Top 5 Myths About Religion

Written by Sean Newman Religion sets out to answer bigger questions about our existence, ascribe importance in a higher being, and lay the groundwork for a moral life. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths, the series that finds the biggest myths that people actually believe and dispels them one by one. In today’s instalment we’ll be looking at misconceptions surrounding major organized religions, along with the beliefs followers subscribe to. So step aside Hozier, it’s time to take these people to church. Special thanks to our users 7GreenHornet, ninou78, Brad Lott, and Ashjbow for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Written by Sean Newman

Top 5 Myths About Religion


Religion sets out to answer bigger questions about our existence, ascribe importance in a higher being, and lay the groundwork for a moral life. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths, the series that finds the biggest myths that people actually believe and dispels them one by one. In today’s instalment we’ll be looking at misconceptions surrounding major organized religions, along with the beliefs followers subscribe to. So step aside Hozier, it’s time to take these people to church.

#5: Islam is the World’s Largest Religion

As the overwhelmingly predominate religion in many different countries; particularly in the Middle East, it’s understandable to conclude that Islam is in fact the largest religion in the world. With 1.3 billion members, it’s one of only two to break into the billion-member club, but Christianity takes the cake at this time in history with 2.1 billion members. These numbers are already dated, and macro trends suggest a change in this status in the near future. The Pew Research Center believes that Islam will surpass Christianity by 2050 due to its standing as the fastest growing region in the world.

#4: Chanukah is the Most Important Jewish Holiday

It’s like Jewish Christmas, right? Well my gentile friends, this is certainly not the case. Perhaps commercialization of the holiday, or simply a need to have an experience of their own during Christmas led to this misconception about Hanukkah, but the celebration of Jerusalem’s Holy Temple doesn’t even crack the top three major Jewish holidays despite what you may have heard. Most practicing Jews will agree that Yom Kuppur, Rosh Hashanah, and Passover are the religion’s most important holidays, with the latter observing the liberation of God’s chosen people from Egypt. While educating students about this holiday stems from noble intentions, its focus over major Jewish holidays takes away from important aspects of the religion.

#3: Atheism is the Opposite of Religion

Bear with us on this one. Religion can be defined as an interest, belief, or activity that is very important to a person or group. Atheism means not believing in the existence of God, which directly contrasts with theism. But some major religions don’t necessarily require belief in a God; particular, Buddhism and Taoism. Instead of actively promoting the existence of a creator, they focus on achieving enlightenment, piety, and harmony with the world at large. Some may argue that you cannot be religious, and an atheist, but if you were to draw a Venn diagram of the two ideologies, there would be a small overlap based off of current understandings.

#2: Religious People Never Support Same-Sex Marriage

Speaking of Venn diagrams, some may be under the assumption that organized worship of an omnipotent being is mutually exclusive with acceptance of marriage between two men or two women. Statistics show otherwise, with a 2016 study by the Peer Research Center indicating that 58% of U.S. Catholics and 77% of U.S. Jews support gay marriage. Contrasted with the 55% acceptance among all U.S. citizens, major religions appear more progressive than presented throughout public opinion. There are certainly religious demographics who weigh down this median, but two of the largest religious groups in the U.S. have clearly spoken about their opinions on this issue.

#1: Jews, Christians, and Muslims Share Nothing in Common

This myth may not be frequently vocalized, but conflicts throughout the world indicate that the three central monogamous religions couldn’t be more different from each other. Aside from their belief in a singular deity, there’s quite a few commonalities among these religions. In particular, Abraham is a significant religious figure in each of their teachings, and all three consider Jerusalem a holy city. The Torah contains the first five books of the Bible, and the Koran mentions Jesus on multiple occasions. With all this talk of Venn diagrams, we can only hope a religious authority will take the time to map out all the areas Judaism, Christianity, and Islam overlap!
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