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The most influential religions of all time

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Religions have appeared since the beginning of mankind, mainly as a necessary limitation to the freedom of the human being. It is impressive how the human from his beginnings adored deities of any kind, starting from any object, like a simple tree, a waterfall, a rock or a volcano. 

When human beings became aware of their finitude, religion began to have enormous effect on their lives, being another world that had to be satisfied with sacrifices, praises, prayers and moral laws. 

In this article, we will introduce you to the most influential religions in the history of humanity: 

The Greek Religions

Zeus – Marco De Antoni

 

The ancient Greeks worshiped several gods, something that is known like ‘polytheism’. Polytheistic Greek religion enclosed a myriad of gods, each representing a certain facet of the human condition, and even abstract ideas such as justice and wisdom could have their own impersonation. The most important gods, though, were the Olympians led by Zeus.  In the area of art and philosophy, the stories of these gods influenced notably Western society, of which we are descendants. “The Achilles Heel”, “The Apple of Discord”, “The Trojan Horse”, “Narcissism”, “The Aphrodisiac Gift” and many more myths are now recorded in mankind. It is not possible to estimate clearly how many people followed that religion by then. Nevertheless it is necessary to take into account that the Roman religion took  Greeks Gods as a  base of its own, by only changing their names.

 

Judaism

Jacob Shein

The first people of Jehovah were the people of Moses, the prophet who first stated the orders of Yahweh, as he is also known. It was the dominant religion during the Old Age, in areas such as Israel, Syria and Palestine. These people called themselves “the chosen people of God”, which was detestable for many religions. Recent information shows that an average of 16,000,000 people follow this doctrine. Judaism is the complex phenomenon of a total way of life for the Jewish people, comprising theology, law, and innumerable cultural traditions. The biblical authors believed that the divine presence is encountered primarily within history. God’s presence is also experienced within the natural realm, but the more immediate or familiar revelation occurs in human actions. Although other ancient communities also perceived a divine presence in history, the understanding of the ancient Israelites proved to be the most lasting and influential.

 

Islam

Dadan Winanda

The great prophet Muhammad, and the God called Allah, are embodied in a book that does not appear in the Bible, the Koran.  Allah is viewed as the sole God the creator, sustainer, and restorer of the world. The will of Allah, to which human beings must submit, is made known through the sacred scriptures which consist the Koran,  that Allah revealed to his messenger, Muhammad. In Islam Muhammad is considered to be the last of a series of prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, and his message simultaneously consummates and completes the “revelations” ascribed to earlier prophets. This religion spread thanks to the Ottoman Turks, who had an empire of wide extension, from parts of Western Asia, until the entrance of Vienna, where they could not defeat a European coalition army. From Islam, radical groups and other extremists emerge. Radicals paint an image of a God who is brutal and cruel and demands the punishment of the infidels without mercy. There is no unanimity as to the exact number of Muslims at present. Estimations range from the moderate of eight hundred millions and the excessive that places them close to fifteen hundred. Possibly, the real number should be around one billion

 

Christianity

Edward Regan

Jesus of Nazareth, the most famous character in history, due to the sacrifice he allegedly made, being crucified by the Romans to absolve all human beings from their sins. At the very least, Christianity is the faith tradition that focuses on the figure of Jesus Christ. As a tradition, Christianity is more than a system of religious belief. It also has generated a culture, a set of ideas and ways of life, practices, and artifacts that have been handed down from generation to generation since Jesus first became the object of faith. Christianity is thus both a living tradition of faith and the culture that the faith leaves behind. The agent of Christianity is the church, the community of people who constitute the body of believers. It was the religion that dominated from its beginnings in the year 30, until the arrival of Contemporary Age. Christianity was so strong, that since its birth, technological and intellectual advances were stationary until the arrival of the Italian Renaissance. This religion was the creator of the bestselling book in history and the first printed by Gutenberg, The Holy Bible. It is estimated that there are approximately 2 billion Christian people who profess this religion. This represents almost a third of the worldwide population.

 

Feature Image – Melesmeles

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