Today’s Religions—A Quiz
WHAT do people believe? Religious leaders are disturbed to find that many no longer believe what they have been taught.
Indeed, today’s religious scene has changed drastically since 1961 when Awake! published a well-received quiz entitled “How Well Do You Know Your Religion?” With this issue, we again invite our readers to test their background knowledge of contemporary religion and its age-old traditions. But this time the emphasis is on the crisis facing world religion, focusing on such developments as the modern phenomenon of people’s drifting belief and religion’s new assertiveness in politics and war.
Why not take your pencil and answer the quizzes on this page and the next three pages? Then compare your answers with the authorities cited on the answer pages. See if the results help you familiarize yourself with today’s religious situation.
WORLD RELIGIOUS MEMBERSHIP
Many of earth’s inhabitants are not associated with a religion, but this graph represents those who are.
Can you arrange the religions in order of comparative size or membership as shown on the graph? (Answers on page 18.)
BASIS FOR PEOPLE’S BELIEFS
Identify the writings with the corresponding religion or philosophy. (Answers on page 19.)
1. ‐‐ Koran A. Buddhism
2. ‐‐ Baltimore Catechism B. Confucianism
3. ‐‐ Talmud C. Hinduism
4. ‐‐ Vedas D. Islam
5. ‐‐ Five Classics E. Judaism
6. ‐‐ Pali canon F. Roman Catholicism
BIBLE FACTS AND TEACHINGS
Mark “T” or “F” for “True” or “False.” (Answers on page 19.)
1. ‐‐ The Bible writers admit they wrote under inspiration of God, who required them to record their own embarrassing mistakes and shortcomings.
2. ‐‐ The Bible assigns to Christendom’s clergy the job of protecting the laity from hellfire.
3. ‐‐ The Bible indicated that the earth was round when men thought it was flat.
RELIGION AND WAR
Match the locations of recent wars or armed conflicts with the religions involved. (Answers on page 20.)
1. ‐‐ India (Bhiwandi and Bombay) A. Catholicism, Protestantism
2. ‐‐ India (Punjab) B. Hinduism, Buddhism
3. ‐‐ Ireland C. Hinduism, Islam
4. ‐‐ Lebanon D. Hinduism, Sikhism
5. ‐‐ Sri Lanka E. Shiite Muslim, Christendom,
WHO SAID IT?
Match the name to the statement. (Answers on page 21.)
1. ‐‐ “Religion is the opium of the people.”
2. ‐‐ “Cleanliness is, indeed, next to Godliness.”
3. ‐‐ “The League of Nations is the political expression of the kingdom of God on earth.”
4. ‐‐ “The guardians of hell inflict torture.”
5. ‐‐ “It is a holy war, and it will continue until the abdication of the shah.”
6. ‐‐ “God helps those who help themselves.”
7. ‐‐ “Let some fresh air into the Church.”
8. ‐‐ ‘Call no man your father.’
9. ‐‐ “The peoples of earth turn to the United Nations as the last hope of concord and peace.”
A. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
B. Karl Marx
C. Buddhist writings
D. Federal Council of Churches
E. John Wesley
F. Jesus of Nazareth
G. Pope John XXIII
H. Pope Paul VI
I. Aesop (Greek fabulist)
EFFORTS TO KNOW GOD
Underscore the correct answer. (Answers on page 21.)
1. Hindus recognize (0; only 3; 330,000,000) gods and goddesses.
2. Shinto writings refer to (0; only 3; 8,000,000) gods.
3. Belief in a creator of all things does not exist in (Buddhism; Hinduism; Islam; Judaism).
4. A trinity of divinities was taught (exclusively by the early Christians; by most ancient non-Christian religions).
RELIGION AND THE WORLD
Check the correct statement. (Answers on pages 22 and 23.)
1. Jesus of Nazareth [ ] never [ ] once [ ] more than once refused political power as a king or national ruler.
2. The Bible teaches that the one bringing world distress is [ ] God [ ] God’s enemy the Devil.
3. The Scriptures require that God’s servants [ ] use violence as a last resort in correcting social problems [ ] stay neutral regarding worldly politics while looking to God’s Kingdom for the remedy [ ] overthrow the establishment.
