Part 2 of 3:
Introduction to the religions of the world:
Introductory thoughts (Cont'd).
doomsday cults are fortunately few in number, and are listed elsewhere.
Finally, we have what some people regard as America's real religion. They sum it up in two behaviors: ignore thy neighbor and worship the dollar. Alton C. Thompson has written an essay on this topic, in which he views the United States as a third-world country.
What doesn't make sense about religion: Religions and the sciences differ greatly in their teachings. There are certain topics where science and religion overlap. Examples are the origin of the universe, cosmology, how animal species came to exist, the age of the earth, many topics associated with human sexuality, etc.
And so, for example, the vast majority of paleontologists, geologists and biologists accept the theory of evolution, whereas many religions in the world have their own creation stories. Another example is that much of the religiously-based violence in the Middle East is not among Jews, Christians and Muslims. Rather, it is between the Sunni and Shi'ite branches of Islam -- two groups that separated shortly after the death of Muhammad because they could not agree on how to select his successor.
Religions of the world -- and individual denominations or traditions within these religions -- teach very different beliefs about the existence of God, Gods, the Goddess, Goddesses, pantheons of Gods and Goddesses, etc. They have very different views on the nature of deity, humanity, and the rest of the universe.
But almost all their members share one belief: that they, alone, have the fullness of truth, and that every other religion in the world is wrong. Even within a single religion, many denominations, traditions and faith groups teach mutually exclusive beliefs, including the belief that they are right and all of the other faith groups within their religion are wrong -- at least to some degree.
Susan Humphreys has donated an essay that touches on this attitude. It is called: "About hubris: extreme pride or arrogance -- particularly as it applies to religious belief."
The stakes are high. Ultimately, if humans cannot learn how to coexist in peace with people from other religions, and from other faith groups within their religion, religiously-based wars will be inevitable in our future. With the spread of nuclear weapons around the world, World War III would likely be the last world war, because it is probable that no humans would be still alive to fight World War IV. On a positive note, cockroaches can survive very high levels of radiation; given two billion years or so, they would probably survive and evolve into an intelligent species resembling today's humans.
There are probably tens of millions of religious web sites on the Internet. During 2015-DEC, a Google search for "God" returned almost 1.5 billion hits! Most describe and promote only a single tradition or faith group within a single religion.
However, there are a handfull of web sites that, like this one, cover a broad range of faith groups. Consider:
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Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last updated: 2015-DEC-11
Hyperlinks last checked: 2015-NOV-10
Author: B.A. Robinson
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