If there is only one God, why are there so many religions?

(Bill Ames) #1

In my family, religion did not play a significant part. We did not go to church or talk about the subject. However, everyone I can recall did believe in God and celebrated the appropriate holidays. So I grew up watching the world go this way and that regarding religion. Now parts of my extended family are very religious, and some do not seem to notice God at all. For me, I had a little problem explaining how the universe got created, and all the little bits accounted for, this was necessary for a backstory in my writing. I still have no answer for “If there is only one God, why are there so many religions?”

(Justin Brown) #2

What do you mean by “there is only one God”? Do you mean God as either of the following:

  1. (in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.
  2. (in certain other religions) a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.

Here’s a dictionary definition of “religion”:

the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

“ideas about the relationship between science and religion”

synonyms: faith, belief, divinity, worship, creed, teaching, doctrine, theology; More

  • a particular system of faith and worship.

plural noun: religions

“the world’s great religions”

  • a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.

Already just defining the key terms of your question starts to explain why there are so many religions.

I think a key issue is that of “proselytize”:

convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.

I don’t really see an issue with there being so many religions. I’ve got an issue when a religion’s beliefs or practices result in people trying to “proselytize”.

(Bill Ames) #3

I think there is just one job description for God. (1) " the supreme being." (2) “a deity.” and this seems to be more or less the same.

Belief is not a requirement for “God” to exist and what people do is part of the universe they know. Some may believe in “God” and from “God’s” perspective, that is good, I believe.

It is what the people believe. We have not yet developed a religious AI. I can see that happening soon. An AI that had all the answers would be a useful resource. But, today, it is the people that are doing this “proselytize” because they believe what they believe. It is true that people are free to believe what they want so it is just an advertisement for a particular religion and we accept that for cars and burgers so why not “God?”

(denise wheeler) #4

Who says there is only one God? There is only one calculous because there are things we agree on, like 1+1 = 2. Calculous arises from this foundation and therefore no room for dispute.

But Gods and religion don’t have such universal backing. The Bible, Torah, Quran, sure, they’re similar, but built on foundations of much different character.

Religions evolved much as the world has, distributed all over through different cultures and beliefs. So why must there be only one God when cultures themselves are so different? Must the Eskimo tribes believe the same as the ancient Mongols? We have all been separated by natural barriers, rivers, land, and beliefs as well, even language. So in many ways that concept of religion is defined more by history – philosophy and anthropology – than any divine word.

Just one outsider’s opinion, but to define anything as “one” means it is limited, and yet regardless of one’s religious expression, the one universal aspect to everyone’s God (or gods) is that he or she or it or they is infinite.

(denise wheeler) #5

The moment we develop a religious AI, is the moment we lose the mystery. Why must everything be reduced to a mathematical theory or even worse a machine?

Prayers, sacrifices, rituals, mediations, and so forth, are part of the religious expression, and religion itself not something that should be bound to a set of answers.

There’s a lot to be said for not knowing what’s around every bend, which is why the world is round. To flatten it down to one concrete all-knowing path takes away that joy of mystery and the faith that we all will eventually arrive where we should.

Trust more in the universe, and less in machines. It makes for a much better journey.

(Bill Ames) #6

When you enter a hospital for treatment you meet many machines and they are all trying to keep you alive. If they get smarter they will do a better job. Be very thankful for the “machines.” It is only through them we will explore the universe.

(Bill Ames) #7

I believe that “God” said this. All the religions appear to have bits and pieces added by humanity, not unexpected, we like to tinker with things we like.

This sounds reasonable but it would seem that we should try and bring them all together. Is it going to be, “One religion to rule them all, One religion to find them; One religion to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”

(denise wheeler) #8

Interesting. But why do you think it so important to have only one universal religion? Shouldn’t different cultures be able to have their own customs and beliefs, traditions and ceremonies, etc.? To take away that and put it all under one umbrella, like a world bank, would deny everyone their history. We saw how well that worked with the Native Americans.

