Why do religions have different
distributions?
Origin
 Universalizing religions have origins based on
the life of a man.
 Ethnic religions have unclear or unknown
origins not tied to single individuals.
Christianity
 Founded upon the teachings of Jesus, born in
Bethlehem between 4 and 8 B.C. and died
about A.D. 30.
 Called the Messiah”, Greek for the anointed.
 Christians believe that he died for human
sins, raised from the dead by God and that his
resurrection provides hope for salvation.
Roman Catholics
 Believe in Christianity – as well as the
interpretation of the Church hierarchy
headed by the pope.
 God conveys His grace directly to humanity
through 7 sacraments including:
 Baptism, confirmation, penance, anointing
the sick, matrimony, holy orders, and the
Eucharist. (Transubstantiation)
Eastern orthodox
 Spilt from the roman catholic church in 1054.
 Pope Leo IX condemned the patriarch of
Constantinople.
 Eastern orthodox accepted the sacraments
but not the doctrines that came after the 8th
century.
Islam
 Muslims trace their story through Hagar and
Ishmael who were banished from Abrahams’
home.
 Ishmael’s descendant: Muhammad received a
revelation from Gabriel (angel).
 His pilgrimage from Mecca to Yatrib (the Hijra)
marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.
 Sunni’s and Shiite differences stem from
disagreements over the line of succession of
Muslim leadership.
Buddhism
 Founded by Siddhartha Gautama
 His life changed after 4 trips.
 He left a privileged life and stayed in the
forest for 6 years and emerged as the
“Buddha” the enlightened one.
 Theravada – oldest branch, says that
Buddhism is a full time occupation, renounce
worldly goods and become a monk.
Buddhism
 Mahayanists – say that their approach is less
demanding and emphasizes Buddha’s later
years of teaching and helping others.
 Theravadists emphasize Buddha’s wisdom.
 Mahayanists emphasize Buddha’s
compassion.
Ethnic origins
 The word Hinduism originated around 6th
century B.C.
 Hindu documents existed prior to recorded
history found date back to 1500 B.C.
 Artifacts date back to 2500 B.C.
 Aryan tribes brought Indo-European
languages around 1400 B.C. the first in NW
India (the Punjab).
Diffusion of Religions
 All three hearths of Universalizing religions
are in Asia. Christianity and Islam in SW Asia,
Buddhism in South Asia.
Diffusion of Christianity
 Diffused through missionaries by relocation
diffusion. Paul of Tarsus preached extensively
through roman territories. But the faith
spread through contagious diffusion. It was
solidified by hierarchal diffusion by Emperor
Constantine in 313 and by Emperor
Theodosius in 380 who made it the official
religion.
Diffusion of Christianity
 Migration since 1500 to other parts of the
world have extended Christianity.
Intermarriage and conversion have helped it
become the dominant religion worldwide.
 Latin Americans – predominantly Catholic
because of Spanish and Portuguese
 Canada and the US because of colonial
settlers
 from protestant England.
Diffusion of Islam
 Mainly through armies that conquered
regions in the middle east and spread
through intermarriage and conversion.
Diffusion of Buddhism
 Asoka, the Emperor of the Magadhan empire
became a Buddhist and tried to make it part
of the social fabric.
 Asoka’s son made trips to places like Sri
Lanka where they converted the king and his
subjects. Through trade Buddhism was
brought to China.

Why do religions have different distributions