I constantly run into (it seems) people (fundies) saying I'm gonna burn in hell and all that jazz. This because I don't believe in the Christian god. So what if I chose to believe in some other god. Would that be okay?
Let me start by laying out some guidelines. 1) I must adhere to the historic record or otherwise documented instances I can site or reference; 2) I can't go by what somebody else says is THE right religion or god (it has to suit my needs). So let me go about seeing if there's any one god or religion I could buy into...
How about the oldest in recorded history? Sorry Christians. It's not Christianity.
The oldest religion on record was the religion of Sumer (c. 4000 BCE). Hence the oldest divine being was either Apsu or Tiamat or both. It seems Apsu was more of a place than a personification of a deity. So I guess I go with Tiamat on this one. Oops, scratch me worshiping her. She's dead, killed by Marduk at Creation. Her dead corpse was used to form the heavens and the earth. She possessed the Tablets of Destiny, though, which conferred upon the god Enlil his supreme authority as ruler of the universe.
So let's move on to Enlil; he's the "Ruler of the Universe" after all (seems this story keeps getting more and more complicated). Enlil was also "Lord of the Command" (sounds intimidating).
So how do I worship Enlil? I can't find any information on this. I suppose I could just "claim" him as my god and be done with it. Could it be that easy? Oh, but I have to have faith that Enlil exists. Is there evidence to prove this? Probably not but there certainly is evidence that people worshiped Enlil. He was the first deity to be worshiped. Can't be all that wrong being the first, right?
What if I go with the earliest gods of my ancestors. I'm of French, German, Swiss, Irish, Scottish and probably English descent.
We find that ancient European people are derived from the Celts. What or who did they worship? Who was their supreme deity? Seems they held to a polytheistic tradition, much as the Sumerian's did.
...there are different types of deities, general and local. General deities are the gods and goddesses the Celts invoked for protection, healing, luck, honour or many other needs. The local deities or Genii loci, were more like spirits of particular feature of the world around them. Each mountain has its own protector, every ancient tree has its own spirit and every river is protected by its goddess or god. wiki
Oh boy! You should see that list!
Alright! Alright! How about we move ahead in time. Let's find out which is the biggest world religion. After all millions of people can't be wrong, right?
Christians, you may jump up from your chairs now and rejoice with glee! Thirty-three percent of world religious adherents subscribe to Christianity. Do I need to pick a denomination? Sure, why not.
Let's see here... According to Adherents.com there are around 968 million Catholics as opposed to 395 million Protestants (the two biggest Christian denominations). So we see that there are more people who put stock in Catholicism, that many people can't be wrong! Right?
Maybe I should just go with the most popular in my area. At least I can find like-minded individuals to share my religious beliefs with. Boy, this is proving harder than I thought. Okay, here we go. Where I live (the general area) there are 43,000 Catholic adherents (the 2nd biggest block of church-goers), but let me check Protestant denominations as Protestant is the biggest block of church-goers at 58,000 for Evangelical Protestants and 47,000 Mainline Protestant totaling 105,000 adherents.
The biggest Protestant denomination in this area is the United Methodist Church at about 14,000 adherents.
However, above all, there are approximately 299,000 individuals who don't identify with any given religion at all.
Thank you for reading.