how to tell if your religion is genuine


In the year 2013, Christianity is the most popular religion in the world. If you’re a Christian, you’ll be aware that 2000 years ago this was not the case, and everyone went to Hell apart from the Jews – the people your god God properly loves because of his ethnic preferences. Most of the population of Asia, the Americas and Africa went to Hell on a regular basis until the arrival of missionaries a few hundred years ago, bringing a super double package of death through disease and eternal salvation.

If any of this is giving the Christians pause for thought (as in, “that really is a bit weird – not the best creator’s plan in benevolent deity-ville!”), they might like to reflect on a couple suggestions for evaluating just how genuine a religion might be.

Given the likelihood that all religious beliefs can’t be true (unless the deities are watching from a black hole having a popularity competition), it’s obvious that at least 99% of the superstitious beliefs that spring up all over the world are human-made nonsense. We all agree on that, right? So, if your religion is special, it will have divine characteristics that will set it apart from all the others.

1. Is the religious story original, or does it sound like a typically human-made brand of superstitious imagination, mixing and matching winning ideas from ancient popular myths?

  • Zoroaster from Persia, a prophet from between the 18th and 6th centuries BCE, starting his teaching mission at the age of 30 following a vision telling him that only one god was worth following, and featuring temptation from a devil.
  • The popular Greek God, Dionysus, was worshipped as far back as 1500 BCE and was the son of the god Zeus and a mortal woman. He died and was resurrected, and was celebrated with a ritual meal of bread and wine.
  • Osiris in ancient Egypt did the popular god trick of being resurrected. His followers believed in divine justice after death, with the prospect of eternal life based on moral fitness.

2. Is the core message of the religion original, or does it sound like a typically human-made brand of philosophical musings, mixing and matching natural conclusions and winning ideas from ancient and popular figures?

  • Plato, who was born round about 420 BCE in Greece said, “All men are by nature equal, made all of the same earth by one Workman; and however we deceive ourselves, as dear unto God is the poor peasant as the mighty prince.” and “Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”
  • Buddha, born in 563 BCE in Nepal, said, “Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.” and “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal.”
  • Confucius, the Chinese philosopher born in 551 BCE, said, “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” and, “Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.”

I sincerely hope this helps sort the wheat from the chaff!