A Tree of World Religions

I missed this whenever it first appeared, and I (obviously) can’t verify all this information, but here’s an amazing detailed “tree of world religions“:

The full version, created by Dzvenislava Novakіvska and her team at Funk & Consulting, can be seen here.

(Thanks to Brian for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    Every tree I have ever seen grows best with its roots well fed with large amounts of bullshit. See how well its grown

  • Bitter Lizard

    See that, theists? Thank your lucky stars that the religion you were born into just happened to be the right one.

    • fmfalcao

      I was “raised” a roman catholic. It didn’t take long to see the absurdity of the thing. Being able to think a little made me an non theist.

      Pax
      -fm

  • 3lemenope

    I dig it lots.

  • Jasper

    That’s quite a can of worms we opened up on ourselves.

  • Wren

    This is interesting, but I HATE the set up. Why is the window so small?

    • UWIR

      Huh? The chart has a zoom feature, as do most browsers.

      • rhodent

        True, but with a bigger window, you could see more information at a higher zoom level.

  • observer
    • advancedatheist

      Depends on how you define “atheism.” Some scholars argue that atheism in a recognizably modern sense didn’t exist as an explicit philosophical idea until late in the 17th Century.

      • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

        Depends on how you define “explicit philosophical idea”.

    • Guesty

      That’s not exactly accurate though. There are many different atheisms. Buddhist atheist is different from humanistic judaism. Classical greek atheism is different from modern humanism, which was influenced by Christian values. Different atheists has different reasons for their atheism and some still believed in woo. There were schools of hindu atheism that still believed in karma. And of course, early christianity was never monolythic. There were the gnostics, there were endless debates about exaclty how godly or manly Jesus was. Coptic christianity seems to be missing. and Christianity came from Judaism, which had many branches also.

    • Glenn54321

      Uhg… what a useless dialog. How about we all just pretend it says “non theist” or “don’t care.”

    • Intelligence Allowed

      That’s a pretty poor comparison, considering that the early Christians were accused of being ‘atheists’!

  • threedingers

    …so I said, “Die heretic!” And I pushed him over.

  • Daniel Clements

    Like a big plate of… noodles. I knew it!

  • Cattleya1

    Almost fractal… It is remarkable how quickly divine ‘truth’ divides into a whole bunch of other ‘truths’. And, people are willing to die and kill for all of these different ‘truths’.

  • duke_of_omnium

    Predictable, the commenters insist that their particular superstition is the correct one, so the chart is wrong. Still, it’s very impressive, even if it doesn’t show the apparent influence of Zoroastrianism on Pharisaic Judaism.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    They don’t seem to have shown how the Westboro Baptist Church branched off from the Hatred Addiction sub-sect of the Brotherhood of Making Shit Up As We Go Along, which grew out of the Order of the Divine Delusion, which was formed at the time of the 328th Petty Schism which happened shortly after the…

    They deliberately made the chart look like a tree. A tree with fruit that you should definitely not eat. Where have I heard of that?

  • Lijdare

    It doesn’t tie the Jewish/Israelite tradition to that of Canaanite religion whatsoever. It may be correct on the “fringes” in the last 2500 years, but before that it appears to have some problems.

  • Dorothy

    and the top comments (at least right now) on the site are from people wanting to split hairs about the terminology used to define mormons…. sort of proves the point, doesn ‘t it

  • UWIR

    All the crossings are silly. Every tree is planar. Granted, this isn’t actually a tree, but I think it’s still planar, and apparently they just decided to put in crossings for aesthetic value.

    And why is Islam shown as starting in the 500s?

    • Mary Leinart

      Maybe they’re using the birth date of Muhammad as the start point?

  • advancedatheist

    If Protestant churches evolved from the older Catholic church, why does the Catholic Church still exist?

    • Sandra Stott

      Because the Catholic church can eat bananas.

  • Heartfout

    Can anyone find the Hellenistic or Ancient Egyptian, or for that matter Babylonian religions on there?

    • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

      Are you that lazy?

    • Mary Leinart

      There are a lot of religions missing from it.

  • pezza

    Where is Islam? It has Judaism and Christianity, but I couldn’t find Islam. I can understand leaving out the Romans and Grecians and the South American sun gods etc and everything else that was worshiped by extinct civilisations, but Islam? Or maybe I just need to look harder?

    • Mary Leinart

      Islam is the green branch in the upper left part of the tree.

  • JA

    I don’t see ancient Egypt in there…should be in the main trunk.

  • TomS

    Not really useful, and more than a bit misleading. It seriously misrepresents the real relations between the religions, which are pretty much constantly cross-pollinating, to stick with the plant metaphor. Don’t rely on it as much more than a simplified picture of the actual relations.

    • iamfantastikate

      Agreed. Religion would be better represented by a tangled knot of color than by a tree. I feel like early Judaism, in particular, should be branching off of Zoroastrianism or vice versa. There’s some thought that the two influenced each other, and anyone who’s read a Zoroastrian text will see there’s solid evidence for that theory.

    • Guest

      I prefer the virus metaphor to the plant metaphor. Just as viruses constantly swap genes, so religions swap ideas with each other.

  • arensb

    Did anyone else get the urge to listen to Rush’s “Malignant Narcissism” while looking at that?

    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeUWJbs9Q5E if you don’t get it.)

  • Esau Yakub

    I couldn’t find African Vodou? Seeing how humans evolved out Africa & Vodou is estimated to be 10,000 years old. I would think it would be located somewhere at the base. But really cool graph & would make a great poster

  • Kat Dean

    Where can I get a poster of this tree?

  • rg57

    Nobody proof-read this tree.

    * “United Nation of Islaml”, “Nation of Islaml”, “Fruit of Islaml”

    * There’s two copies of “Cochin Jews, also called Malabar Jews” for some reason

    While the Kopimists would likely delight in a field sighting of Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V at work, I prefer quality.

  • Delude

    For all of you out there who’d like to have a full quality poster or image:

    http://pierwiastekzla.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/world-religions-tree/


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