What Religions Came Before Christianity


Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world, with some estimates putting it at 5000 years old. It is believed to be the foundation of many of the teachings of Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It is most commonlyknown for its strong belief in Karma: the cause and effect of a person’s actions. One of its main teachings is the idea of reincarnation, where an individual’s soul is reborn in various forms until it can reach ultimate bliss. The Holy book of Hinduism is called the Vedas, which contains some of the oldest sacred texts known to man.
Hinduism is said to be a non-theistic religion as there is no single central figure or concept of worship. Instead, Hinduism focuses on developing a personal connection with one’s god or higher power. This connection is reached through meditation and yoga, which are believed to be the means to connecting with one’s higher self.
Throughout its existence, Hinduism has been renowned for its spiritual growth, knowledge of the natural world, and philosophy. It has encouraged the seeking of truth and understanding other religions and philosophies. A major leader of the Hindu faith was Gandhi, who gave new life to the religious and cultural beliefs of Hinduism.


Buddhism is one of the oldest continual religions in the world. It was founded in Northern India by Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Buddha. He lived around the 6th century BCE. He taught about achieving enlightenment, which is the ultimate spiritual power of existence.
Buddhism is a non-theistic religion that does not rely on a single god or entity. Instead, it focuses on the practice of meditation and mindfulness in order to reach a higher level of consciousness. Buddhism also focuses on the importance of the Middle Way—engaging in life without attachment to material possessions or extreme behavior in either direction.
Buddhism has made an impact on our world in several ways. Buddhist philosophy has helped to shape popular culture, particularly in the area of mindfulness and meditation. Its concepts have been used to develop educational systems and psychological theories. Additionally, Buddhism has had a crucial role in informing western philosophy, including the works of Thich Nhat Hanh, whose books have greatly influenced our understanding of Buddhist teachings.


Judaism is the oldest of the Abrahamic faiths, with its roots in the ancient Middle East, around the 2nd millennium BCE. The Jewish people trace their origins to the story of Abraham in the Book of Genesis. Jews believe in one God and practice the commandments of the Torah.
While Judaism is indeed a religious faith, it also encompasses a way of life and community. Jews observe a variety of rituals, including the Sabbath and other holy days, and have a distinct dietary code. Jews place special emphasis on obeying the laws of God and living according to his teachings; this idea is known as halakhah.
Judaism has not only impacted religion, but also plays a key role in politics and culture. It originated some of the most well-known philosophies and intellectual pursuits, such as Kabbalah and biblical commentary. It continues to influence the fields of political science, economics, and modern-day sciences. The cultural identity of the Jews has been integral to the Western world for many centuries, making them truly a people of faith and prominence.


Taoism is an ancient philosophy originating in China as far back as the 6th century BCE. Like Buddhism, it holds no deity or ideal to worship. It instead focuses on living a life of harmony with nature, understanding the concept of yin and yang, and meditating to reach a higher level of understanding, both within oneself and to connect with the universe.
Taoism focuses on the power of balance, which is the core of its teachings. Taoists believe that balance should be actively sought by understanding the different aspects of our lives – physical, mental, and spiritual. It also encourages individuals to interact with the environment in order to create harmony.
Taoism has greatly impacted our modern culture. Its notion of balance has been embraced by many, especially Eastern-influenced practices such as Feng Shui and the principles of martial arts. It has also inspired many genres of art, from traditional Chinese calligraphy to computer-generated images. Philosophers and scientists such as Albert Einstein, Alan Watts and Joseph Campbell have all been inspired by Taoist beliefs.


Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion founded by Zoroaster, an Iranian spiritual leader, in the 6th century BCE. It has been practiced in central Asia for almost three millennia, with its holiest text, the Avesta, being written from the late 10th century to the early 13th century.
Zoroastrianism is based upon monotheism and dualism, meaning that it revolves around the belief in one god, Ahura Mazda. To be a worshiper of Ahura Mazda, one must live according to the teachings of the Avesta, which is composed of five books. Its focus is on the individual’s choice between choosing righteousness (thoughts, words, and actions that are good) and choosing evil (thoughts, words, and actions that are bad).
Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest living monotheistic religions, with some followers still living in Iran. It has had a great influence on many other faiths, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Its primary influence lies in the concept of free will and the belief that each individual ultimately chooses how they want to live.


Manichaeism is an ancient religion that developed around the 3rd century CE. It was founded by Mani, an Iranian religious reformer, who envisioned a universal faith that went beyond the narrow confines of any single religious doctrine or system.
At its core, Manichaeism is a religion that is based on dualism—the belief that there are two great forces of the universe – good and evil. It believes in the universal struggle between these two extreme forces, and that our individual choices will determine the outcome of this struggle. Manichaeism also emphasizes the importance of humility and compassion, as well as the idea that our actions have a significant impact on the balance of good and evil in the world.
Manichaeism has had a profound effect on many other faiths and traditions. Its dualistic beliefs have been a major influence on the development of the Islamic concept of jihad, while the teachings of Mani have inspired an entire school of Islamic philosophy. Additionally, the Manichaean concept of free will has greatly contributed to the development of moral and ethical theories throughout the modern world.

Hellenistic Religions

Hellenistic religions are a group of ancient faiths that developed out of the beliefs of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. These faiths are part of the mystery religion, which includes various cults and oracles devoted to the worship of a particular deity or group of gods.
Many of the Hellenistic religions focus on the notion of apotheosis, the transformation of a human being into a god-like being. For example, the cult of Hercules was devoted to elevating its participants to a divine status. Similarly, the Eleusinian Mysteries promoted death and rebirth of the soul in order to reach a higher state of being.
The principles of Hellenistic religions have been a major influence on modern religious thought. Ideas such as the need for purification, the immortality of the soul, and the ultimate triumph of justice over evil have continued to be explored in many religious and philosophical traditions. Additionally, the practice of offering sacrifices to gods and goddesses in order to gain favor is still commonly practiced in many cultures.

Mystery Religions

Mystery religions are a collective term used to refer to a variety of ancient religions that involved initiation into the religion’s secrets and mysteries. These religions originated in the classical world and had adherents in Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Syria.
Mystery religions usually revolved around a god or goddess, with the initiate having a direct relationship with the deity that was believed to bring salvation and a personal transformation. This transformation was often believed to come after initiation into the secrets of the deity and the sacred practices of the cult.
The influence of these religions can still be felt today in many sects of Christianity and Islamic sects. Most notably, the symbolism and ritualistic practices of these cults have been adapted and continued in various Neopagan traditions, such as Wicca and Druidry. Additionally, the presence of mystery cults in the ancient world has helped shape our modern view of religion. The idea that one must undergo a process of initiation into the sacred mysteries has been embraced by many modern faiths.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

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