Monthly Archives: September 2016

Review of major belief systems – Islam

26 c) Review of major belief systems – Islam

Islam was the first major monotheistic break away from the Roman Catholics and their numbers are on par with that group. It is the 2nd largest major belief system after the Christians as a whole.

Source:                                                                                     “Islām is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur’an, an Islamic holy book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Allāh), and for the vast majority of adherents, also by the teachings, normative example and way of life (or sunnah); it also is composed of prophetic traditions (or hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570–8 June 632 CE), considered by most of them to be the last prophet of God. An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim (sometimes spelled Moslem).

Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and that the purpose of existence is to worship God. Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. They maintain that the previous messages and revelations have been partially misinterpreted or altered over time, but consider the Arabic Qur’an to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God. Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are basic concepts and obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, providing guidance on multifarious topics from banking and welfare, to family life and the environment.

Most Muslims are of two denominations: Sunni (75–90%) or Shia (10–20%). About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country, 25% in South Asia, 20% in the Middle East, and 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Stay tuned next week for more on this topic

Review of major belief systems – the Protestants

26 b) Review of major belief systems – the Protestants

The Protestant divergence (reformation): Source:

“Martin Luther who is widely acknowledged to have started the Reformation with his 1517 work The Ninety-Five Theses. Luther began by criticizing the selling of indulgences, insisting that the Pope had no authority over purgatory and that the Catholic doctrine of the merits of the saints had no foundation in the gospel. The attacks widened to cover many of the doctrines and devotional Catholic practices. The new movement within Germany diversified almost immediately, and other reform impulses arose independently of Luther. The largest groupings were the Lutherans and Calvinists, or Reformed. Lutheran churches were founded mostly in Germany, the Baltics and Scandinavia, while the Reformed ones were founded in France, Switzerland, Hungary, the Netherlands and Scotland. The new movement influenced the Church of England decisively after 1547 under Edward VI and Elizabeth I, although the national church had been made independent under Henry VIII in the early 1530s for political rather than religious reasons. There were also reformation movements throughout continental Europe known as the Radical Reformation, which gave rise to the Anabaptist, Moravian, and other Pietistic movements.

Although the core motivation behind these changes was theological, many other factors played a part, including the rise of nationalism, the Western Schism which eroded people’s faith in the Papacy, the corruption of the Curia, and the new learning of the Renaissance which questioned much traditional thought. On a technological level the spread of the printing press provided the means for the rapid dissemination of religious materials in the vernacular.”

This movement was the first organized attempt to break away from the “CHURCH” and the authority of the Pope. There have been literally thousands of spin off denominations from this initial movement. The major sects in the USA are Total about 62 million in total (almost ½ are included in the four Baptist Sects):                                                                                                           Source: /what-are-americas-biggest-christian-groups/

  1. Southern Baptist Convention: 16.2 million members
  2. The United Methodist Church: 7.8 million members
  3. The Church of God in Christ: 5.5 million members
  4. National Baptist Convention: 5.0 million members
  5. Evangelical Lutheran Church, U.S.A.: 4.5 million members
  6. National Baptist Convention of America: 3.5 million members
  7. Assemblies of God: 2.9 million members
  8. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): 2.8 million members
  9. African Methodist Episcopal Church: 2.5 million members
  10. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America: 2.5 million members
  11. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS): 2.3 million members
  12. The Episcopal Church: 2.0 million members
  13. Churches of Christ: 1.6 million members
  14. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World: 1.5 million members
  15. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church: 1.4 million members

The Protestant Denominations accept much of the Catholic Doctrine with the following exceptions*: a) The infallibility of the Pope b) the actual body & blood of Christ at communion c) merits of the “saints” d) rejected many of the devotional practices e) the selling of indulgences f) the act of confession being a direct link to God * not all of these apply to all denominations. See Roman Catholic Blog for additional doctrine.

stay tuned next week for more on this topic

Belief Systems: The good, the bad & the ugly

Chapter 26

Belief Systems: The good, the bad & the ugly

26 a) Review of major belief systems & the LDS

I have a feeling this topic is really going to get me in hot water. I would like to start with the most recent “major” belief systems. There are literally thousands. The ones I intend to explore are:  Source:

Rank     Religion                                   Members     Percentage                                                                                                                        1.         Christianity                                 2.1 billion       33.0%                                                                                                                        2.           Islam                                          1.3 billion      20.1                                                                                                                          3.           Hinduism                                  851 million    13.3                                                                                                                            4.           Buddhism                                 375 million      5.9                                                                                                                               5.           Sikhism                                       25 million      0.4                                                                                                                             6.           Judaism                                      15 million      0.2                                                                                                                           7.           No specific belief system           2.4 billion     36.8 %

Just a bit under 2/3’s of the world’s people subscribe to an organized belief system.

I will break off LDS (14 mil) from Christianity as it has a quite different belief system and also Roman Catholic (1.2 Billion) for obvious reasons.

LDS (Mormons): While promoted as an updated version of Christianity, those of us who have taken the time to read the Book of Mormon and have bothered to do a bit of research realize that it is quite a different animal. This is the most recent belief system of significant consequence. Source:

“It was initiated by Joseph Smith in 1820 and advanced by Brigham Young after Smith’s demise (murder) in 1944. Primary church doctrine: “Mormons have a health code that eschews alcoholic beverages, tobacco, coffee, tea, and other addictive substances. They tend to be very family-oriented, and have strong connections across generations and with extended family, reflective of their belief that families can be sealed together beyond death and throughout eternity. Mormons also have a strict law of chastity, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside of opposite-sex marriage and strict fidelity within marriage. Mormons have a strict law of chastity, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside of opposite-sex marriage and strict fidelity within marriage. All sexual activity (heterosexual and homosexual) outside of marriage is considered a serious sin, with marriage recognized as only between a man and a woman.] Same-sex marriages are not performed or supported by the LDS Church. Church members are encouraged to marry and have children, and Latter-day Saint families tend to be larger than average. Mormons are opposed to abortion, except in some exceptional circumstances, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, or when the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy.[104] Many practicing adult Mormons wear religious undergarments that remind them of covenants and encourage them to dress modestly. Latter-day Saints are counseled not to partake of any form of media that is obscene or pornographic in any way, including media that depicts graphic representations of sex or violence. Tattoos and body piercings are also discouraged, with the exception of a single pair of earrings for LDS women”

stay tuned for more on this next week