Origins of ordinary things: Religion

There are countless religions around the world, the most dominant ones being Christianity and Islam.

There are countless religions around the world, the most dominant ones being Christianity and Islam. Although most religious books and teachings date their beliefs to the beginning of time, written records only began after the invention of writing. According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, the invention of writing began around 3200 BCE.

Unlike the case for modern day religion, early human beings were polytheists; they believed in the existence of many gods. According to ‘Ancient’, a history website, the argument was that just like human beings fill different roles in the world, there had to be a god for each aspect of life.

In ancient civilisations such as Egypt and Greece, there were gods of rain, harvest, fertility, love and many more. Sacrifices were made and rituals were observed to appease the gods. The rules supposedly set down by those gods often mirrored the culture of the believing societies.

For example, the gods of ancient Egypt, according to web-based History World, were mandated by ensuring that the sun gets up every morning and helping the dead during their transition to the next world. Their belief in the next world was so strong that prominent members of society were buried with models of their servants and other items that they could use.

In some other ancient societies, it was believed that everything was God and God was everything. Because of this, people were required to live in respect and harmony with nature and other living creatures.

Belief in one God began in 1000 BC with a man called Abraham. According to the web-based ‘All about Religion’, God revealed himself to the Israelites through a period of 1500 years and they recorded these encounters in what is now known as the ‘Old Testament’. This is not to say that the Hebrews discredited the existence of other gods. Rather, they believed that only their God was true and stronger than the rest.

When Jesus Christ, who was believed to be the Messiah, died in 32 AD and ascended into heaven, Christianity was born and ‘The New Testament’ was written. Around 600 AD, someone called Muhammad is believed to have received instruction from a God named Allah. He wrote those instructions in the Qur’an and Islam was born.

The different religions that are in existence have different origins and most believers are convinced that their respective beliefs are superior to the rest. According to the Religious Tolerance organisation, religious belief systems are mostly based on hunches, which explains why they are divergent.

Moreover, the believers are convinced that their opinions are from God, therefore, they should not be questioned or changed. Conflicting religious views have resulted in war in some parts of the world.

Even though a large percentage of the world is still religious, mostly due to childhood indoctrination, there is a rise in atheism. As enlightenment spreads, the number of people who believe in the existence of a deity is slowly going down. This is especially true in the developed countries.