This article is dedicated to answering the question: Which religion came first in the world? To reply to that question, we will first discuss different religions and beliefs such as Paganism, Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism. Then, we will briefly clarify the concept of Islam and its core. We aim at doing a brief comparative study between Islam and other religions to objectively decide which religion came first in the world and which was the first monotheistic religion.
Here we will learn the following:
- What was the First Religion?
- Can Many Religions Be True?
- Was Paganism the First Religion?
- Was Hinduism the First Religion?
- Was Judaism or Christianity the First Religion?
- What Is the Meaning of Islam?
- the Fact Islam Is the First Religion
- Which Religion Came First in the world, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or Islam?
Introduction | What was the First Religion?
The first religion is not the religion that appears historically the oldest. Its nowadays version may represent a corrupted or a deviated form of the true one. However, the religion by which we call the first is the true religion, which actually represents the pure, and simple message of God to mankind at the beginning of life without any human intervention.
The first religion may appear to be late in history. In fact, it could be the retrieval of the first true one and a correction of the previously corrupted religions and scriptures.
There are many religions nowadays in the world. The most popular are: Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam. To decide which was the first true religion, we need to discuss each one’s meaning, history, and a brief on its teachings.
The religion that proves to be divine, intellectually and spiritually acceptable, has true rational beliefs, definite clear teachings, authentic books, and in addition, appears to be universal, is -for sure- the first true religion in the world.
Can Many Religions Be True?
In fact, many religions cannot be true or lead to the same truth at the same time. There is only one true religion that God revealed to people.
Each religion nowadays has its own beliefs and legislations. God wouldn’t confuse people by sending too many contradicting beliefs where -by logic- only one of them should be compatible to reality.
However, many religions could be originally the same before being exposed to different forms of corruption.
To Sum up, many religions could be originally the same, but not two coincident contradicting religions could lead to the same reality at the same time.
Was Paganism the First Religion?
In The following paragraphs, we will discuss some of the highlights of paganism history, beliefs, teachings, divinity, and books.
Is Paganism true in its beliefs?
According to The Pagan Federation International, Paganism is a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion. This shows Paganism is not by any means monotheistic. It is either to believe in many Gods and Goddesses or to deny the presence of God at all.
This approach is illogical and intellectually negates any form of reasoning, as it is impossible to have several Gods. This will actually put the world in chaos which is not the fact in this harmonized world. Also, denying the presence of God is like believing nothing could create something.
Is Paganism true in its teachings?
The Pagan Federation International also states that pagans may be trained in a particular tradition or follow their own inspiration. This shows paganism is not dogmatic and doesn’t have specific teachings or rulings. This clearly opposes the bases of the true, first religion which should have definite, clear, highly moral, applicable, and compatible teachings with human nature.
Does Paganism Appear to Be Divine with Divine Scriptures?
Although many pagans believe in Gods, Paganism doesn’t seem to be a divine revelation or true teaching of God as it lacks the basis of rational belief and clear teachings. It is perhaps a deviation from a previous true religion or belief as we will further discuss.
Paganism sacred texts are diverse, and appear to be from multiple origins. This further negates the assumption Paganism could be divinely sourced.
When Did Paganism Start?
Paganism is said to have started in the 20th century. However, it may have appeared at an earlier time in history. The history of paganism goes back to deviations in true divine religions, in which people exaggeratedly dignified their prophets and righteous people and made them memorial statues, that turned over a long period of time into idols for Gods and Goddesses.
All these facts support that paganism couldn’t be the true first religion.
Was Hinduism the First Religion?
In the following paragraphs, we will discuss Hinduism in a similar approach to how we discussed paganism.
Is Hinduism true in its beliefs?
According to The Hindus American Foundation, The major belief of Hinduism is the oneness of existence and pluralism. Hindus believe many creatures are considered a manifestation of the divine or the divine’s qualities.
Apparently, this belief lacks much common sense and reasoning. Creatures including human beings, animals, and others couldn’t -by any means- share the divine qualities. Moreover, God couldn’t be incarnated or manifested in a limited creature. This actually makes God lose His unlimited, divine attributes.
Hinduism is also considered a polytheistic religion, in which Hindus believe in several Gods and Goddesses.
The polytheistic belief contradicts the harmony and the organization encountered in the universe. It couldn’t be created by several Gods, as this would definitely put the world in chaos.
Moreover, the belief in several Gods contradicts the concept of the true God who is the most powerful and superior of all. These Gods would be equal or one should necessarily dominate over others, making them less powerful.
Is Hinduism true in its teachings?
Hinduism lacks specific or defined spiritual practices and teachings. It teaches that everyone could connect with God in his own unique ways. Hinduism also supports the idea of different ways relating to the truth. This actually makes us doubt the authenticity and the value of such practices and teachings, where everyone -No matter his background and qualifications- could do whatever he believes in his own way.
Does Hinduism Appear to Be Divine with Divine Scriptures?
The HAF states that Hinduism doesn’t appear to have a single founder or a central authorized scripture. However, it is a collection of several philosophies, traditions, and schools of thought. The basis of the most important questions as the relation with God and the purpose of life appears unclear in the sense that several schools provide various assumptions.
Hinduism doesn’t appear to be divinely originated -at least in its nowadays version- as it lacks a common definitive source of scriptures and teachings.
When Did Hinduism Start?
It is suggested that Hinduism started between 2300 B.C and 1500 B.C. which appears to be older than Christianity and Islam. However, it couldn’t be the first religion, as it lacks the characteristics of the first, divinely originated, true religion revealed to mankind upon creation.
Was Judaism or Christianity the First Religion?
In the following paragraphs, we will collectively discuss Judaism and Christianity showing whether they are true or not.
Are Judaism and Christianity Divinely Originated?
