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What is the most successful religion?

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posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 09:30 PM
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It's been a quiet night so I figured I'd post a question that's been bubbling up for a while, I recently started a project and have hit a snag.

I first have to say I am not religious or an atheist. If I had to classify myself it would fall somewhere around pragmatic agnosticism, but I am a very spiritually connected person. An example to this would be that I feel the presence of a higher being at certain times. Also I am very accepting and tollerant of those that are relgious, in truth my half brother is a well respected evangelist.
Second is that trying to research this myself has run me into a dead end. I am not versed enough in the various types of religion and those individuals I do know adhere to one specific type, which often creates a bias in information. I don't want to turn to general information as found on the internet because again I will be forming an opinion based by me, who lacks the years of study this subject deserves. Theology bores me and I'm not privy to a non-religious theology major, thus my conundrum.

Now I don't even really know how to classify this question as to largest following, longest in practice or even most accepted in terms of outside spectators. I'm assuming it's probably a combination of traits but not informed enough to know which ones. Honestly, I don't even know if there is a legitamate way to answer this question, but I have to start somewhere.

So tell me what you think. Short and sweet, long and winded, even just to point me in the right direction or tell me it's too subjective and impossible to determine. I don't care all your answers will be helpfull at this point. I have to come to some type of conclusion.

Thank you for the temporary use of your brains in advance, AB




posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 09:36 PM
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Learn to love yourself, to accept your human limits, to forgive yourself, to listen to your inner child. Then apply to others.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 09:39 PM
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a reply to: AnteBellum

Religion is outdated. It no longer applies to modern life and I think the response to that is either people forming their own little cults, interest in eastern philosophy such as Buddhism...or just outright atheism.
Religious Dogma is losing and fragmented religious groups will try and pick up .....but I think we're seeing an end of religion. (THank GoOdness)



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 09:49 PM
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a reply to: AnteBellum

It's hard to actually choose which is the most successful.. Each and every one has it's good and bad aspects. But from my own personal opinion, Islam may not be the most successful right now but one day it will be. I'm not talking about this terrorist ideology that we are facing today either, I think one day the world is going to wake up and wonder how this religion slipped by them. That's just my opinion though.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 09:51 PM
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originally posted by: paleorchid13
a reply to: AnteBellum

Religion is outdated. It no longer applies to modern life and I think the response to that is either people forming their own little cults, interest in eastern philosophy such as Buddhism...or just outright atheism.
Religious Dogma is losing and fragmented religious groups will try and pick up .....but I think we're seeing an end of religion. (THank GoOdness)


Yes, because being a compliant little robot is the way too truth now, isn't it?



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:07 PM
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I would think the most correct answer would be Abrahamic religions.

This is to encompass all of the individual sects that are based off of the abrahamic religion. This covers christianity, judaism, islam, mormonism and all the other little branches.

While they may be treated as different religions, at the core they are all just different interpretations of, or additions to the same base.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:08 PM
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a reply to: AnteBellum

Start with the 3 biggies. Judaism, Christianity, Islam.

Is this for a school assignment? If it is, try to stick to the formula. This is a broad and non-intuitive way to qualify religion, as "most successful". Perhaps you could talk about why different religions were made popular in their origins and current state instead, if you want to be more objective.

Judaism - The oldest of the monotheisms. Brought together disparate people who were all worshiping lots of different gods or god kings. The message of one god was powerful in the beginning. It simplified the complex religious processes needed to placate multiple gods. Lots of rules about how to live, including dietary and financial guidelines.

Christianity - Started as a small, rather weird cult. Made official state religion of Rome by Constantine, who "Romanized" the fledgling religion. Made god more personal with the introduction of Jesus. Gave the people a real person that they could relate to. Talk about the great schism between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. Mention monasteries, where monks could devote time to art, science, and math. You can talk about the leadership role the church played in the medieval era - Remember there were those who prayed, those who fought, and those who worked, in that order during feudalism.

Islam - Gave a finality to the whole monotheism thing. Mohammed is viewed as the final prophet of god. Talk about how he spread Islam through the Middle East using shrewd diplomacy and military tactics, and how strange this was for an illiterate failed merchant to accomplish. You'll wanna talk about the hajj (bringing lots of people together for one cause amd connecting with the prophet on a personal level), giving charity to the poor, a schedule of prayer, etc.

Don't forget Hinduism. Lots and lots of gods, but all representation of one. The rig vedas and Bhagavad Gita were stories that laid down morality and ethical issues.Talk about reincarnation and karma, and how this translates to the caste system which was and is still unfortunately practiced in India, keeping people rigidly locked in one station in life. Talk about the various cults and festivals.

