Firstly, it is important to note that religions spread out from a source just like infections. Therefore, the older ones have had time to spread further. Unsurprisingly, many religions started where civilisation began - the Middle East. Your parents signed you up to the local religion at birth and there were lots of pressures to keep you loyal, such as forbidding you to marry outside the faith (Jewish daughters who do this are ‘mourned’ as ‘dead’) and a death sentence if you quit. So which religion you belonged to was a geographical accident of birth. The local commonality of religions was very significant when mankind had a restricted range - no transport except their own legs (or for the rich, animal legs) but since the Jumbo jet has brought long journeys into the economic reach of millions, we have become more mixed up.


Christianity is the second oldest (2 millennia) of

the major religions and the largest. Starting in the

Middle East, it spread along the Northern coast of the

Mediterranean and thence to Northern Europe and

the Americas. It has split into many factions - at least

20,000. The largest is Roman Catholicism, second

Anglicanism and, third, Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

At first, the Roman Emperors put to death the early Christians, preferring their pagan gods, then Constantine adopted it as the state religion thereby starting Roman Catholicism. Looking after ‘spiritual’ needs made the Empire a sort of early welfare state and helped to keep the population subjugated.

Anglicanism was originated by King Henry VIII;

he wanted to change his wife and the Pope wouldn’t

agree so he simply took over the church in England,

declaring himself its head. He persuaded many

clergy to accept his lead by giving them permission

to marry, unlike RC priests, but he had to execute

those who wouldn’t comply. Later, ‘Bloody’ Queen

Mary tried to re-impose Roman Catholicism and 280 disagreeable Anglican clergy had to be burned!     Wikipedia

Moral:  Before you die for a cause, check the evidence for it!


Islam is the junior brother of the Abrahamic religions being formed only in the early 7th century. Again originating in the Middle East, it has spread in a more easterly and southerly direction than Christianity. The regime is more strict than Christianity, requiring several acts of devotion every day.


Hinduism arose in India between the 1st and 3rd centuries. It is a polytheist religion with gods and mother goddesses representing moral concepts and natural things - weather, fire, dawn, waters, etc. Expansion was towards Burma and Indonesia. There are many sub-sects.                               Wikipedia


Judaism, at around 4000 years, is the oldest of the major religions. It exists in pockets all over the world because, from early days, its people have been stateless. Resourceful Jews have set themselves up in businesses everywhere.   Wikipedia

There are four major religions on this planet; that means three of them must be wrong.  Imagine arriving at the Pearly Gates and being told you’d backed the wrong one; you’d be gutted wouldn’t you!”


Comedian Andy Parsons

The one pictured is a velvet bag so no sound is heard when mere coins are dropped - the soul of discretion!

Religions need funding just like any other organisation - there are staff to pay and buildings to maintain. They don’t manufacture any products to sell and often make no charges for their ‘services’.

Some religions ‘tithe’* members. Sometimes the government helps out - the Roman Emperors made grants to their state adopted religion (to keep them under), but donations from the congregation are a major source of income. ‘Offertory plate’ is a euphemism for ‘begging bowl’.


Could you live off donations from followers who are mostly poorer than you?


*a medieval term for subscription

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Emperor Constantine

Henry VIII


Pope Leo the Tenth showed his true feelings when he said, “The fable of Christ has been quite profitable to us!”

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