Spirituality is a fundamental part of the human constitution. From the beginning of our species to the present, spirituality has shaped the way we see everything around us. And to better explain and organize our spiritual beliefs, people have created religions. However, like almost everything that puts people into definitive groups, almost every religion has developed stereotypes and misunderstandings over time. Today, let's review some of the less truthful ones and get to the bottom of these falsehoods to further our understanding of the world around us.
The 10 most important religious misunderstandings that are actually wrong.
10. Muslims are not violent
Islam is the second most popular Abrahamic religion. And the second most popular religion right after Christianity. Islam is a monotheistic religion, the two main tenets of which are that there is only one God and that Muhammad (PBUH) is the last prophet of God. Islam has an estimated 1.8 billion followers, or around 24% of the world's total population. Although Islam has existed for centuries, it has recently developed some negative stereotypes as a result of the recent terrorist attacks.
After numerous terrorist attacks by radical Islamic extremists, Islam has recently developed the stereotype of violence. In reality, however, this is far from the truth. For starters, Muslims in the US tolerate terrorist attacks rather than the general population (source). In addition, Islamic terrorism is so rare that it practically does not exist. The risk of an American being killed by a terrorist attack in a given year is around one in 3.5 million. And only a small number of these deaths are a result of Islamic terrorism. For comparison: the average American is more likely to be killed by his own furniture. After all, Islam itself condemns terrorism of all kinds.
9. Hindus are not all vegetarians
Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world and by far the largest non-Abrahamic religion. Unlike other religions, Hindus do not follow a certain cannon, a certain prophet, or even God. Instead, Hinduism is more like a web of different ideas, commitments, traditions, customs, and beliefs that all share the same banner. Due to the wide variety of beliefs within Hinduism, it should come as no surprise that different groups within Hinduism have different beliefs.
A large percentage of Hindus actually have different diets that exclude some foods. For example, some Hindus avoid pork and / or beef. And yes, some Hindus are actually vegetarians. However, some Hindus do not practice this particular belief against the belief of Hinduism that people should refrain from harming anyone or any living being. According to government studies by the Republic of India, only about 30% of Indians practice vegetarianism in a country that is 80% Hindu. This contradicts the stereotype that all Hindus do not eat meat.
8. Priests are not pedophiles
Christianity is the largest Arabhamic religion and by far the largest religion. His followers follow the teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. There are many branches of Christianity, but by far the greatest denominations of Christianity follow a kind of hierarchy based on apostolic succession. A teaching that requires that church leaders be appointed by someone whose authority has been given to them by God. These people are usually called priests, although they can have other titles, such as bishop, deacon, pope, or cardinal.
According to recent revelations of sexual misconduct on a large scale. As with the terrible reports from Philadelphia or Chile, it is no wonder that priests have developed a reputation as child molesters. However, this stereotype is actually not true. Of the more than 300,000 Catholic priests in the world, only about 3.3% were charged with sexual misconduct. To put that in perspective, that's a lower rate than the average adult male.
7. Buddhists are not all pacifists
Buddhism is a religion that focuses on a person's spiritual development. Buddhists believe that all people are in a permanent cycle of life and death and are born again and again. To break this cycle, Buddhists try to attain nirvana, a state in which the person becomes free from the cycle of death and rebirth. There are currently around 400 million Buddhists worldwide.
Although Buddhists actually teach that all life is sacred, it does not mean that all Buddhists are pacifists. Buddhists can indeed defend themselves when attacked. However, you must not kill your attacker. However, like most religious groups or spiritualities, some Buddhist believers have not fulfilled their religious teachings. For example, Buddhists have fought in wars for centuries. Militant monks have fought in Chinese armies since Buddhism arose. Japanese samurai in particular, the wildest warriors in all of medieval Japan, were Buddhists according to historical records.
6. Jews are not greedy
Judaism is one of the oldest monotheistic religions on the planet. Jews believe that Abraham was chosen by God as his chosen people. They also believe that one day God will send them a ruler called the Messiah who will make them a heavenly kingdom on earth. Jews live almost everywhere in small communities, with different groups having different beliefs. Unfortunately, Jews have developed several negative stereotypes over the millennium. Most notably, all Jews are greedy.