(Bill Ames) #9

This would appear to make it as, yes, one God, but many many many opinions. The problem with this is it leads to disagreement, conflict, arguments and many holidays. Do you suppose this is what God had in mind back at the beginning of everything? True, because belief has to be based on faith there could be no proof one way or another, all religions must stand based on the beliefs they present. And the ones that have the most appeal might win the hearts and minds of the people.

Now, I have my own opinions about all of this, but that is a different story. I think the answer to my questions so far is we have not done a really in depth analysis of all the religions to see which makes the most sense, which gives the proper guidance to all humanity. If we had people or something that understood all the languages that encompass religion and all the words used to describe religions they could be analyzed for conflicts, accuracy, meaning, everything. Could this result in a universal religion? Perhaps, but we really need to see what religions are out there in the rest of the universe. Also, we must eliminate politics from religion, they are not compatible. Too much chance for corruption of both.

(denise wheeler) #10

I’m a little confused about what you’re trying to accomplish here. You initially asked: “If there is only one God, why are there so many religions?” which I think many have answered, or at least expressed their opinions.

But you seem to keep bringing it back to your belief that there is only one God and therefore there should be only one religion in the world. Which is fine, since that is your belief, but leaves little room for any additional opinions or thoughts and strays considerably from the initial question.

Might have been better to just say, “I believe there is only one God and the world should adhere to that and do away with all the other religions. How does everyone else feel?”

(Bill Ames) #11

What my opinion is should not be interpreted as a desire for it to be a fact. People are not inhibited from stating their thoughts because of something I have said. This is a place for discussions. I want to see what others think are reasons and any of my replies may include my thoughts on those reasons. There is nothing here that focuses on any specific religion, this is not a means of finding the most appropriate religion. After all, only “God” can make that judgement. What do you believe?

(denise wheeler) #12

No problem. Discussion is always good, but I’m confused again, because you clearly said, as you can see below, that you think we should bring all religions together. In any event, it was nice to hear your viewpoints on this and hope you got the answers you were looking for.

"…but it would seem that we should try and bring them all together. Is it going to be, “One religion to rule them all, One religion to find them; One religion to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”

(Ken Whitten) #13

I think you have to understand that we don’t “know”. Most of the world believes in some sort of higher power that we somehow never can prove. My own suspicion is that it is all one power that is revealed to people of faith as existing but human experience causes people to label and describe based on how that power showed in their culture. The practice of religion appears to encourage people to have faith in their version of the power. Interestingly, many who practice faith from many different religions have had their faith confirmed in much the same way. Faith is not knowing but usually results in an understanding that seems more true than knowing itself. It is also universal that those who never have faith and some that did don’t buy the whole God thing. I am the ultimate skeptic but I did practice faith and did have my faith confirmed. My belief is that there is some power somewhere more powerful than humans and we are not allowed to know. I don’t have to buy the virgin birth or anything else that humans perceive. I do believe churches of all types allowed people to access the best methods to turn faith into faith confirmed and we have to allow that the churches are run by humans. I think this whole life is a test to see if we are going to heaven yet (whatever that is) I believe we just have to do it again if we don’t make it. I imagine some souls are destroyed. It does make sense that if there is a heaven like place where you live forever they might not want some of us yet. Peace, Ken

(Bill Ames) #14

I tell my skeptical friends that when they pass on they will never be disappointed. I developed a rational explanation of how the universe was made and all the little bits, the rules, established. I have faith that what I developed is probably the way it happened. I have no idea or explanation of of the current state of religion in the world, most is not rational and often contradictory. That last bit is what prompted the question. I am always looking towards the discovery of what consciousness is, how very complicated things were encoded in our genetic software and trying to find people with sufficient imagination to discuss everything in this sentence.Peace to you also, Bill.

