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Can religion save?

After looking at current world events— war, murder, robberies, genocide in business and political arena, poverty, health, unemployment, hunger and homelessness just to name a few.  I often hear people say “I’m so glad I’m Saved.” Saved from what I think after seconds pass and hearing some of the same ones moan and complain about the issues they face.  After hearing this over and over I began a quest to find out if religion saves.

Let’s take a journey, what is religion? Wikipedia says Religion is an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.  Hold on, before you start jumping to any conclusions and until we have researched the whole matter.  How many religions are there in the world?

The table below and bullets are compiled from the relevant Wikipedia pages:

World Religions
Four largest religions Adherents Percentage of world population Further information
World population 6.9 billion[1] Figure used by individual articles
Christianity 2,331,509,000 34% Christianity by country
Islam 1,619,314,000 23% Islam by country
No religion 1,100,000,000 16% Irreligion by country
Hinduism 1,083,800,358 15% Hinduism by country
Buddhism 690,847,214 10% Buddhism by country
Total 6.8 billion 98%  
  • The CIA World Factbook gives the world population as 7,021,836,029 (July 2012 est.) and the distribution of religions as Christian 33.35% (of which Roman Catholic 16.83%, Protestant 6.08%, Orthodox 4.03%, Anglican 1.26%), Muslim 22.43%, Hindu 13.78%, Buddhist 7.13%, Sikh 0.36%, Jewish 0.21%, Baha’i 0.11%, other religions 11.17%, non-religious 9.42%, atheists 2.04% (2009 est.).[2]
  • The Proceedings of the 8th Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities estimates the 2010 World Muslim Population as 1,148,173,347 and as 24% of the world population.[3]

Okay, now the picture is coming together and there is still another step that needs to be sought out.  What does it mean to save or be saved?

dictionary.reference.com defines save as to rescue from danger or possible harm, injury, or loss: to save someone from drowning. 2. to keep safe, intact, or unhurt; safeguard; preserve: God save the king.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com defines saved  as To rescue from harm, danger, or loss. b. To set free from the consequences of sin; redeem. 2. To keep in a safe condition; safeguard. 3. To prevent the waste. 
Now we can begin.  Notice again in the above chart there are about 7 billion people in the world serving over 730 belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values desiring to be rescued.  Now I ask you again, can religion save?  As you see, religion has so many variables, it is not just the way we religiously go about our day to day lives that will preserve us and the world.  It is our relationship with our creator and each other being practiced religiously that will bring about the salvation we and our world so desperately need.
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