The attached piece is an excerpt from a paper that I am writing on 6 major world religions. In light of what transpired in Ethiopia last month I felt it would be timely to share my two cents on the matter.
Please don`t attempt to convert me as I won`t dare do that to you:
By: Napoleon Amde
May 9, 2022
The essence of this piece is to underscore the importance of inculcating and reinforcing mutual respect between religions.
The 6 most popular religions of our time are: Christianity (1st century CE), Islam (7th century CE), Hinduism (circa 7,000 BCE), Buddhism (circa 600 BCE), Sikhism (15th century CE) and Judaism (circa 2,000 BCE).
Currently out of the 7.9 billion people in the world 6.8 are classified under the 4,300 organized religions of the world. While 84% of the world’s population identifies with a religious group 1.1 billion people (16%) are non-religious, unaffiliated – not identified with the organized religions.
Out of 7.9 (2022) world population 55% is comprised of the 3 religions; Christianity 2.38 billion, Islam 1.91 billion and Judaism 14.6 million.
Hinduism is the world`s first religion and currently has the 3rd largest number of followers (1.1 billion). Since the founding of Hinduism, the world has witnessed introduction of many branches of religions and plethora of subsects with no guarantee that it will ever stop from propagating. As the demography of the 84%
religious group indicates they are younger and produce more children than those who do not have religious affiliation heralding that faith is bourgeoning and is here to stay.
The fundamental teachings of the 3 major religions of the world; Judaism, Christianity and Islam (in the order of their founding) is that God is creator of the universe and beyond, of life and death, of day and night and of all creatures including human beings – he is Omnipresent, Peace, Love, Alpha and Omega and Omniscient (all-knowing).
The three aforementioned monotheistic religions besides tracing their root from the Father of Faith Abraham and coming from the same geographical area they share the belief that all human beings have a divine purpose, we all are created in God`s image and we have to live upholding moral excellence.
What is the symbolism behind Christ`s washing the feet of his disciples? Wasn`t it to teach us about humbleness and humility? Aren`t we, unlike Cain, supposed to be keepers of our brothers/sisters? When followers of the then new religion, Islam, were persecuted Prophet Mohammed directed and sent them to take refuge in another land away from the birth of the religion. He didn`t hide or disappear into the crack of the Earth to save his life. Moses, the liberator and the leader of the exodus, learning his fate that he`ll not taste the fruit of his labor didn`t argue, raise tantrum and fight to cross to the promised land after trekking in the desert for 40 years hoping day in and out to reach the land of milk and honey. He was content looking across from Mount Pisgah when his brothers/sisters crossed over. Isn`t Prophet Mohammed`s and Moses` deed exemplification of unadulterated sacrifice and Christ`s ultimate sacrifice? What is our take from that?
While most of the holy teachings share the “don`t do to others what you don`t want them do unto you” general principle – yet people often coerce, ridicule and condescend others for not believing the same religious believes and values like theirs. People denigrate other`s religion by being snobbish filled with conceit. This cognitive dissonance occurs when the set of beliefs are inconsistent with actions taken.
Nearly all religions have subdivisions. Christianity that is the world`s largest religion (2.4 billion followers) is divided into branches and further into thousands of denominations. Eastern and Western theology-; Roman Catholic (majority 1.3 billion), Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Baptist, Protestantism, Methodist, Lutherans, Seventh-Day Adventists, Mormons and etc…
Islam the World`s second largest religion has followers out of which 95% are either Sunni (majority 1.39 billion) or Shi`a Muslims. The religion`s other branches are; Ibadi, Ahmadiyya and Sufi.
World`s third monotheistic and second oldest religion is Judaism. The religion has four branches namely; Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism.
Within the last 192,000 years its estimated that 109 billion people have lived and died on Earth. From the 7.9 billion of us currently gracing the Earth with our presence and the departed 109 billion the majority are classified under one of the organized religions.
If we believe that there is life after death as most of the teachings instill in us and if we believe only our particular subsect of the branch of religion, we follow, is the only path to salvation it means that we are claiming that all the rest of billions of
people who are God`s creation, are condemned. Isn`t that being vain… believing the Sun rotates only on our axis? Are we saying the merciful, omniscient created the supermajority of humans to later use them as firewood in hell for eternity? Wouldn`t that be a logical fallacy of the third kind?
I say, if we truly believe that our creator is Omniscient, we shouldn`t think even for an iota of a second that he created his children with one group better and one group inferior in all aspects, including the capacity to sift through and understand matter, as that would be sacrilegious – insulting our creator. The sine qua non of a true believer is to have faith. The fabric that ties all organized religions is love, moral and ethical values. We all children of God should exert effort to reinforce that at every waking moment of our life. Not self-elevate ourselves on a pedestal and look our brothers and sisters down …
The recent incident that transpired in Gondar inside a Church compound that commenced with individuals who wanted to take unused rocks led to fist fighting then escalated to killing each other. For the life of me I`ve no clue through what scale of measurement we equated the value of human`s life to a piece of rock. …to dip to the lowest point of human aggression to commit such horrific and barbaric act. I vehemently believe that we have to narrow the differences between these religions. Adonai, Elohim, Jehovah and Allah (Allah has ninety-nine names) all refers to one God. Believing in him should be the focal point that brings these religions and their subsects together. We shouldn`t create dissimilarity and fabricate wedges between us and take arms feeling that we are waging a needed holy war in this 21st century of advanced science and technology. Our God the Almighty the Merciful is God of Love not God of hate and death.