(Ken Whitten) #15

Hi Bill, the amount of information we still don’t understand about how our own bodies work seems puzzling to me. One thought I had was that some software engineer was really controlling our destiny and we were just really not conscious about it. I was in the Air Force 38 years ago and worked on avionics designed in the 50s with analog computers right up to the first f-16s built. I also worked for Tektronix for a few years after that and remember seeing what I think was a mass spectrometer. I completely changed track and learned to build houses because it makes me happy. A favorite old memory was a Twilight Zone episode about a hippie that died and wound up in a house with an elderly couple that sit around all day listening to old 78 records. Long story short the hippie thought he figured out that he was in hell and the elderly couple insisted he was in heaven. I hope to hear bfrom you again. Ken

(Jesuis Laplume) #16

All Religions (or at least a vast majority of sects within them) have been severely perverted by the bureaucrats who run them. This is what bureaucrats do; they ignore the real reason for their organizations and change everything so that it all becomes what they want the organization to be about; that is their needs for control.

Every organization should be regularly swept clean of bureaucracies and started again, afresh, to serve the users of that organization. This is especially true of Religions, governments and corporations that originally served users.

At the Council of Nicaea, in AD 325, the former community of believers in the teaching of Jesus was changed into a state Religion. Shortly after that, the real followers were hunted down and slaughtered!

After Krishna died, the idea of many ways of looking at the Divinity became many literal gods.

Even before Mohamed died, the religion split into many factions, as interested in killing each other as in spreading the messages that Mohamed heard.

Judaism usually went so far as to kill its prophets so that the ruling parts of the Religion could continue to rule.

Buddhism has often tried to cleanse itself, but presently has groups within it who want to kill members of other sects with less-angry approaches to differences.

In spite of all that, there is presently a huge number (about 400 million) of humans who are trying to live Love-focused lives, using at least a part of the original teachings.

We have a need for the spiritual teachings, but have not found ways of regular cleaning of those internal persons and groups who pervert the essential messages.

(Bill Ames) #17

This seems to open the door to a single AI run group. Can not be corrupted, knows all that has been recorded and understands the original languages. Can answer any question from anyone anywhere in any language. Perhaps that is the only way?

(Bob Copeland) #18

God is our summation of what created us. Most of us, religiously, speaking are whatever our parents had for religion. Being curious creatures, we have concluded that the universe is too complicated to have evolved simply by chance although it may seem that way sometimes. The universe started from basic principles to which evolution was added, so those initial rules are difficult to find & understand. An example of this process is the scientists who spend their lifetimes trying to figure out mathematically how it all fit together. If you study comparative physiology you will see how different systems are basically the same but modified (arms & hands became wings for instance). Lastly, we live in a space composed of limits (speed of light for instance). We speak of a “limit” named “cause” & an “effect” (say life for example) & a second “limit” called “death”. Therefore intellectually, we see God as the first “limit” or “creator” of the universe who has permitted “evolution” which philosophically speaking is your & my life.

(Bill Ames) #19

Totally agree and I had to have an explanation for my stories, so I thought about that, and found a process that worked for me. Most of our paths are based on making decisions, that is how it works after we get started. We are just part of the universe, doubt that, check out:


I have no opinions of this view, just hope people appreciate that we are not alone. If that is a helpful thought. Please note, one can think about something without having an opinion, I do think that many religions are really just opinions.

(Charity Wairimu Latz) #20

If there is only one God why so many religions?I have been struggling with this very question.Growing up we went to church but l do not remember my mum going with us to church although she insisted we go to church every sunday and she made sure we celebrated with Christmass trees and Santa Claus etc.Later on l never went to church.Much later on l picked on church again and really went through salvation,baptism and the whole procedures.However,l broke off from church attendance when l could not get answers to some questions.I also saw that there was this religion like Jehovah witness was a cult and catholics were …and all those types of divisions.I have very many close muslim friends and again the idea that they were in the wrong religion etc.All this got me totally confused and because of my explorative and curious nature l could not be hypocritical anymore or supress my feelings and thoughts.I quit and have not been back to a church for over four years.Now l know why?The reason is religion is a man-made structure.I believe that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience and that we are Natural beings entwined with all other nature.We are co-creators on earth.As such if we were to follow the Christian Bible,it does contradict itself and says we are all created in the image of God who is everywhere and in everything.What this means for me is that there is a God .God is The Whole Universe .That is the stage l am right now as l continue to read all the articles and pursue to learn more about myself.I am grateful to have found this platform and l am beginning to break free from the shackles of mental slavery