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Why are there so many different beliefs/religions/philosophies?

  1. Jun 13, 2005 #1
    My question, without any intention to make this a religious disucssion, is this:

    If there is only one truth, one reality in the world (if you agree with this), then why are there so many different religions in the world?

    There is no need to refer to specific religions to answer this question. Just in general--philosophically, sociologically, psychologically, or in whatever manner -- what is it that has caused everyone to have all these different beliefs thinking theirs is the ultimate truth.

    I hope I'm clear enough with my question.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2005 #2
    The answer is that whatever this "one truth" is, God(s), or physical science created life as extremely diverse, as well as created human thought equally diverse and therefore the wide range of beliefs.
  4. Jun 13, 2005 #3
    Maybe it's free will; I don't know.
  5. Jun 14, 2005 #4
    The answer is because there is not one physical reality, one truth in the world. But then, some people would disagree with me.
  6. Jun 14, 2005 #5
    A long time ago, when people knew very little about the universe, they would form beliefs to fill the voids of their knowledge. Because these weren't based on fact (or that "one truth", as you said), they varied from group to group the way many other cultural aspects do.
  7. Jun 14, 2005 #6
    maybe because if there's one "truth" than that truth would probably be extremely difficult for any human to understand. So, we can only comprehend certain concepts at a time. certain religions or faiths or philosophies concentrate on different aspects of what could ultimately all be one ultimate "truth." It just depends on the values of the individual or group, eh?
  8. Jun 14, 2005 #7


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    I would say it's because these subjects do not use well-defined ideas, so you can't reach universal conclusions in them by logic alone, and they do not appeal to empirical research, so that avenue of objective evidence is closed too. So there's no way to truly refute "heresy", it's all at bottom a matter of taste, and the different tastes just proliferate.
  9. Jun 14, 2005 #8
    Because, we're cognizant of reality and the laws that govern existence even though many of the details escape our understanding for various reasons, but mostly because life is extremely intertwined with a vast amount of ruling dynamics; some acting intinsicly while others act extrinsicly, but still all part of one system. So we're left to fill in the blanks as we expand our awareness to the reality we're all apart of individually.

    And, since we live in this vast world full of variety, there are many outlets that induce thought to the nature of our existence from what it is, to how it works, to how we fit in the picture, and all the way to what are the possible intentions of existence if it happened to be as alive as we are but stretched over and beyond time.

    On top of it all, we're an acting force in nature as well, so we inspire thought amongst ourselves to reach that higher awareness which seems to be a type of conformed thought; as if intelligence was endowing itself into a single force by compounding various aspects of nature into a single being that can act individually of nature but still remaining as part of the whole.

    Where it goes from there is all speculation that we all investigate in our own way.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2005
  10. Jun 24, 2005 #9
    Religions spring from their cultures which are different.

    Religions are not meant to be tested experimentally, though one
    could devise expriments to test religions claims.

    People are complex and simple tests on complex systems typically
    don't give repeatable results.

    Finally, religions are practiced by people, and people
    can often be wrong about the things they beleive.

    Physics would be in the same state without the experiments
    needed to discard incorrect beleifs. This is not a process that
    should be applied to religion which is a personal matter of the
    inner life of a person- although it is healthy to examine the net
    effect on a culture and a person of a particular set of beliefs.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2005
  11. Jun 24, 2005 #10
    "Physics would be in the same state without the experiments
    needed to discard incorrect beleifs. This is not a process that
    should be applied to religion which is a personal matter of the
    inner life of a person- although it is healthy to examine the net
    effect on a culture and a person of a particular set of beliefs."

    Religion must be wrong then. So everyone who reads thius must realise they should stop being religious, instantly and without hesitation. Unless of course htye can prove their religion is correct.
  12. Jun 25, 2005 #11
    well, i'm not sure if many people would agree with me on this one, and however amateur it might sound, if looked at closely, all religions have a basic code of conduct, morality, ethics, etc. and they are all relatively similar, certain religious activities might seem weird, or odd to other people, and alone one religion might appear awkward,but all of them make sense when gone to the depth of the ritual or the fact... There are different religions by name, and the way things are done, but in the end we are doing the same things...
    A muslim lady is asked to cover her head so as to be modest, as are Hindu women, christianity also asks it's followers to be modestly dressed, as does Judaism... I'm not sure if they are requested to cover their heads though..
    There are so many other instances, forgive me, but i don't really have the patience to sit and type them all out...
  13. Jun 25, 2005 #12
    Religions should abandon things like god and faith and focus purely on things which actually do good, such as their morality and ethics. Basically anything they believe in which cannot withstand debate should be discarded.
  14. Jun 27, 2005 #13
    I do not agree with with abandoning God for reason not fit this forum but i absolutelly agree with you on abandoning anything from religion which cannot withstand debate. Those things entered religion through superstition and irrational beliefs while religious godfather were trying to usurp power forthemsleves. I speak this as a very religious person. Religion is designed for this world which is practical world and must solve practical things. Other than that is irrelevant.