The stereotype of the greedy Jew is actually very old, although the stereotype dates from the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages, Jews could not own a country. As a result, the only way for many Jewish communities to survive was a highly interesting credit, a role that Christians were not allowed to play. (Source). As a result, the anti-Jewish mood flourished in the Middle Ages and even until modern times. However, the stereotype is far from factually true. In fact, Jews donate more to charity than almost any religious or ethnic group.
5. Muslims do not hate Jesus
This misunderstanding is actually fairly new. And unlike the other misunderstandings on this list, this misunderstanding is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of Islamic doctrine by other groups. Contrary to popular belief, Jesus is in no way hated in Islam. In fact, he is a prophet, similar to Abraham, Moses, or Muhammad. In the Koran, the holy book of Islam, Jesus is mentioned under many names, such as the son of Mary. Most often, however, he is called Isa. (Source).
In the Koran, Isa was a holy boy and was born of the Virgin Mary. As a prophet of God, he performed many miracles, such as turning some clay into a bird (source). Unlike Christianity, however, Jesus was not the Son of God. Instead, he was just one of God's prophets. Muslims also believe that Jesus never died on the cross, but was saved by God. Ironically, Jesus is mentioned more in the Quran than Prophet Muhammad.
4. The Pope is not infallible
Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination in the world with more than 50%. Like most other Christian denominations, Catholics believe in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Unlike other forms of Christianity, Catholics do not take the entire Bible literally. Rather, they believe that the Bible corresponds to the sacred tradition or that some traditions have the same weight as the scriptures (source). One of the most controversial of these beliefs in the eyes of other Christians is belief in a doctrine called papal infallibility.
Papal infallibility is one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Catholic Church. It is said that the Pope is infallible under certain circumstances. Contrary to popular belief, Catholics do not believe that everything the Pope says is always true. In the first place, the Pope is not infallible in general statements. Rather, the Pope is infallible only when he speaks from the seat of St. Peter (source). This has only happened twice in the entire history of the Catholic Church. If he does not speak from the seat of St. Peter, Catholics are not obliged to believe everything the Pope says.
3. Paganism Still Exists
Before Christianity found its way through Europe and later the world, the vast majority of the population had indigenous beliefs. These beliefs were later shaped by Christians as pagans, regardless of their different beliefs. Most of the pagans eventually died out in the following centuries of Christian dominance. However, paganism has made a comeback in recent years (source).
In 2008, over 300,000 people were identified as pagans in the United States alone. Since then, modern paganism has only gained popularity. It has been estimated that there are more pagans in Britain than Hindus. Paganism is expected to increase significantly as Christianity declines in Western Europe.
2. Judaism is not the oldest monotheistic religion in the world
Judaism is old, really old. Indeed, so old that it is almost twice as old as Christianity, which is more than 2,000 years old. By contrast, Judaism is much older, the oldest evidence of Judaism is over 4,000 years old. Surprisingly, however, Judaism is not the oldest practiced monotheistic religion in the world. This honor belongs instead to Zoroastrianism.
Zoroastrianism is the oldest monotheistic religion still practiced in the world. The religion was originally founded in Persia. But most of his modern followers have lived in India since the Islamic invasions in Persia. Religion follows the teachings of Zoroaster, an ancient prophet who taught moral values. Religion is known for believing that fire is sacred and that it forms the basis on which all monotheistic religions are built.
1. Atheism is not a religion
Perhaps the most widespread misunderstanding among religious people is the idea that atheism is a religion. This misunderstanding is mainly due to poor definitions of a religion. However, in the United States and elsewhere, religion is defined as a group that has a recognized creed and a place of worship. This definition is the most diverse and appropriate because it includes spiritualities that do not necessarily worship a god or gods.
Atheism clearly does not meet this definition. As atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god / gods (source). Therefore, atheism has no creed or place of worship. As a result, atheism, at least according to the US definition, is not a religion, but the absence of one. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in God, so atheism cannot be defined as a religious belief, just as baldness can be defined as a haircut.
Written by: Mile Millerson