4. The Bible [ ] teaches that as the world progresses educationally and socially, religion will grow stronger and more humane [ ] warns that men will practice only a form of godly devotion but prove false to its power [ ] anticipates no crisis in religion.
5. The Bible [ ] assumes that religion will convert the world [ ] predicts that all religions will unite [ ] foretells that national rulers will totally destroy the religions of the world.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Mark “T” or “F” for “True” or “False.” (Answers on pages 24 and 25.) According to the Bible:
1. ‐‐ The Kingdom is a spiritual state within the hearts of the friends of Jesus.
2. ‐‐ The Kingdom is a real government.
3. ‐‐ The Kingdom is represented on earth by the United Nations.
4. ‐‐ Without human help, the Kingdom of God will destroy the kingdoms of this world.
World Religious Membership
Answers to questions on page 15.
1. Christendom 1,644 million*
2. Islam 860 million
3. Hinduism 655 million
4. Buddhism 310 million
5. Judaism 18 million
6. Shintoism 3 million
Basis for People’s Beliefs
Answers to quiz on page 16.
1. D Islam. Koran: “The book composed of writings accepted by Muslims as revelations made to Muhammad by Allah.”—Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.
2. F Roman Catholicism. Baltimore Catechism: “An official summary or statement of Roman Catholic beliefs and practices.”—Webster’s New International Dictionary.
3. E Judaism. Talmud: “The authoritative body of Jewish tradition comprising the Mishnah and Gemara.”—Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.
4. C Hinduism. Vedas: “Any of four canonical collections of hymns, prayers, and liturgical formulas that comprise the earliest Hindu sacred writings.”—Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.
5. B Confucianism. Five Classics: “The Confucian canon of five books (Ching), comprising: The I Ching, or Book of Changes . . . The Shu Ching, or Book of History . . . The Shih Ching, or Book of Odes . . . The Li Chi, or Book of Rites . . . The Ch’un Ch’iu, or Spring and Autumn Annals.”—Webster’s New International Dictionary.
6. A Buddhism. Pali canon: “This canon was committed to writing in the 1st century B.C., some four centuries after the death of the Buddha. . . . The Pali canon doubtless presents Buddhism as it existed in the Community of monks during the 1st century B.C. There is no general agreement as to the contents of Buddhism as it existed before the writing of the Pali canon.”—The Encyclopedia Americana.
Bible Facts and Teachings
Answers to quiz on page 16.
1. True. The Bible writers freely admit that they wrote by inspiration and that God required them to record their own embarrassing mistakes and shortcomings. David, whose numerous Bible psalms candidly exposed national shortcomings and his own private sins, explained: “The spirit of Jehovah it was that spoke by me.”—2 Samuel 23:2.
Also, Daniel wrote about future events that he acknowledged he “could not understand.” He asked: “O my lord, what will be the final part of these things?” The answer given him was: “Go, Daniel, because the words are made secret and sealed up until the time of the end.”—Daniel 12:8, 9.
Yes, Bible writers foretold events that were beyond their ability to understand at the time. Therefore the apostle Peter admits: “No prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.”—2 Peter 1:20, 21.
2. False. The Bible does not assign Christendom’s clergy the job of protecting the laity from hellfire. The fact is, the hellfire teaching is not found in the Bible. The Bible teaches that the dead are unconscious, feeling no pain. It says: “As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, . . . for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol [“hell” in older editions of the Bible], the place to which you are going.”—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10.
The Bible does not authorize the setting up of a clergy class distinct from those with a so-called laity status. Jesus taught his followers: “All you are brothers.” And he strictly forbade using such titles as “Rabbi,” “Father,” or “Leader.”—Matthew 23:8-10.
3. True. The Bible indicated that the earth was round when men thought it was flat. In the eighth century before Christ, when men still believed the earth was flat, Isaiah wrote: “There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth.”—Isaiah 40:22.
Religion and War
Answers to quiz on page 16.
1. C Hinduism, Islam
India (Bhiwandi and Bombay): “Tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India exploded into some of the worst communal riots since independence. Riots in Bhiwandi and Bombay in May and June  left more than 300 people dead.”—Encyclopædia Britannica, 1985 Book of the Year.
