Awareness 103: Every Significant Religion Out There

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NOTE: If you do not see a religion here, it is either devoid of adequate theology to answer at least 2 of the Big 3 Existential Questions or is a theologically consistent subset of one of the listed.

Monotheism – 1 God

  • Christianity (founded by Jesus c. 30 AD)
    • Where did we come from?
      • God created us in his image for a close relationship with him. God is a Holy Trinity comprised of three persons, but is only one God.
    • What are we?
      • We are fallen sinners who need God’s love and have lost our original creation’s purpose of being in communion with God because of that sin.
    • Where are we going?
      • We are judged by God the Father, and either go to heaven if our sins have been purified by Jesus’ blood or hell if we have to pay for our sins ourselves.
  • Islam (founded by Muhammad  c. 609 AD)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We were created by God to fulfill God’s will of being known by someone other than himself. God is singular, and there is nobody but God.
    • What are we?
      • We are made and purposed to worship God, and it is a greater purpose than any other. Worship is honoring the Five Pillars of Islam and can also include establishing Islamic governmental authority or practicing jihad.
    • Where are we going?
      • As soon as we die, Hazrat Izraeel (the angel of death) extracts the person’s soul. The Angels of Mercy take a Muslim’s soul and the Angels of Punishment take a non-believer’s soul. They go to the world of Barzakh until the day of judgment, and the soul is still linked to the body. Judgment is not specified outside of followers of Islam having any chance of being spared hell and making it into paradise.
  • Judaism (founded by Abraham c. 2000 BC)
    • Where did we come from?
      • G*d created us in His image, and the Jews are G*d’s chosen people.
    • What are we?
      • As Jews, we are tasked with obeying G*d’s commandments and laws and G*d’s chosen people are waiting for the coming Messiah to save us from our sins.
    • Where are we going?
      • This is not very clear and not very strongly emphasized, except that everyone dies and there is probably an afterlife.
  • Nation of Islam (founded by Wallace Fard Muhammad in 1930)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We were created by God. God came in the form of Wallace Fard Muhammad. The moon was once a part of the earth, and the earth is 76 million years old.
    • What are we?
      • There is an 85% of the world that is being deceived, as well as a 10% that is deceiving. There is a 5% of righteous teachers that fight the 10% for the rest. The black man is a nation of its own, and they were enslaved and sent to America to fulfill Biblical prophecy as God’s chosen people.
    • Where are we going?
      • The need to understand an afterlife is both from the need for survival we have inside of us as well as a failure to connect with the Supreme Singular Deity.
  • Seventh-Day Adventists (offshoot of Millerites, founded largely by Ellen G. White in 1863)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We were created by God, who is comprised of a Holy Trinity.
    • What are we?
      • We are tasked with fulfilling God’s commands, which include not eating meat and honoring the Sabbath Day.
    • Where are we going?
      • Jesus has already come in 1844, and is carrying out an “investigative judgment” right now in order to come back again. When he does, everyone will either go to heaven or will cease to exist.
  • Unification Church (founded by Sun Myung Moon in 1954)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We were created by God, who is a dualistic father-mother entity.
    • What are we?
      • As outlined in the Exposition of the Divine Principle, we have fallen from a perfect state and need redemption through the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, manifest in Sun Myung Moon and his wife Hak Ja Han.
    • Where are we going?
      • We must pay indemnity (cancelling of our sins we’ve done with other good things) to atone in order to bring around the Kingdom of God. All travesties including the Holocaust and World Wars may have been nothing more than indemnity, and just because you have died does not mean you are exempt from paying indemnity.

