Thursday, May 17, 2012

Religious divergence

My post on the provincialism of beliefs (link) discussed how one's religion is predictable based on geography. For example, Hinduism is concentrated on the Indian subcontinent. This is persuasive evidence that religion is a cultural phenomenon.  If one were to assume that that a "True" religion exists, and that God had been trying to lead people to it for centuries or Millenia, one might suppose that the distribution would be more uniform, perhaps with pockets of the yet-to-be-converted.  In other words, one would expect to see at least some evidence of religious convergence.

What we see, however, is religious divergence.

Recognize that this is only a high level view of one religion -- Christianity.  Consider the branches of Methodism, one of hundreds of Christian denominations.  

The clear message is that religious beliefs are getting farther apart with time.  Schisms, new religious movements (e.g., Mormonism, Scientology), and the like, will continue to increase the diversity of religions, with their frequently contradictory beliefs.  If God has been trying to convert the world to a particular belief, he has done a frakking poor job of it.


  1. There are something like 35,000 different sects of Christianity alone, each of them with a unique version of God. They can't all be right, since they contradict one another. But they can all be wrong, which is far more likely.

  2. "The truth is common property. You can't distinguish your group by doing things that are rational, and believing things that are true. If you want to set yourself apart from other people, you have to do things that are arbitrary, and believe things that are false." Paul Graham
    Lies We Tell Kids

  3. Regardless of the cause (political, religious, anti-religious, racial justice), people dedicated to the fight and willing to put themselves on the line tend to be critical of the moderates, who often advise patience, compromise, and negotiation.guarantor