a credible and confirmable story of our species and its place in the universe could transmute the energy of divisiveness to an emotion of cooperation.” (Excerpted from a letter from Paul Von Ward, author of Our Solarian Legacy: Multidi-mensional Humans in a Self-Learning Universe)