Polytheism – 2 or more gods

  • Asatru/Germanic Neopaganism (founded in 19th century)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We are in Midgard, one of nine realms, that all came from the World Tree Yggdrasil.
    • What are we?
      • We are made of Wyrds from the three Norns that have spun Being, Becoming and Obligation into us from the World Tree’s roots.
    • Where are we going?
      • This is varied and not definitive, but it can be anything from variations of paradise or damnation or even living out life like normal after death.
  • Epicureanism (founded by Epicurus c. 307 BC)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We are all made of atoms, which are eternal. There is nothing but the physical, including the soul being made of atoms. The gods exist, but don’t take notice of us.
    • What are we?
      • See the above question. The greatest principles are peace of mind, happiness and pleasure.
    • Where are we going?
      • There is no afterlife outside of our atoms that continue on for eternity.
  • Greco-Roman Religion (founded with Ancient Greece in 8th century BC, possibly evolved from Mycenaean)
    • Where did we come from?
      • Four divine beings came into existence: Chaos, The Abyss, Earth (Gaea) and Love (Eros). They forcibly tore Earth from her consort Heaven (Uranus) for her to give birth. To effect the separate Uranus’ testicles were severed by his son Cronus (Zeus’ father) and thrown into the sea, where Aphrodite rose.
    • What are we?
      • Our greatest purpose religiously is to believe the gods and perform the proper sacrifices and rituals. This can gain favor and merit from the gods and others. Our lives are ultimately subject to the gods and to Fate.
    • Where are we going?
      • A select few will go to Elysium (paradise) at the western end of the earth. Some very awful sinners will go to Tartarus (hell). Most will go to Hades, but only if they have had a proper burial.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses (offshoot of Millerites, founded by Charles Taze Russell in 1879)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We were made by God, as well as Jesus (another lesser god) and everything else.
    • What are we?
      • We are commanded to strictly follow the commands that the Watchtower Society indicates and interprets from the one true Bible translation: the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.
    • Where are we going?
      • 144,000 elect Witnesses will go to heaven and have spirit bodies. Other Witnesses will live on a restored paradise on earth. Non-Witnesses will cease to exist.
  • Mayan Religion (founded c. 250 AD)
    • Where did we come from?
      • The world and its five world trees were created after the sky collapsed and there was a large flood.
    • What are we?
      • We have multiple souls, defined in quasi-material terms (e.g. shadow, breath, blood and bone). Ailments and illnesses come from losing one of those souls.
    • Where are we going?
      • There might be an underworld or there might be an afterlife, but it varies from region to region.
  • Mormonism/Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We are spirit beings born from Heavenly Parents, though we shouldn’t worship our Heavenly Mother. We were given free will to worship the Father because Jesus, one of the Father’s sons, fought with Lucifer in heaven for us.
    • What are we?
      • We are given free will to worship the Father or reject him. To live in the best way is to work to become perfected in Christ through His grace and one day return to live eternally with God, Christ and our families.
    • Where are we going?
      • There is a Celestial Kingdom where those who follow God will go and will see the fullness of God. The Terrestrial Kingdom is where the presence of the Son is, but not of the Father, and is where all who had been deceived by the craftiness of men will go to. Everyone else who doesn’t receive the gospel of Christ or Jesus’ testimony will go to the Telestial Kingdom or Perdition.
  • Shinto (founded before Japan’s written history)
    • Where did we come from?
      • Kami formed us, which is a powerful creating and harmonizing power as well as a truthful way. Kami transcends description with words, but devoted followers of Shinto can understand kami.
    • What are we?
      • No one person is a solitary being, and is connected to both their ancestors in a long lineage as well as their offspring and future legacy. By praying to the gods and performing kami rituals we can be safe and prosperous.
    • Where are we going?
      • After everyone dies, their kami passes on to be a spirit deity and to join a large collective of the Divine.
  • Wicca (founded by Gerald Gardner in 1954)
    • Where did we come from?
      • Traditionally, we are from a goddess tied to the moon, stars and the Earth and a horned god tied to the sun, forests and animals.
    • What are we?
      • We are beings. It is good to adhere to the ethical code of “harm nobody, do what you will”.
    • Where are we going?
      • We probably reincarnate, and go to the Otherworld or Summerland in the meantime.

Pantheism – God is an energy or cosmic force that incorporates itself into everything

