From a Christian standpoint, how did all the non-Christian religions become so popular?

If Christianity ultimately is the correct religion (superseding the “previously correct” Judaism), how does one explain the rise and popularity of other religions, namely Islam, which not only came after Christianity, but might surpass it in number of practitioners within a few decades, if not a few years? Same could have been said about Manichaeism when it was a competitor to Christianity, and Hinduism, which is currently the third-most practiced major religion in the world, and the oldest-surviving one.

I mostly ask out of curiosity, to hear the Christian’s viewpoint on this. If Christianity is correct and has so much evidence for it, why are there so many people who practice other religions? Better, how?

Jesus had some interesting statements on what things would be like for Christians…

He would state that everyone will one day know of Christianity, that His Gospel would reach every part of the world. Then at the same time He would talk of false Prophets who will deceive many and the majority of people will follow them.

In the end times, Christianity will likely be a growing Religion that will be utterly despised and likely dying out at the same time. I know it sounds contradictory but that’s the strange thing about this Religion. It’s like we’re meant to be persecuted, spat on, defeated physically by false Prophets yet known by all.

Although I do agree that it seems like an interesting prediction, I only feel like an atheist could use this as it being an excuse Christ used if ever another religion was going to challenge His, which He knew was likely.

You said “growing” and “dying out” in the same sentence. I’m not sure I follow…

Also, same could be said about Judaism :shrug:

I understand what you mean. Let me post where I’m getting this from:

Matthew 24:10 And then many will fall away { Or b stumble b } and betray one another and hate one another.

11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.

12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come

Notice here it’s almost as if things will get really bad and yet the message will still spread and grow. Revelation speaks of an unheard of persecution against Christians so obviously we will be in the minority. People will see Christianity as the obvious false Religion because so many will be against it. Yet the Gospel will be preached everywhere and only then will the end come.

A very fascinating answer indeed.

From the catechism (emphasis/bolding mine):

26 We begin our profession of faith by saying: “I believe” or “We believe”. Before expounding the Church’s faith, as confessed in the Creed, celebrated in the liturgy and lived in observance of God’s commandments and in prayer, we must first ask what “to believe” means. Faith is man’s response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life. Thus we shall consider first that search (Chapter One), then the divine Revelation by which God comes to meet man (Chapter Two), and finally the response of faith (Chapter Three).


27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:

The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.1
28 In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behavior: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being:

From one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him - though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For "in him we live and move and have our being."2
29 But this “intimate and vital bond of man to God” (GS 19 § 1) can be forgotten, overlooked, or even explicitly rejected by man.3 Such attitudes can have different causes: revolt against evil in the world; religious ignorance or indifference; the cares and riches of this world; the scandal of bad example on the part of believers; currents of thought hostile to religion; finally, that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee his call.4

Man’s search for truth must therefore be guided by something outside of himself.

Islam is growing because of high birth rates in the Third World and because in many Islamic nations, being anything other than Islam can cost you a lot—even your life.

It’s also growing because many Christians—including Catholics—buy into this nonsense that a couple can only ever have one or two kids for they must have everything under the sun or will not succeed in life and end up at some dead-end job that is looked down upon in society.

Also, Islam gets all kinds of favors and free passes from the First World secular elite. Go and tell the feminists and gay rights activists you’re a Muslim and argue against them as an exercise. It’s a different reaction in many cases.

As far as Islam is concerned, I believe it is was directly initiated by Satan to be the chief religious adversary of Christianity. Its historical and theological tenets, and the content of the Qur’an when compared to the New Testament, are both fascinating and alarming from a Christian angle, and even more fascinating from a Catholic angle. It is aggressive, evangelical (in a sense), and is structured to inspire both zeal and loyalty out of its adherents. It is the prime force which delayed the spread of Christianity further east for a thousand years. My speculated origins of Islam, however, do not wholly translate to the actual peoples themselves who are within its net. Muslims hunger and thirst for God as much as any person might. Islam is by far the most interesting religion apart from Christianity.

The Eastern religions I believe are, more or less, the attempts of virtuous men to come to know the truth via reason alone, and thus, while being beneficial to their societies, fall short of the Catholic Church, which has been graced with revelation in addition to human reason.

One might also ask why, if Christianity is the true religion, have there been so many different forms of Christianity? I think the answer to both different religions and different expressions of essentially the same religion lies in the fact that humans have minds as well as the free will to choose what they agree with and what they disagree with, what they think is true or not so true, or even downright false, or possibly satanic, and so forth. This would also include people who choose not to believe in any organized religion and those who do not believe in or have serious doubts about the existence of G-d or gods. Although we are members of the same species, we don’t all think alike on religious, political, artistic, or any other matters. Where does all this diversity of thought come from? No doubt many places including differences in culture, reasoning, intelligence, creativity, personality, experiences in childhood and adulthood, family upbringing, quirks in brain chemistry, motivations, emotions, and what the French call “l’esprit de contradiction,” among other influences. I believe diversity of beliefs is a good thing for several reasons, not the least of which is it makes life so much more interesting!

To answer the quote on numbers in Islam well if every Christian man had three wives, and twelve children plus our numbers would leap at an astromical rate.


To answer your question, I think non Christian religions have become so successful because the young generation thinks that because they come upon something different than the old generation that it is a new and better idea. Never considered that the idea might be old and already defeated. So we cycle through pantheism, atheism, and deism generationally.

Personally I haven’t seen a dramatic shift toward Islam in middle america, I have seen a shift toward self worship more than anything. “My life is about me, and what I want to do.”

Christianity can basically be boiled down to the following: “I am willing to sacrifice of myself for the benefit of others” whereas the culture around us seems to be screaming, “sacrifice those around you for the benefit of yourself.”

This is somewhat a response to the OP as well as a response to the poster who inquired why there are varying forms of Christianity. I think a good deal has to do with people attempting to pick and choose what they want to believe and, after figuring out that Catholicism holds individuals to be accountable for actions the world has deemed in recent years acceptable/socially appropriate, these individuals may turn to a different religion or forming their own (a la Henry VIII and the Church of England).

This caught my eye.

The fact is that Hinduism is said to be a revealed religion: Krishna and Rama are the better-known (and mostly venerated) incarnations (avatars) of Vishnu, the preserver, who is somewhat analogous to Christ, in that he incarnated in human form (at least twice, and in some schools of thought thrice, if you count Siddhartha Buddha, and nine times in total as either a human or non-human) and has yet to reincarnate again in his tenth and final form (Kalki), where he will destroy evil once and for all… at least until the universe is reborn. Also, there is a Trinity, called the Trimurti, and the three parts or “gods” of the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) are in fact a manifestation of the same god/Absolute, Brahman (which encompasses all of reality, really).

As for Buddhism, Buddha, aka Siddhartha Gautama, although not a god, is said to be the “enlightened” one who would bring truth to humanity whenever he was reincarnated, and would in some respects be a prophet. Prophets (in lack of a better term) of Buddhism are called Bodhisattva, and the final Buddha, Maitreya, is also analogous to the Hindu Kalki, or, effectively, the Abrahamic messiah.

I agree. I love philosophy and studying religion. There is so much beauty in the subjects, even when it comes to things I don’t believe in. I just hope that whatever is “out there” isn’t upset at this diversity :\

I agree, and that is why I am a cynical person.

Interesting point of view, which I agree with. But a great majority of religions are also about giving and being a good person, and admittedly, there are a lot of non-religious individuals who care about others, and people who care about others not primarily for religious reasons but out of natural, human compassion (which, granted, could be God-given, but you know what I mean).

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