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16 January 2012

Of the Variations

Did you know that there are over 38,000 different recognized versions of christianity?  There are five main movements in judaism (with each movement also having differing movements within them totaling over 50 different recognized movements, and probably more fringe movements).  Amongst the believers of islam, I was only able to find listings for about 100 different denominations.  Now, my first thought would be that the christians seem to have seriously fucked up their system.  They are the "middle" in terms of age, and seem to splinter at the slightest disagreement on scripture.  The jews seem to have their shit together for the most part since they are the oldest, and have on several orders of magnitude fewer variations.  The muslims, being a younger group, even though quite volatile, don't seem to have splintered as much as the christians, but decidedly more than the jews.  Sort of reminds me of a quote:
If every trace of any single religion died out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again. - Pen Jilette
One would thing that the word of god wouldn't be left open to so much interpretation?  Doesn't speak well of the supposed inerrancy of any particular text.  I wonder why that is?

The problem with religious thought is that it starts off on a bad foot.  It says that the holy books proclaim truth, and that truth can't be questioned.  Whereas science gives a conditional acceptance of a finding.  Should new evidence come to light (through better measurements, new tools, etc.) science will indeed change.  That's one of the fundamental strengths of science.  However, when religion encounters a conflict with reality, it attempts to remain unbending according to its holy books.  It has the entire observation chain backwards.  That's why I think that Pen Jilette hit the nail on the head!

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