Others

An exhaustive discussion of all religious faiths, again, is beyond my scope. Instead I have selected other prominent religions to assess their basic origins, beliefs, and claim to truth. You can find additional information here.

Hinduism is the predominant religious tradition of the Indian subcontinent. It consists of diverse traditions and has no single founder. The name is actually an umbrella term comprising many religious traditions. To its adherents, Hinduism is the traditional way of life. Concepts most Hindus share in common include karma, caste, reincarnation, mantras, yantras, and darśana. Strictly speaking, most forms of Hinduism are henotheistic; they recognize a single deity, and recognizes other gods and goddesses as facets, forms, manifestations, or aspects of that supreme God. Hinduism has a deserved reputation of being highly tolerant of other religions.

Buddhism was founded in Northern India by Siddhartha Gautama in the sixth century BCE. However, Buddhists believe that there were countless Buddhas — humans who have achieved enlightenment — before him and that there will be many more after him. In contrast to Christianity, classical Buddhism does not involve the recognition or worship of deities. It also does not teach the existence of the human soul. Buddhists traditionally practice states of meditation and mindful awareness. Much of the practices are of great cognitive value, but specifically the supernatural claims of Buddhism have no evidence to support them.

Judaism is the oldest Abrahamic religion, originating in the people of ancient Israel and Judea. It involves both belonging to a cultural group, the Jewish people, and specific beliefs. It is based primarily on the Torah, originating with Moses, and also includes the rest of the Hebrew Bible and Talmud. Judaism today is practiced by about 13 million people, with about 40% living in Israel and 40% in the United States. Of course, the truth claims of this faith are on similarly shoddy footing as discussed on the Christianity page. The primary problems of fallibility of religious texts, lack of evidence, failed prophesies, etc. make it highly unlikely that Judaism is more than simply a cultural identity.

Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the 1830s. The uniquely “American” religion is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a more recent form of Christianity. The Book of Mormon is a supposed chronicle of early indigenous peoples of the Americas, believing Israelites, and the text reveals that Jesus will return to the American continent. Mormons believe many other things which can be found here. In the 19th Century followers relocated to Utah to avoid persecution. Mormons are generally a benign religious group as Joseph Smith said, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.” Yet, if the likelihood of truth for Christianity was extremely low then the addition of Mormonism’s unsubstantiated claims make it even less so.

Scientology, started in 1952, teaches that people are immortal spiritual beings who have forgotten their true nature. Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counseling known as auditing, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects. Study materials and auditing courses are made available to members in return for specified donations. Scientology is legally recognized as a tax-exempt religion in the United States and some other countries. You can investigate the incredible nature of Scientology’s beliefs on your own here, but I will merely point out that founder L. Ron Hubbard was a science fiction author.

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