Atheism / religion · May 14, 2007

More on the flavors of Christianity

People get this. The belief that your particular brand of Christianity is true is mere hubris. The belief that “all Christians believe core principles” is also not quite true. Andy Diamos from the sporefrog blog does a good job of pointing this out. Linked from

Christianity is divided up between the Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox religions. In 2005, there were around a billion baptized practitioners of Roman Catholicism (~15-16% of the world population), a bit more than 400 million Eastern Orthodox practitioners (6-7% of the world population), and around 700,000 Protestants (10-11% of the world population). If one attests that the beliefs of Protestantism are true, she would be placing the confidence of her beliefs over her confidence in those beliefs of about 90% of the rest of the world. But, how many people who would associate themselves with Protestantism believe the same things? There are again many, many more divisions: Anglicans, Lutherans, Reformed/Presbyterians, Congregational/United Church of Christ, Evangelical, Charismatic, Baptists, Methodists, Nazarenes, Anabaptists, Seventh-day Adventists and Pentecostals.

These distinctions are apparent within all modern religion. Within the Eastern Orthodox practitioners, one finds a good 20 divisions, which I will now spare listing. There exist a good 30 or so divisions of Roman Catholicism.

There is disagreement among Christians even as to whether Jesus died for everyone’s sins, or just for the sins of those who believe in him.

I have a dozen people trying to get me onto a belief bus, who are interested – sometimes desperately interested – in saving my eternal existence.

From where I stand, all belief looks equally unlikely. But maybe I should give it a try, right? Pascal’s wager – what can it hurt?

Okay, perhaps I’ll try the Islamic bus.