Hagia Sofia in Istanbul TurkeyHagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey © John Suddath
Hagia Sofia has been a church, a museum, and a mosque.

Buddhism evolved in India and spread to China and Japan. Over time it was practiced concurrently with Taoism and Confucianism in China and with Shintoism in Japan. Although India is a confusing mixture of dialectics and religions, Hinduism is now the primary religion. It is endorsed by the government, but it is not considered the state religion. When the Communists took over China in 1949, they officially abolished all religions, but the ancient religions are still practiced – just on a smaller scale.

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The Global Methodist Church logo

Thousands of words have been published about the separation of The United Methodist Church into two denominations. Although the formal separation is still in a legal transitional stage, the spin-off The Global Methodist Church is operational even though it seems to be a big secret to many.

A review of their web site claims 3,000 churches, but the exodus will not be complete until after the 2024 General Conference of the United Methodist Church this summer. In the meantime, these independent congregations are meeting under the new banner. Not all congregations who left the United Methodist Church chose to affiliate with this denomination and some chose to be independent. It appears to be a selling point that these churches need to retain a connectional alignment that is the hallmark of the Methodist Church.

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The Religion Numbers Game

Over the past decade, I’ve written on this subject more than any other. I included several book reviews on the subject as well as current commentaries of controversial subjects. To take a more historical approach, The Pew Research Center’s data cites Christianity as the world’s largest religion edging out Islam by about 475 million, or about 5 percentage points. Out of the 20 top religions in the world, these two account for about one half of the total. The third category is: Secular/nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist count for about 1.2 billion. The older religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, and Chinese and African Traditional Religions, not only are regional in origin but also in current practice. The Pew Center doesn’t cite historical figures of how those ratios may have changed over time.

Read more: The Religion...