reply to post by Deetermined
Hinduism has both a polytheistic branch, and a monotheistic branch. I've heard there's even an atheistic branch, although I don't know much about
that. But, figures like Varuna, Visnu, and Agni who predate the worship of Brahma certainly suggest that not every Hindu believes all of their gods
are manifestations of The God. That practice, by the way, is known as a Henotheism. Egypt utilized it during the Akhenaten period. Hinduism certainly
counts as a world faith.
Buddhism utilizes many, many of the Hindu gods. Deities like Yama, the death-god who weighs your Karma, or Sridevi who represents the divine feminine
manifesting on Earth are both present in Buddhist doctrines. Both Yama and Sridevi are deities who even guard and protect the Dalai Lama as well.
Buddhism has a polytheistic and an atheistic element to it as well.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam having the same deity I have no problem agreeing with. I often try to not make that suggestion though, as Jews and
Christians tend to get very angry, or defensive, if you suggest that their religion shares anything in common with the Muslims. But yes, I am aware
that Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed are all prophets of YHVH, who began his rule with the raising up of Abraham.
Jainism is a mix of Hinduism and Buddhism, with belief in an over-arching, all-encompassing "spirit" that operates and acts through sacred energies.
Their concept of God is as ethereal as the Muslim concept of Allah is. They have many mystical and spiritual beliefs, and are definitely not
The Baha'i are more Universal than Islamist. They believe in a single God, whose manifestations include all of the leading figures of the world's
great religions. The "all religions are one" crowd are the Baha'i people.
Sikhism is the mystical element of Hinduism, which spawned the whole line of Gurus and Yogis. You can thank the Sikh's for the majority of the New
Age enlightenment Gurus who so captivate Americans.
The mystical element of Islam is called Sufism.
The general estimates concerning worldwide population and these practices would be:
Christianity - 2 billion worldwide
Islam - 1.5 billion worldwide
Hinduism - 1 billion worldwide
Buddhism - 600 million worldwide
Sikhs - 27 million worldwide
Judaism - 13 million worldwide
Baha'i - 7 million worldwide
Jainism - 4 million worldwide
Neopagan - 1 million worldwide
Now, I would like to see you tell the billion Hindus, the 600 million Buddhists, the 27 million Sikhs, the 7 million Baha'i, the 4 million Jains, and
the roughly 1 million Neopagans (the number is likely far larger, but Neopaganism has no central "authority" figure who could collect membership
data) that they're not worshiping a god, or gods. No, just because your definition of god differs from theirs, does not mean their gods are any less
legitimate than yours. The majority is not always right.
~ Wandering Scribe