Judaism and Christianity share many properties in the sense they are known to be divinely originated. They are based on the belief in divine power (God) as the creator of the universe.
They have specific holy scriptures -namely; The Bible in its old and new testaments. Moreover, Judaism and Christianity both include several prophets and messengers in their holy scriptures making them somehow universal in message. However, their belief and scriptures are not that definite, authentic, or clear.
Is the Belief of Jews and Christians Rational?
Christianity’s belief in God is confined to Trinity; the belief in The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit as Three in One God. This concept is irrational, unclear, and insulting to God Almighty. Christianity also humanizes God believing Jesus is God or Son of God according to their different doctrines in a way similar to pagan belief.
Jews believe in only One God; they don’t believe in the Trinity. However, their teachings are not confined to the revelation of God and His holy scriptures, it is open to their leaders to customize their teachings, allowing things and forbidding others.
Are the Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity Authentic?
Both Christianity and Judaism have a common major problem, which is the lack of authenticity of their scriptures -The Bible. The Bible is a collection of writings from non-authentic manuscripts with unknown origins and sources. Moreover, the newest manuscript for the Bible is estimated to have been written thousands of years after the original revelation. The Bible is not in its original language and actually has many different versions.
What Is the Meaning of Islam?
The meaning of Islam is submission to The One True God (Allah). In the following paragraphs, we will discuss Islamic beliefs, prophets, and scriptures.
What Do Muslims Believe in?
The core of Islam is the belief in the Oneness of God and the belief in all of his prophets and revelations. This appears simple, obvious, and clear with no myths, polytheism, or idolism.
So, Muslims believe in One True God and all prophets till Muhammad (PBUH) the final prophet. They also believe in all revelations sent by God till His final revelation; The Quran.
Is the Islamic Scripture Authentic?
The Quran which is the final divine revelation to prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the same as the original text in its original language till nowadays with not a single letter changed.
It is memorized by people all over the world, all over ages from cover to cover in only one version. That makes it impossible to be corrupted or changed.
The Quran also narrates the stories of previous prophets and nations, confirming they are all one unit, calling to the very same message.
The belief in all previous Prophets and revelations -in their original texts- is one of the cornerstones of a Muslim’s belief. Where if a Muslim only believed in Muhammad (PBUH) and the Quran, neglecting other prophets and revelations, he wouldn’t be a Muslim.
This suggests the universality of Islam, as a pure simple belief of all prophets and messengers, and its harmony with human intellectual reasoning and thinking.
When Did Islam Start?
The revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is a bit more than 1440 years old. This may suggest Islam is relatively a new religion. However, Islam clearly states that Muhammad (PBUH) and the Quran are confirmation of the previous messages and a retrieval of the corrupted lost divine scriptures of the past. Islam states that all previous prophets were actually calling to Islam; the submission to The One True God.
So, Islam is the first, original, authentic, monotheistic religion of God.
Quranic Verses Supporting the Fact Islam Is the First Religion
Here are some verses in the Quran stating Islam is the first true religion and the actual religion of all prophets.
- All prophets before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received the same message.
“We never sent a messenger before you ˹O Prophet˺ without revealing to him: “There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Me, so worship Me ˹alone˺.” (Quran 21:25)
- In the following verse, God states that Islam is his true religion. God also states that people who rejected Islam while given enough knowledge had envy in their hearts.
“Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture before did not differ except after knowledge had come to them – out of jealous animosity between themselves.”. (Quran 3:19)
- Prophet Noah (PBUH) was a Muslim
“ I am commanded to be of those who are Muslim” [Qur’an 10:72]
- Prophet Jacob and his sons were Muslims
“..He (Jacob) said unto his sons: What will you worship after me? They said: We shall worship your God, the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, One God, and unto Him we are Muslims ” [Qur’an 2:133]
- Prophet Joseph (PBUH) was a Muslim
Prophet Joseph (PBUH) prayed to Allah: “Make me die a Muslim and make me join the righteous.” [Qur’an 12:101]
- Prophet Moses (PBUH) was a Muslim
Moses (PBUH) said: “O my people! If you have believed in Allah, then put your trust in Him if you are Muslims ” [Qur’an 10:84]
- Jesus (PBUH) called people to Islam.
“And ˹on Judgment Day˺ Allah will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary! Did you ever ask the people to worship you and your mother as gods besides Allah?” He will answer, “Glory be to You! How could I ever say what I had no right to say?… I never told them anything except what You ordered me to say: “Worship Allah—my Lord and your Lord!” (Quran 5:116-117)
- Jesus (PBUH) and his disciplines were Muslims
Jesus’s disciples said: “We believe in Allah and do thou bear witness that we are Muslbims.” [Qur’an 3:52]
“They said: we have believed and bear witness that verily we are Muslims.” [Qur’an 5:111]
- Prophet Abraham (PBUH) was a Muslim.
“Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists”. (Quran 3:67)
God also said: “And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob; oh my sons! God has chosen the faith for you; then die not except ye be Muslims.” [Qur’an 2:132]
- God (Allah) orders Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to say he believed in God and what He had revealed to previous prophets.
“Say, ˹O Prophet Muhammad, ˺ “We believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and his descendants; and what was given to Moses, Jesus, and other prophets from their Lord—we make no distinction between any of them, and to Him, we ˹fully˺ submit.” (Quran 3:84)
Conclusion | Which Religion Came First in the world, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or Islam?
It is clear from the previous discussion that Islam is the first true religion. Islam’s belief is simple, clear, and easy to understand and practice. However, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Paganism have many drawbacks and flaws.
All Prophets came with the message of Islam. However, the message was corrupted and deviated from the truth. Islam came as a retrieval of the previous revelations and a confirmation of the previous Prophets. That’s why, Islam is the first, true, monotheistic religion of God.
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