  • Buddhism (founded by Siddhartha Gautama in 5th century BC)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We are in a continuous cycle of birth and death called Samsara.
    • What are we?
      • We are learning to remove dukkha (suffering, anxiety, discontent) by following the Noble Eightfold Path.
    • Where are we going?
      • We will be reborn constantly until dukkha has been completely removed inside ourselves.
  • Druze (founded by Al-Darazi in 11th century)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We came from the Divine Intelligence, which has no defined attributes but only an essence.
    • What are we?
      • We are to live a good life in expectation of the reappearance of al-Hakim, who will bring in a new age for true Druze believers.
    • Where are we going?
      • Our good actions are weighed and we will be reincarnated to a hopefully higher existence. Heaven is the escape from reincarnation and a purely spiritual existence, and hell is distance from God across multiple lifetimes.
  • Jainism (founded in the 7th century BC)
    • Where did we come from?
      • The universe and everything in it is eternal, neither having been created and never able to be destroyed.
    • What are we?
      • We are part of a cycle of rebirth that needs release from (moksa). Our karma is defined by our actions on four levels: vedniya (happiness), nam (body), gotra (status) and longevity (ayushya).
    • Where are we going?
      • Once one has attained moksa, they will be free of having to repeat the cycle of life and will have removed all karma and be in ultimate bliss in the highest level of heaven.
  • Hinduism (founded c. 2000 BC)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We all possess an Atman, or soul. This Atman is eternal and is inseparable  and indistinguishable from the supreme spirit, Brahman.
    • What are we?
      • We are all splinters of Brahman tasked with four purposes in life: Dharma (finding a vocation or career and paying the five debts), Artha (finding worldly success), Kama (finding romantic and sexual pleasure) and Moksha (enlightenment).
    • Where are we going?
      • We will all eventually find liberation from the cycle of rebirth and go back to the nothing that is Brahman.
  • Stoicism (founded by Zeno in early 3rd century BC)
    • Where did we come from?
      • Everything is material, and comes from the logos that pervades the universe.
    • What are we?
      • We are all our own bodies, but are part of a greater universal body that is affected by our decisions.
    • Where are we going?
      • When we die, the soul dissolves. The universe started with fire and will end with fire.
  • Taoism (founded c. 550 BC)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We are a part of the Tao, which pervades all. The Tao is comprised of a yin and a yang and the opposites make up a unity.
    • What are we?
      • As part of the Tao, we are constantly changing and a part of qi (indefinite potential). We are to worship the Jade Emperor as well as other deities, but many of these deities can be promoted or demoted for their actions.
    • Where are we going?
      • When we die, we will revert back to the state of non-being that we came from.
  • Unitarian Universalism (founded by Unitarians in 1825, merged with Universalists in 1961)
    • Where did we come from?
      • There is no certainty where we came from, but it is from goodness.
    • What are we?
      • We are living to support each others’ spiritual journeys by adhering to the Seven Principles and Purposes and being inspired by the Six Sources.
    • Where are we going?
      • When we are unhappy we are in hell and when we are happy we are in heaven. There is no period of time except for now.

Panentheism – God is energy or cosmic force but there are also exclusively spiritual/physical things (Monotheism/Polytheism + Pantheism)