From here you can talk about Buddhism and how it split from Hinduism. Think of it as Hinduism light. You'll wanna mention the appeal of asceticism and the simple life, because this attracted a lot of people from Hinduism. And there's two flavors, The Greater and Lesser Vehicles. Don't forget how important Nirvana was, escape from the cycle of birth and death, giving up desire was the key.

If you really need more substance, go for the Mesoamerican religions. The Mayans were all about blood and time. They used a combination of religion and astronomy to predict eclipses and other astronomical events. Talk about how this gave the kings the power to "talk to the gods" if you will and how this impressed the people.

I'm just assuming this is a paper you have to write, so this is pretty formulaic, but I hope it helps. You will find common themes among the major religions which helped them go from just one among many to what they are now. I think, if possible, make this your thesis.

Good luck

Hope this helps, it's some I remembered from college history class.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:09 PM
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a reply to: DarknStormy

I was kinda circumventing the moderate, fundamentalist and extremist categories of each specific group.

But it does look like the movement of Islam has shifted forward taking momentum away from Catholicism, which everyone seems to believe is the most successful. But I'm not totally sold on that just because they were/are the most popular they get the label most successful. Like I said it's a hard question to answer unless you know all you need to consider to formulate an answer


a reply to: xDeadcowx

Thank you I will look into that, wasn't aware they connected that way.


a reply to: ZeroReady

I wish it was a school paper, I'd pay you to write it! Lol
Unfortunately I've been commissioned to do an elaborate piece with subject matter I find less then interesting and I cannot refuse the challenge for lack of a better term, political reasons. Thanks for the post it does make things clearer.
edit on 9/15/2014 by AnteBellum because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:09 PM
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How are you classifying them
Animists, monotheistic, deity's who or what they worship or are you talking about specific denomination as Muslim, hindu, Judaic, then what makes them successful, the influence, the power, the military might or the numbers gain, dare I add financial power

I know many who consider atheism a religion, they seem very successful

Seems like half a question, might need to be a little more specific
edit on b2014Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:12:29 -050093020141pm302014-09-15T22:12:29-05:00 by borntowatch because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:16 PM
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a reply to: AnteBellum

You are right about it being nearly impossible to ask this question correctly. You may as well go on a quest to determine which number is the loudest or which color has more color in it.

Maybe you should start by quantifying it or telling us why you are asking (like what the project is about). Are you trying to determine a "default" religion to determine demographic baselines?



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:19 PM
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a reply to: AnteBellum

I don't subscribe to any of them but for your question maybe an unbiased answer will work.

IMO Christianity has been the most successful at spreading across the world based on several factors.It is the least restrictive of all the abrahamic religions which has made it easier for people to follow but a great deal has been because of missionaries where some have been good for other cultures and some not. Christianity has been oppressive to other smaller cultural religions it has also been adapted into many religions. It's ability to change or absorb other beliefs is why I think it has been the most successful. The only place it seems to falter is when it comes up against nonbelief. You can't say my god is better than yours when the other guy says yeah what god.

On the other hand The Muslim faith would just say convert or die at the end of the day you either got a believer or the non believer is gone. I would say that religion at some point will fizzle out as long as living standards, and human rights spread. They don't do a very good job selling their views without the use of duress of course christianity uses duress as well just in a different form of torture after death so in a way christianity has all the selling points covered.


Buddhism, spirituality is on the rise and I can see that trend continuing which may one day lead to it being considered the most successful religion of all time.

Just to finish by reiterating how I started this is all IMO.


edit on 15-9-2014 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:22 PM
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a reply to: AnteBellum

Too me, Christianity may well be the most popular right now but it most certainly isn't the most valuable when it comes to spirituality, wisdom etc. Not because the Bible doesn't have that in there, it's because what Christians are being taught is watered down bullcrap.. I guess you could call it the New Age Christianity and this has been slowly growing over the last century or so.. The end result is not going to be good for that religion.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:24 PM
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a reply to: DarknStormy

I'm not sure what you mean but I'll have a guess. I believe what shamans believe. I think into jungle school and I see organized religion as something quite alien to what original, Gnostic or aboriginal schools of thought believed. I'm not sure where that fits into "conforming to society" but I think you may be mixed up.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:29 PM
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a reply to: AnteBellum

The one that "earned" the most money? What is the criteria for successful? What would deem a religion "successful" or not. Seems like a silly question.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:31 PM
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a reply to: AnteBellum


The most successful religions in my opinion are among those never classified as such: compliance with the state, followed by the worship of money in every form down through history and lastly, the religion of self-preservation.

