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Silk Road

World Religions (Brief Overview)

The below is only intended as a very basic guide to religions around the world to give the reader a better understanding of the fantastically diverse world that we live in.

Religions Worldwide Photograph - Mosque in Mazar Sherif, AfghanistanMany of the world’s religions have their roots in the ancient past.

Hinduism – From India, Hinduism never really spread beyond her boundaries. The world’s oldest surviving religion has its origins deep within the Indus Valley and from the sacrificial cults introduced to India around 1500 BC. There are many deities which can be seen to be aspects of one god, Brahma.

Bhuddism – started with Siddhartha Gautama (c 563 – 483 BC) and spread quickly to all parts of India under the emperor Ashoka and then again with merchants traveling up the ancient stretches of the Silk route into central Asia. Bhuddism renounces materialistic existence in search of enlightenment or nirvana. It later lost importance as Islam spread eastwards and Hinduism retook control of India.

Islam – In the 630s Islam began its rapid military conquest of the Middle East converting many people of many faiths. Palestine came under its control, as did much of central Asia as Islam penetrated the Silk Road. Zoroastrianism was also eclipsed in Persia (modern day Iran).

Christianity – existed principally in Europe after Christ’s death in AD 29. It was established in much of the Roman World and even parts of India and Central Asia. Christianity is today perhaps the widest spread religion in the world thanks in part to the explorative attitude of medieval Europeans.

Zoroastrianism – named after Zoroaster (c 628 – 551 BC) who preached that life is a constant battle between good and evil.. It remained the principle religion of the Persian region until Islam displaced it in the 7th Century AD.