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Category: Faith, Religion & Spirituality / Topics: Beliefs Diversity & Pluralism Religion


by Dan Seagren

Posted: March 19, 2017

Measuring the world's religions…

We all use a yardstick at times often called rulers, measuring sticks, rod, tape and so on. However, when it comes to non-tangibles its another matter. Lets look at religion. How can we measure that? There are so many, some similar, others not so. Today we could say that there are several major ancient religions (e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism) and others (Christianity, Confucianism, Islam) plus a host of other religions, new and old.

Defining of religion can be very complex: religions are divided into stages of progression from simple to complex societies, especially from polytheistic to monotheistic and from extempore to organized, proselytizing (attempting to convert people of another religion or no religion) and non-proselytizing.

Many religions share common beliefs and some are basically geographically oriented and nationalistic. Then there are lesser religions, subdivisions, denominations, cults, sects, isms with individual distinctives as well as some similar characteristics. Religions are often biologically preserved from generation to generation. The question is very complex: which one is the best; which one fits my needs the most? Which one seems most useful? How does one join, what are the requirements and benefits? Then we must ask early not later: if I am not involved, what will or won't happen?

Are we humans designed to be religious or not? If it is a natural thing: body, brain, heart, nerves, cells, we might not be qualified. If it is spiritual: soul, conscience, intellect/reason, that would be another factor. If both, it could include rules, giving, physical attire, deeds, rituals, behavior, allegiance and so on.

Is it any wonder that religion is so widespread, with its contrasts and similarities, winsome or unappealing, demanding or easy going, welcoming or inhospitable, giving or taking with certain requirements or none? Entrance can be laborious or a nod. Many religions are insufficient as well. The moral of the story: measurevery carefully by choiceor birth; an exodus could range from lack of interest to an inexcusable act.

In conclusion: religion covers the globe; like civilization it rises and falls, is strict or casual, is human or divine, and some choose to abstain. But is this the end result? Yes and no. Supernaturally inspired religion goes beyond birth and death. Without a divine dimension, birth to death is the order of magnitude. With divinity inspired religion there is life after death, eternity, angelic beings, supreme issued ultimate justice with separate final dwelling places. Alas, human reasoning is ultimately inadequate and so a superb yardstick is imperative.

Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: March 19, 2017

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