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Denominations, Sects and Religions

Relationships Between the Religions
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins

Question:
All the religions (Christianity, Islam and so on) seem to share mutual topics. Are they based on each other?

Answer:
Some scholars have attempted to compare and trace religions to ancient influences. There are some ancient streams of related thought and practice. There are great differences between the various major streams, and among the range of thousands of religions practiced in the world.

Some religions are related.  There appear to be, however, many unrelated streams of practice in parts of the world.

Similarities and Differences
There are some similarities in broad ethical approaches to life, which have been dealt with by philosophers and philosophers of religion.  It seems that there are more differences than similarities.

In general all religions have themes of sin or offense to unseen powers, with counterparts in offenses between humans and within society.  But what these offenses are and how they are to be rectified vary considerably from culture to culture (religion to religion).  There is no common theme or proposed way of salvation.

Major Streams
There are two or three streams of thought and practice that account for a large percentage of the world's religions and practices. The Hindu stream accounts for billions of peoples, since it includes Buddhism and several other Asian religions. Taoism and Confucianism have modern forms, with large numbers of adherents.

Monotheism
Likewise the Semitic monotheism (sometimes called Yahwism) involves a single historical stream that accounts for the three major monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam (between them accounting for over half the world's population) and a small but visible group of sects related to Judaism, from that single stream.

The ancient texts in the Old Testament mention many other peoples who worship the One God, but it is not clear whether those ancient groups are extant in any of the peoples or religions of today.  Bahaism might also be included in this Yawistic stream, as it shares doctrines and perspectives with Islam and claims its founder is the second incarnation (second coming) of Jesus Christ.

Related Articles
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[TXT] The Exclusively Inclusive Gospel
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[TXT] A Simple Theology of Religions

For further Reading
The following are books I have read in recent months related to this topic.  I have written reviews of some on this site and Amazon.Com

Achtemeier, Paul J. and Elizabeth.  The Old Testament Roots of our Faith.  Philadelphia:  Fortress Press, 1981.  158p.
Cobb, John B., Jr.  Christ in a Pluralistic Age.  Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1975.  287p.
Fernandez Olmos, Margarite and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert.  Creole Religions of the Caribbean:  An Introduction to Obeah and Espiritismo.  NY:  NY University Press, 2003.  251p.
Grant, Robert M.  Gods and the One God.  Philadelphia:  Westminster Press, 1986.  211p.
Moule, C.F.D.  The Origin of Christology.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1977.  176p.
Ogden, Schubert M.  The Point of Christology.  Cambridge:  Harper and Row, 1982.  191p.
Piper, John.  Let the Nations Be Glad:  The Supremacy of God in Missions.  Grand Rapids:  Baker Books, 1993.  240p.
Tiessen, Terrance L.  Who Can Be Saved?:  Reassessing Salvation in Christ and World Religions.  Downers Grove, Illinois:  InterVarsity Press, 2004.  511p.
Spong, John Shelby.  Liberating the Gospels:  Reading the Gospels with Jewish Eyes.  San Francisco:  HarperSanFrancisco, 1997.  365p.

OBJ

First addressed in an Internet discussions group 02 September 2000
Article prepared 2002
Edited and Posted 17 May 2005
Last edited 6 October 2011

Copyright © Orville Boyd Jenkins 2005
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Please give credit and link back.  Other rights reserved.
Email:  orville@jenkins.nu
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