    To answer the original question: Simply it is due to desires. Some differences were neccessary with mental development of those ppl. They could not hold knowledge of something which did not exists and therefore looking back in time for us their belief seem unreasonable. The problem was that ppl got dogmatic and were trying to hold on to their ignorance which can be seen today in all (mainstream) religions.

    gallileo said: I will not belief that same God who has given me brain would want me to forgo its use. This is statement which most religious ppl fear not knowing that the opposite is why we are here.

    I think TRUTH is only one. Just like we dont have european science and US science there must be "philosophical" truth which is ONE. This can be reached only if pp abandon desires to protect or promote their beliefs/convictions and search honestly for the truth. On small scale i can see this in science as well (for being a apprentice scientist) but the big picture is ultimatelly one truth

    Last edited: Jun 27, 2005
  15. Jun 27, 2005 #14


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    One could ask - "Why are there so many different cultures/languages?" Each religion is unique to a culture, the one in which it was founded. Religions and philosophies then evolve (and transform) as they spread outward to new cultures.

    People, i.e. each individual, have different perceptions of reality. Even my two children, raised in the same family, have different perceptions of the world. It's inherent in being an 'individual'.
  16. Jun 27, 2005 #15
    Thats is true, each individual has different perceptions of reality. This should not be changed, neither imposition of one's reality on another.

    However, there is a fundamental set of knowledge/beliefs known as ideology according to which each individual perceives new sensed knowledge. This ideology is only one. This is because there is need to correctly interpret our physical world around us (at least thats what we inherently strive for as humanity). Since our world seems to be obeying one univresal law the ideology/framework of thought should be one also i think. Otherwise we will always miss correct interpretation of the 'reality' and live our lives in delusion or illusion.

    How much does this make sense to you?

  17. Jun 27, 2005 #16
    I belive there is indeed, only one 'truth'; However it seems mankind has quite a hard time finding what this truth is. In my opninion, I don't see why God did not make the so called "only truth" more clear. So we have a bible, but we also have many other holy books and great prophets.

    In my opinion (because everybody belives differently) we need to atleast respect other faiths. If you want to be muslim, that is your choise. Others should not be the one to Judge wether or not that is the right choise.
  18. Jun 27, 2005 #17
    So if we find what is the problem why ppl do not seem to be finding this framework of mind with which they would interpret the physical world correctly we might move a step ahead from just keep inventing new ideologies/phylosophies which just keeps us going in circles.

    Since our mind can manipulate only and only sensations from physical objects and think only in relation to physical objects the 'ideology' with which an individual will process and integrate new perceptions into already existing knowledge/beliefs is very imporant one.

    WOuld it be wrong you to think (more or less of cause ) to conclude that the correct belief is key to correctly interpret our physical world (todays science). Simply it would be different if hypothetically someone who is creationist would interpret finding of evolutionistic evidence in life versus someone who is strong evolutionist interpreting the same data. Ultimatelly we are slaves of our beliefs?

    I belief there must be an 'inborn' 'sense' according to which our thoughts should be processed. Otherwise we are in illusion or delusion, we could infinitelly be inventing new ideologies instead of just discovering about our physical world.

    Is not it why scientists are comming up with the ultimate force theory that would anihilate theists for good? Of cause not per se, but the ideology of the scientific community and ultimatelly each of the individuals in it strive for answers for meanings.., eventhough the outward reason might be genuin..., the at human mind level...

    Does think make sense at some level?

    Last edited: Jun 27, 2005
  19. Jul 7, 2005 #18
    Sorry to arrive so late, but I wanted to add something. There are many religions, but if you examine the words of their founders you will find that they all agreed with each other. Thus Jesus, Mohammed, the Buddha, the writers of the Upanishads, Lao-Tsu and the rest all say the same thing. It is only later, once their teachings have been sufficiently garbled, that distinct religions are created, generally by those who want to found institutions and take positions of power within them rather than seek the truth for themselves, as the founders of their religion invariably advised them to do.
  20. Jul 7, 2005 #19
    You ask like you don't know the answer, but then...

    You limit the range or reply. You who ask the question have set up a criteria on what the proper answer will be. It will be non-religion specific. So I assume you already know the answer if you know what it is not.

    Yes, you are clear enough. You don't know the answer, but you know that the answer is not rooted in any one religion. But since you don't know the answer, how do you know it is not rooted in some religion?

    Steve Rives

    P.S. I suggest that if the truth of the matter was plain and obvious, it would still be suppressed. People don't really want to know the answer to this question. What they really want to know is that they are the captains of their own destinies. Any other answer than that will be offensive and rejected.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2005
  21. Jul 11, 2005 #20
    I think you're right. Furthermore I think that beliefs form from experiences, societal development, and adaptation. If it were free will like someone here suggested, everyone would have their own individual theories. They would be like the many posts on any one thread within this forum. This is not so, therefore, clearly, there are some societal variebles 'in the mix' as well.
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