Established Religions – an overview

  • This page is part of a group of pages looking at answers to the ‘big questions’ – ‘What is the purpose of life?’ and ‘How should I live?’ are probably the biggest. For more on my motivations and approach, see Journey towards a Path if you haven’t already read it. As I said there, I looked first at the foundations of logical reasoning, science and philosophy (in ‘Metaphysics‘) and then at the major ‘Established Religions’ (here) to see what might be useful.

Established Religions

The major world religions fall into two groups (according to Wikipedia, anyway): ‘dharmic’ and ‘Abrahamic’. The dharmic religions are Hinduism and its offshoots Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, while the Abrahamic are Judaism and its offshoots Christianity and Islam, the monotheistic religions.

‘Buddhism is the fifth-largest religion in the world behind Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and traditional Chinese religion, in that order,’ again according to Wikipedia. There are dozens or hundreds of smaller religions, depending on how ‘religion’ is defined. Some belong to one of the two major groups (e.g. the Baha’i Faith, which is Abrahamic) while some are unaffiliated (e.g. Taoism).

Looking at existing religions, I see that:

Firstly, most people I know who are affiliated with established religions are nicer and happier than most who are not, but also that religions are responsible for much of the world’s conflict.

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