Although it’s impossible to decipher the exact date of the founding of any religion, Hinduism is considered to be the oldest religion in the world.
Religions have existed since ancient times, and it has evolved over time. It is a way of living for many people, believed to exist since the dawn of humanity.
The foundation of several major world religions, including Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity, was established by a well-known spiritual figure or prophet. These prophets’ lifetimes are often where these religions have their start. Others seem to have emerged through a fusion of spiritual doctrines and ceremonial customs of a subset of people that have been supported by one or more spiritual authorities.
But, according to scientific and archaeological data, Hinduism is considered the oldest religion in the world. Although, there is no specific date of origin or founder of the religion.
Hinduism originated around 1,500 B.C. and is mainly practiced in Southeast Asian countries like India. In fact, approximately four out of every five Indians affiliate with the Hindu religion. Religions like Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism have derived from the Hindu faith, too, making Hinduism one of the world’s oldest religions.
Hinduism is based on the concept of dharma, which promotes the practice of virtue and morality. In addition, dharma is the omnipresent power that structures society and processes within the universe. Hinduism includes a caste system, which organizes social classes into different spheres. It also promotes many symbols, like the om, which represents a sacred sound, and the swastika, which represents good fortune. The swastika was later marred by the rise of the Nazi party.
The ideas of samsara and karma have also influenced Hinduism. Samsara, in basic terms, signifies reincarnation, and karma refers to the law of cause and effect. Hinduism has no formal founder or a single book of holy inspiration. However, sacred texts like the Vedas contain several scriptures that include teachings and hymns.
The philosopher Confucius founded Confucianism in 600 B.C., and many deem Confucianism to be as much a political philosophy as a religion, as it promotes both spiritual and societal ideals. For instance, Confucius maintained that society was hierarchical, and he distinguished between three main relationships: king and minister, husband and wife, and father and son.
Yahwism and Judaism
Judaism originates from a religion called Yahwism, which the Hebrew people practiced over 4,000 years ago. Yahwism began with Abraham when Yahweh called upon him to create a nation of people. His son and grandson, Isaac and Jacob respectively, helped form the patriarch, which would influence the lives of the Hebrews for centuries to come. These individuals became the forefathers of the Israelite nation.
Polytheism, although not one specific religion, is the oldest form of practiced religion. It often occurred in pagan practices that aimed to worship a plethora of gods. Polytheism has influenced many prominent religions of today, including Hinduism. The earliest forms of polytheism took shape in Egyptian myths and were recorded on Sumerian tablets, which date back to 4000 B.C. and 3500 B.C., respectively.
Taoism was founded between 450 and 500 A.D. and originated in China. It began with traditions and practices native to China that grew to become a religion. The founders of Taoism aimed to maintain indigenous Chinese practices that the rise of Buddhism threatened. The educated and wealthy classes were the original Taoists, but the religion spread to lower classes over time. Therefore, different Taoist practices and traditions are preferred depending on the type of follower. For instance, many women prefer a form of Taoism called Ch’üan-chen.
Christianity originated in 30 A.D. and was based on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, who was a Jewish person born in Nazareth. Jesus did away with several Judaic laws that had defined Jewish culture for centuries. Instead, he taught that salvation only came from believing in his name and teachings, as he claimed to be the Son of God. Jesus and his 12 disciples spread his message throughout Israel. After Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, his disciples formed the Christian church, which later spread throughout Europe and the Middle East by Paul the Apostle.
Which Is The Oldest Monotheistic Religion In The World?
Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion in the world and the second-oldest religion in the world. Judaism’s history is believed to begin far earlier than 690 BC when it was officially founded. The religion’s devotees believe in a single God.
Solomon, the son of King David, reigned in Jerusalem circa 1000 B.C., and during his time there the first sacred Temple of the Jews was constructed.
There are around 14 million Jews in the world today. They primarily reside in Israel and the US.