Spread of World Religions

Here is an interesting video on the spread of world religions in the past 5000 years.


Looks like the cream rising to the top over time to me. Notice how the cultures who converted to Christianity were the ones who began the age of exploration. Something to do with the rise of science, technology, and engineering in those cultures I should think. I guess there is something about the idea that the natural universe operates according to predictable laws given by a single Lawgiver which makes people think its worthwhile to test for cause and effect. I.E. the Judeo-Christian view of the world is amenable to the scientific method.

It looks like the biggest competition is the other Abrahamic faith of Islam- the only truly global religions are Abrahamic ones. Islam is held together by force and terror. It is a political system masquerading as a religion. Once they lose their power to compel adherence it will shrivel in a few generations. There are probably more Christians in China than in the United States. I’d definitely say there are more committed Christians there.

I do wish an expert in the origins of Hinduism would hold office hours here. I am intrigued at how, before the pantheons multiplied, the Divine being came in three forms. I do wonder if some early knowledge of the Trinity was morphed into something barely recognizable as a pre-Abrahamic religion with roots in knowledge of the one true God.

Yes, just think how great today’s world would be if the Crusades were successful. Christendom could have dominated the world right before the plague. Islam’s rise could have been stopped completely. Christendom could have kept the Dark Ages going for millenniums.

Don’t forget that it was in those “Dark Ages” that St Bede discovered the moon’s gravitational effect on the tides, and with the advent of the Universities William of Ockham invented his razor, Bradwardine mathematicised science, and reasoned that light and heavy objects would fall at the same speed in a vacuum, Buridan discovered momentum and speculated on the rotation of the earth, and much new practical technology was developed including improved ploughs and improved land usage.

Much astronomical work was done throughout the whole mediaeval period, particulary on the measurement of time culminating in the mechanical clock.

The Church held on to as much as it could of the knowledge dissipated by the collapse of the Western Roman Empire to the barbarians, and when they became available from Byzantium and the lands conquered by Islam its scholars copied, translated and circulated the works of the classical philosophers, leading to the flowering of philosophy under the scholastics, and in due time to the Renaissance, which to an extent was a revisionist movement promoting the false idea that everything that came before it was darkness (hence Petrarch’s coining of the “Dark Ages” term in the 1330s).

But of course, even if Petrarch was right, there were three hundred years of “light” before Bacon and his chums came along and invented science.


Blah blah blah-dee-blah.