In this topic I’m going to discuss religion as differentiated from a belief in God. You may look at it differently but I consider religion as an organized system used by a group of people to worship their common idea of the deity. They would have rituals and prayers and graphic symbols in the form of icons or idols.
I am certain that many people believe that the Bible was the beginning of religion. It wasn’t. There were older religions each with its own God or gods. Some disappeared over time, some evolved into other religions and some are still going. An example of what I mean by evolved would be Christianity evolving from Judaism. Judaism itself has recently evolved into three general branches based on orthodoxy but I’ll still going under the name of Judaism. Christianity has evolved into more branches than any other religion. Current estimates are that there are more than 40,000 Christian denominations at the present time compared to less than 2000 in the year 1900.
Religions developed wherever humans lived because humans felt comfort in believing that some being was watching out for them. I would call it an addiction. Judaism is considered to have started about 1800 BC. Christianity is about 2000 years old. Taoism is commonly dated to the sixth century BC. At roughly the same time other religions formed in other places. The religions of Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, and Zoroastrianism came from that period.
Modern religions include Shintoism the indigenous religion of Japan probably appeared about the eighth century A.D. and Sikhism which is the world’s youngest major religion started about 1500 A.D.
Much younger religions would include Baha’i founded in Persia, Christian Science, and Mormonism which developed in the 19th century. Rastafarianism was founded in Jamaica around 1930. Scientology was founded in 1953 and the Unification Church was founded in 1954.
The difference between religion and a cult is the religion is the one you believe in and the cult is every other one.