Religion of the State

In complying with the state or honoring the citizen's terms of the social contract a lifetime of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly ritual must be practiced with an end to such adherence only available to the congregant in death. Taxes must be paid. Laws must be followed. Debts must be honored and legally binding contractual terms complied with. Work of some kind must be performed or traded in exchange for currency, and contributions must be made to various mandatory federal programs.

Insurances must be purchased in order to ensure one's ability to participate in necessary social privileges, protect against inability to work due to sickness and a raft of other societal expectations. In order to make the big purchases and to have that nest egg at retirement, banks and investment firms and the Fed itself must be engaged with, worshiped with contributions and gambled with on ever changing markets (a religion unto itself.) Choosing to opt out or to not believe in or participate in this religion is impossible for most, and in doing so one risks the equivalent of hell on Earth: prison, impossible debt, or homelessness.

And finally, the society or state into which we are born is indeed a god, one who rarely forgives and employs a system of legal vengeance as justice. Society the god knows you, intimately, from your time of birth and rewards your prayers (law abiding, paying taxes, etc.) with equal oppression within the bubble of which most worshipers can carve out a comfortable life in some form so long as they religiously practice the mandatory rituals.

Religion of Money

Money is perhaps the sole deity that embodies heaven, hell and purgatory; nirvana, and just about every "ism" known to the thinking individual. When we have it in sufficient amount, we can survive without borrowing more. In this state of money we are rarely happy, but often find satisfaction in knowing we've earned our way and provided for ourselves and our family members, and that we've done our duty as good citizens.

When he have more than enough, we can go out and consume commodities we likely don't really need but desire or at least make us feel better. Also in this state of money we can save or put away some of that surfeit either for a rainy day or the end run of our lives. In the state of money surplus we are often exuberant; we are kind to one another, unusually light of mind and cheery as we feel the weight of leaner times slough away, and our health likely improves. The downside: the possibility of having to choose between lending some of our surplus to a friend or family member in need or hoarding it all for ourselves. In such cases Money becomes a whoring god who would taunt us with annoying quandaries such as sympathy, compassion, kindness and altruistic concerns--the latter surely a devil incarnate when our pockets are overflowing.

And, when we do not have enough money, everything goes to hell. We snap at our loved ones; marriages running for years run out; the world becomes a very uninhabitable place and dreams start to feel more like prisons without gates or keys.

The universality of Money: the religion is literally that every single last one of us practices it from extreme youth to death. Sure, you could go live in a den in the forest and forsake the god of cash, but you'd probably end up in a bear's gut. Don't end up in a bear's gut; worship money!

Religion of Self-Preservation

Seven billion practitioners and counting . . .

edit on PMp10201430332014-09-15T22:33:07-05:00J2014America/Chicago by AphoticJoe because: added a word



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:37 PM
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I don't mean to be simplistic , but you can't ignore the fact that every peaceful religion has been wiped out...or is being wiped out. Every person that has stood for peace has been assassinated . Those that stand for peace will be irradiated. I stand behind atheists because they vote for human rights and I believe they are the sanity needed to stop this nonsense.
edit on 15-9-2014 by paleorchid13 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:39 PM
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a reply to: paleorchid13

I'm not mixed up bro..

Religion has a major role on this planet whether we like it or not and it doesn't matter how far advanced a society is.



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:47 PM
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a reply to: DarknStormy

Religion ...organized religion is what's keeping us from progressing. You want to cherry pick some rules from thousands of years ago? People are arguing about a bunch of # that doesn't apply. We need to figure out how technology applies to our moral values . As a society we are facing technology Vrs jobs. Technology Vrs. pollution and weather or not we are poisoning ourselves. Technology and war. Religion is some far out there moral principle that stands for nothing.



edit on 15-9-2014 by paleorchid13 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:49 PM
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a reply to: Cuervo

This answer was to your question but for everyone also.

I have been comisioned to do a sculpture and I use the term sculpture loosely.
I can't get into the description or client but a religiously themed piece tied into what they are trying to graft together seems appropriate but it has to be objective and in mind with today's politically correct ideology. No direct symbolism, just indirect or abstract representation.
So the most successful religion will be used as almost the backbone of? ? ? whatever that is? in combination with several other earthly equivelants such as but not limited to politics, academics and nationalism.
It's hard to explain, I'm still at the begining but I'm thinking the monotheistic perspective might work, if it's true which I'm assuming it is.

The sumerians were monotheistic right? Then it went to poly then back to mono?
edit on 9/15/2014 by AnteBellum because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 15 2014 @ 10:53 PM
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a reply to: AphoticJoe

That's actually another direction I could take it but I'm not sure it will qualify.

I tend to agree with what you wrote though also as fits with my own personal definitions.



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