Why are there so many religions worldwide?
To get an answer of this question, first we need to understand how religions came into existence. Science has proved that our ancestors were related to apes and used to live on trees. Then they descended from trees and hunted animals and gathered food. Animal rearing and agriculture solved the problem of searching for food. Discovery of fire and wheel gave them an advantage over other animals. So, gradually their life became sedentary and their mental capacity increased. They started thinking about the world, its origin, and wonders of nature. They thought everything was caused by miracles. So, they started worshiping natural powers like Sun, moon, fire, water, storm, day, night, rain, strong animals, etc. They worshiped the mother goddess as woman give birth to children. Then they started worshiping female genitals and phallus (penis).
But, these mannerisms also changed. Later they imagined gods and goddess who had the same thinking and body structure as we have. They had powers of animals and could harm or do favor a person. Then they imagined a leader of gods who is known as Zeus in Greek mythology, Jupiter in Roman mythology, Amun-Ra in Egyptian mythology and Indra in Hindu mythology. Later people realized that there must be someone and something greater that these deities. So, they thought about a Supreme power, which is known as God, Bhagwan, Ishwar and Allah etc. in different parts of the world. That power is known as beyond human imagination, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent.
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In every part of the world different methods of worshiping and religious faiths are found. People ask why there is not a single religion in this world. The reason is that in the ancient time travelling was very difficult. Civilizations were scattered in the very large part of the world. Means of communications were limited. So, every civilization developed its own distinct culture, art forms and religious beliefs. Thinking of every person is unique and they also have their own cultural and religious beliefs. Some wanted to be more devoted to religious beliefs while others had opposite thinking, some were superstitious while others were progressive. So, many complications started off on account of it. When someone felt that the old religious beliefs had become outdated, he started his own religion and when someone felt that people are not following the ‘true ancient religion’, also started preaching about it. So, all these factors originated many religions and religious beliefs.
When Mahavira saw that the ancient Vedic religion was spoiled by superstition and inhuman beliefs, he started preaching against it. Later, his followers become Jain. His contemporary Gautam Buddha also wanted people to think rationally. His followers become Buddhist. In China Confucius and Lao Tsū’s followers also become a distinct community and become different religions. Jesus preached against the vices of ancient Judaism. His followers become Christian. The same is true for Mohammed and Guru Nanak. So, we can see that whenever any person raised his voice against the vices of old religious beliefs, he gave birth to a new religion. So, we come to this conclusion that major changes and reforms in the old religion start a new religion. Al though it may not be known as a new religion at first, it becomes a new religion later. Religions also formed on account of people's ambitions and lust for power. Some people want everyone to follow a particular religion but no religion is perfect. Everyone has some sorts of shortcomings. So, this theory is very dangerous and making this world a hell.
One can witness the ancient religious practices in tribal people, whose religious beliefs are mostly based on spirits, worshiping of various types of gods and goddesses, distinct rituals and superstitions. But, we should be careful to call them superstitious because more or less, every religion is based on superstition. Their stories are based on imaginations and instigate a sense of blind following, instead of rational thinking.