Which is the best religion to follow?

There are hundreds of different religions in the world. Leaving aside the case of people who do not wish to follow any religion, is there an objective way to measure which of them is better? If yes, which one is the best for humans? For a debate about the existence of God, see Does God exist?

Limitation: This page only covers the top 5 religions in the world (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism). There is no way it could cover all religions.

Limitation: The word "best" refers to the word "good", which arguably is ambiguous or vague. It is up to the arguments to interpret "good" and "best" in reference to some chosen standard/criterion of good.

Limitation: Even given a fixed standard of good, a demonstration that a particular religion is better than all other religions seems nearly impossible. Therefore, the debate will probably have to be constrained to identifying good and bad aspects of various religions, with respect to various standards of good.

The best religion is Hinduism edit

Arguments for edit

  •   Argument for Hinduism believes in unity in diversity. It never feels bad to welcome agnostics and atheists to practicing their own belief.

Arguments against edit

  •   Argument against TBD.

The best religion is Christianity edit

Arguments for edit

  •   Argument for Christianity is a complete and well-established system of belief.

Arguments against edit

  •   Argument against According to some, There is not enough evidence to support the most important assertions of Christianity, since Christianity is often at odds with empirical science[1][2].
    •   Objection Christianity that stands and falls on the ressurection of Christ has surprisingly well-established facts surrounding the ressurection itself.

The best religion is Buddhism edit

Arguments for edit

  •   Argument for Buddhism is the only religion which holds that the ease of human suffering (war, hunger etc.) is its principle purpose[3].
    •   Objection Althought doesn't neccesarily make suffering much better
  •   Argument for Buddhism focuses on expanding and improving one's own consciousness and being a good and healthy person all-round.
  •   Argument for Zen belief supports positive, ethical behaviors[4].
    •   Objection Zen often encourages detachment from politics and social matters in the pursuit of personal enlightenment. Such apathy harms the world[5].

Arguments against edit

  •   Argument against Buddhism promotes superstitious beliefs.
    •   Objection No example belief was stated. Thus, the above does not expose itself to refutation, making merely an existential statement, which are known to be either irrefutable/non-falsifiable to rather hard to verify. (The argument is so far as to be perhaps worthy of removal, or else serve as a basic argumentation teaching aid.)

The best religion is Islam edit

Arguments for edit

  1.   Argument for Islamic epistemology marries the sources of knowledge to acquire truth, unlike other religions.[6]
    •   Objection Which sources does it "marry", specifically? What does it mean, specifically?
  2.   Argument for Islamic epistemology is logically consistent [7].
    •   Objection The statement is not obvious and therefore needs some form of a proof. At a minimum, a link to a source arguing for consistency is to be provided.
    •   Objection Being logically consistent is no guarantee of goodness; rather, it would be a very basic prerequisite.
      •   Objection Being logically consistent would be an argument for Islam, though not a complete and defining one, as certain other religions hold inconsistent beliefs. The concept of the Christian trinity seems to defy logic. In the Trinity, although the Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are distinct persons despite being "3 in 1" - the roles that each character plays differ and contradict one another (for example, the Father is all-knowing but the Son is not)[8]. In Hinduism, religion can be interpreted based on the individual - therefore, certain Hindus can believe in monotheism while other Hindus believe in polytheism[9]. Also, the Hindu God, Vishnu, was said to have disguised himself to have sex with the wife of a powerful demi-god (Vrinda or Tulasi) - which doesn't correlate with Vishnu being the "protector of the universe" nor does it seem right that a God would rape a devotee[10]. In Islam, the concept of one, all-powerful God & Muhammad being the last messenger has been well established in the Qur'an, the Sunnah, and the ijama [consensus] of the scholars. In fact, denying the creed of faith (shahada) takes one out of the fold of Islam & is not considered a Muslim.
        •   Objection The statement of the form "X would be Y" is consistent with "X is not Y", and therefore, the above is no objection proper.
        •   Objection Let us expound, then. Let us have a religion or an atheist philosophy that consistently aims at destruction of humankind (that, obviously, is not Islam). Such a religion or philosophy is consistent yet its aim is bad, and therefore, the religion or philosophy is bad. Therefore, consistency does not entail goodness.
          •   Objection I agree with you that consistency does not entail goodness, but I'm saying that, compared to Christianity and Hinduism, is an advantage since we are able to reason & ponder over a message that is consistent and a religion that does not contain contradictions in its theology or practice. For example, this could be used as an argument against Christianity in favor of Islam ("worshipping 3 in 1 with contradictory features, making it seem paganistic" vs. "worshipping of one God and accepting Muhammad as his final messenger"). Therefore, Islam's logical consistency is easy to accept and its lack of inconsistency cannot be used as an argument against the religion.
  3.   Argument for Islam provides a logical and simple module to worship a higher entity: one All-Powerful, eternal God to which no entity can imitate.[11]