  • Baha’i Faith (founded by Siyyid Ali-Muhammad in 1844)
    • Where did we come from?
      • All religious views are correct in some way about our origins.
    • What are we?
      • We have developed through degrees and stages on a path to a greater existence. God is perfect and immeasurable, and is impersonal to us. We come from God and will return someday to God, but cannot understand God.
    • Where are we going?
      • Death is reunion with God. the soul lives forever while the body will die.
  • Caodaism (founded by Ngo Van Chieu in 1926)
    • Where did we come from?
      • There was nothing before the universe but the monad, the Tao. We are all formed from that Tao spirit divided among creation, which includes the dualistic gods Cao Đài (Highest Lord) and Diêu Trì Kim Mẫu (Holy Mother).
    • What are we?
      • All religions are one, and we are to grow into greater beings across our reincarnated lives.
    • Where are we going?
      • We are reincarnating into greater beings over our lives, and will eventually reincarnate back into the Tao as we find God inside ourselves.
  • Christian Science (founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We are from God, the Father-Mother, who is Principle, Mind, Spirit, Life, Truth and Love. There is nothing physical, we are all spiritual and all that we interact with is spiritual.
    • What are we?
      • We are born of God, and it is crucial to accept Jesus as a part of our spiritual development as containing the essence of God but not divinity.
    • Where are we going?
      • We can make choices today that ultimately define the path we take, whether towards God or away from God. Since everything is spiritual, there is no “place” where we go, but we can influence what the afterlife is for us with our choices.
  • Confucianism (founded by Confucius c. 6th-5th century BC)
    • Where did we come from?
      • The question will be answered in time, and there is no clear answer to it. Transcendence will provide answers that words cannot recreate.
    • What are we?
      • We are all part of the Tian, which flows through everything and is everything. Wise men aspire and become one with the Tian. All people are intrinsically good and desire oneness with one another.
    • Where are we going?
      • The afterlife is beyond human comprehension. People should live with no expectation of rewards or punishment in the afterlife, and for social goodness in this life.
  • Eckankar (founded in 1965 by John Paul Twitchell)
    • Where did we come from?
      • The Divine Spirit, called ECK created the universe from the Divine Sound Current. The sound waves were trapped within matter, and we are in a constant cycle of regeneration and rebirth until we can return to God through repeating the Divine Names and listening to the Divine Sound.
    • Where are we going?
      • We will all eventually return to the Divine Spirit with enough time.
  • Rastafarianism (founded in 1930, but originated from movement in 1920s)
    • Where did we come from?
      • The one God creator Jah created everything. Jah came to earth as Jesus, who is a black man also known as Haile Selassie. His death was a hoax and he lives in protection on earth to this day.
    • What are we?
      • True Rastas are everliving, or immortal, both spiritually and physically. Believe in “I and I” instead of “you and I”, which symbolizes the oneness between mankind and God and all humans’ equality.
    • Where are we going?
      • There is no afterlife, but Zion (Africa) is a heaven on earth.
  • Sikhism (founded by Guru Nanak c. 1500)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We are all of God, the one and only God.
    • What are we?
      • Realization of truth is higher than all else. Higher still is truthful living. This is the way to enlightenment.
    • Where are we going?
      • We all reincarnate into souls based on the actions we have made in this life. Demonic ego-centered souls may go to Narak and experience great agonies and pain. Souls who achieve grace by focusing on the Enlightener in meditation will exist eternally as an entity of radiant light and become one with God.
  • Spiritism/Spiritualism (founded by Allan Kardec c. 1857)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We came from the Supreme Intelligence, the First Cause of all things.
    • What are we?
      • We are comprised of body and soul, with both being real ascribable things. Spirits are in constant relation with makind and affect nature and morality incessantly as well. Many other planets in the universe are inhabited like ours.
    • Where are we going?
      • Spirits travel through a corporeal hierarchy. Souls retain their individuality after leaving the body.
  •  Zoroastrianism (founded by Zarathustra in 6th century BC)
    • Where did we come from?
      • Ahura Mazda brought us out from himself.
    • What are we?
      • We are incarnations of Ahura Mazda, fighting unhappiness and chaos caused by Ahriman.
    • Where are we going?
      • Ahura Mazda will eventually destroy Ahriman and time will stop, where we will then all reunite with Ahura Mazda.

Atheism/Agnosticism – Anywhere from no god (a-theism) to a definite god but with no certainty about what form this god takes (a-gnosis)

  • Atheism – There is no god (founded by Leucippus in early 5th century BC)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We evolved from lower specimens, which in turn evolved from even lower specimens. This evolution happened via natural selection all the way back to single-celled organisms.
    • What are we?
      • We are comprised of bodies that are capable of tremendous things that science is now unveiling for us to know.
    • Where are we going?
      • There is no life after death at all, and the only hope that exists is in the furtherance of humanity and our environment and in the present days we do have.
  • Deism – There is an unknowable higher power (founded in late 17th century)
    • Where did we come from?
      • We came from God in some way, but there is no way to tell. This God is uninterested in our personal affairs.
    • What are we?
      • We are reasoning beings, and reason and logic is the way to achieve enlightenment.
    • Where are we going?
      • We may get punishment or reward in an unknown afterlife, or we may receive that punishment and reward during our stay on this earth.
  • Gnosticism (founded around the 2nd century AD)
    • Where did we come from?
      • The spiritual world was formed by an unknowable God, and the physical world was formed by an intermediary, a demiurge, who may have been anything from imperfect to evil.
    • What are we?
      • We are both spiritual beings, and by understanding special knowledge (gnosis) we will be able to travel back into the spiritual world.
    • Where are we going?
      • Those who attain true gnosis will be able to travel to the spiritual world.
  • Scientology (founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1954)
    • Where did we come from?
      • Before Earth and before MEST (Matter, Energy, Space and Time) the preclear was summoned before a council, frowned upon and sent to a different place. The idea was to reduce them downscale in order to get a more obedient colonist.
    • What are we?
      • We are thetans trapped in meat bodies. We were trapped by Xenu, sent here and killed with hydrogen bombs. Thetans adhere to humans, causing spiritual harm. In order to escape we need to practice exteriorization to become Operating Thetans (OT).
    • Where are we going?
      • During auditing, we will recall past lives, which is similar to being born again into another body.
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