Arguments against edit

  1.   Argument against Islam's prophet spread the religion with violence, which is all too likely to inspire his followers to continue the violent practice.
    •   Objection There is some instruction toward violence in Old Testament as well. It is not clear that Islam is really worse than Judaism in this respect.
      •   Objection The motion is not that Islam is better than Judaism but rather that it is best, among all religions. Therefore, it has to be better than Christianity, which does not depend solely on the Old Testament, but rather mitigates its arguable flaws in the New Testament, in the figure of Jesus Christ who, instead of using sword, allows himself to be killed in a crucifixion. And even if one decides to claim that the New Testament override of the old one is insufficient to stifle violence, one still has to show Islam to be better, as regards violence, than e.g. Buddhism and Hinduism.
    •   Objection Although violence itself was used to increase and maintain the power of the Arabs, this was not used to spread the religion of Islam & the objection here implies that Muhammad used offensive violence to spread Islam. In fact, it is a popular claim that Islam 'spread by the sword', an untrue claim. The Muslims were oppressed by the polytheistic Arabs in Mecca after they were refusing to worship Arab idols (see w:Pre-Islamic Arabia), forcing them to migrate to Medina. After the peaceful conquest of Mecca in 630 by the Muslim army, Islam spread abundantly throughout the Arabian peninsula. The Muslims were forced to fight the Byzantines after a Byzantine faction killed one of Muhammad's diplomats, leading to the w:Battle of Mu'tah & the eventual conquest of Syria and the Levant. The Muslims fought the Sassanids, who were regarded as "threatening" to the Arabs[12]. The Arabs invaded Egypt using violence (which was necessary to eliminate a threatening force), but the religion itself did not spread throughout the locals until over a 100 years later and was not spread through forced conversions or mass murder of non-Muslims[13]. In fact, the Egyptians prefered Muslim rule over Byzantine [Christian] rule[14]. Many comments regarding oppression of the native Egyptian population were written by Catholic bishops, such as John of Nikiû, which were obviously marred with biases and inconsistencies. The religion of Islam spread amongst the Middle East "voluntarily" and was done mostly for "economic advantage"[15]. Lastly, the Prophet advocated for tolerance of religion & a multi-religious Islamic state. This is proven by the Qur'an[16][17] and the Sunnah[18][19].

Notes and references edit

  1. Montgomery, David R. "Even setting evolution aside, basic geology disproves creationism". The Conversation. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  2. "7 ways God is debunked by the sciences". News24. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  3. "Basics of Buddhism". www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  4. "Ethics Guidelines". Zen Studies. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  5. "Politics: A Buddhist Perspective | Hardcore Zen". Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  6. Justin Parrott (2017-02-27). "The Case for Allah's Existence in the Quran and Sunnah". Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research.
  7. Justin Parrott (2017-02-27). "The Case for Allah's Existence in the Quran and Sunnah". Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research.
  8. Mark 13:32-36 “But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of ma But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. It is like “No one knows when that day or time will be, not the angels in heaven, not even the Son. Only the Father knows. Be careful! Always be ready, because you don’t know when that time will be. It is like a But of that day or that hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. It is as when a man, sojour “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a fa But of that [exact day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son [in His humanity], but the Father alone. “Be on guard and stay constantly alert [ and pray ] ; for you do not k “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on “Concerning that day and exact hour, no one knows when it will arrive, not the angels of heaven, not even the Son—only the Father knows. This is why you must be waiting, watching and praying, because “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a] (in en). https://www.bible.com/bible/compare/MRK.13.32-36. 
  9. "God in Hinduism". Wikipedia. 2023-10-16. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=God_in_Hinduism&oldid=1180443952. 
  10. www.wisdomlib.org (2018-10-16). "Outraging the modesty of Vṛndā [Chapter 23]". www.wisdomlib.org. Retrieved 2023-11-22.
  11. "Al-Ikhlas". Wikipedia. 2023-10-30. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Al-Ikhlas&oldid=1182690024. 
  12. Akbar Shah Najeebabadi, The history of Islam. B0006RTNB4.
  13. "The great Arab conquests: how the spread of Islam changed the world we live in". Choice Reviews Online 45 (06): 45–3362-45-3362. 2008-02-01. doi:10.5860/choice.45-3362. ISSN 0009-4978. http://dx.doi.org/10.5860/choice.45-3362. 
  14. "Byzantine Empire - The successors of Justinian: 565–610 | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 2023-11-22.
  15. Lapidus, Ira Marvin (1988). A History of Islamic societies. Cambridge New York Melbourne: Cambridge university press. ISBN 978-0-521-22552-6. 
  16. "Surah Al-Kafirun - 1-6". Quran.com. Retrieved 2023-11-22.
  17. "Surah Al-Baqarah - 256". Quran.com. Retrieved 2023-11-22.
  18. El-Wakil, Ahmed (2019-09). "“Whoever Harms a Dhimmī I Shall Be His Foe on the Day of Judgment”: An Investigation into an Authentic Prophetic Tradition and Its Origins from the Covenants". Religions 10 (9): 516. doi:10.3390/rel10090516. ISSN 2077-1444. https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/10/9/516. 
  19. "Khaybar". Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. Retrieved 2023-11-22.

Further reading edit