2. D Hinduism, Sikhism
India (Punjab): In 1984 India’s prime minister, Indira Gandhi, a Hindu, authorized a “punitive raid on the most sacred shrine of the Sikh religion, the Golden Temple at Amritsar” in the Punjab, “where Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale [a militant Sikh leader] . . . was martyred by government troops.” In quick retaliation Gandhi’s own Sikh bodyguards assassinated her. “Tension and violence between Hindu and Sikh communities in India continued into 1985.”—Encyclopædia Britannica, 1985 and 1986 Book of the Year.
3. A Catholicism, Protestantism
Ireland: “Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister, agreed to consult the Irish Republic in addressing the grievances of Ulster’s 600,000 Roman Catholics. But leaders of the North’s million Protestants have vehemently rejected the . . . accord. . . . If they prevail, . . . a savage conflict is likely to rage into another century.”—The New York Times, November 15, 1986.
4. E Shiite Muslim, Christendom, Druze
Lebanon: “[Nominal] Christians killed Muslims without quarter. Muslims killed Christians with a ferocity unknown since the Crusades. Druze [members of a Syro-Lebanese religious sect originating among Muslims] and Palestinians entered the dark fray, until at any one time there were as many as 53 ‘irregular’ armies fighting in Lebanon. Indeed the ‘Lebanon syndrome’ became the metaphor for irregular warfare and purposeless killing in our times.”—Encyclopædia Britannica, 1985 Book of the Year.
5. B Hinduism, Buddhism
Sri Lanka: “Among the traditional Buddhist nations, Sri Lanka had become the bloody scene of renewed violent conflict between the Hindu Tamil minority in the north and the Buddhist Sinhalese majority.”—Encyclopædia Britannica, 1986 Book of the Year.
Who Said It?
Answers to quiz on page 17.
1. B Karl Marx
2. E John Wesley
3. D Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America (representing various Protestant denominations) December 18, 1918, in an adopted declaration sent to U. S. president Woodrow Wilson
4. C Buddhist writings quoted in the “Nikayas of the Pali canon”
5. A Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as quoted in Encyclopædia Britannica, 1985 Book of the Year
6. I Aesop, in his fable Hercules and the Waggoner
7. G Pope John XXIII, January 25, 1959, in explaining why he intended to call the Vatican II ecumenical council
8. F Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 23:9)
9. H Pope Paul VI during his visit to the United Nations in 1965
Efforts to Know God
Answers to quiz on Page 17.
1. 330,000,000 Hindu divinities: Regarding the common man in India, Professor J. B. Noss says: “Even though experience usually leads him to adopt one particular god or goddess as a patron . . . , he honors nevertheless all supernatural beings . . . Hindus are accustomed to saying their deities number some 33 crores; that is, some 330 millions.”—Man’s Religions.
2. 8,000,000 Shinto divinities: “The gods of Shinto . . . are said in one place to number 80 myriads and in another to number 800 myriads.”—The Sacred Writings of the World’s Great Religions.
3. Buddhism does not teach belief in a creator. “It admits no beings with greater supernatural power than man can reach by virtue and knowledge; in fact, several of the Buddhist nations have no word in their languages to express the idea of God.”—McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia.
4. Most ancient non-Christian religions: Abbott’s Dictionary of Religious Knowledge calls the Trinity a “very marked” feature in the Hindu religion and “discernible” in the ancient [pre-Christian] religions of Persia, Egypt, Rome, Japan, India, and Greece. According to Professor E. W. Hopkins, a Neoplatonic philosopher named Plotinus (205-270 C.E.) “evolved” a form of trinity similar to the orthodox Buddhist and Brahmanic trinity. Professor Hopkins said of Plotinus: “His theology which was called ‘Platonic,’ had no little influence upon the leaders of Christian opinion.”
Did this philosopher influence Christendom’s leaders more than Jesus himself did? Professor Hopkins answers: “To Jesus and Paul the doctrine of the trinity was apparently unknown; at any rate, they say nothing about it.”—Origin and Evolution of Religion.
Religion and the World
Answers to quiz on page 17.
1. More than once
Twice Jesus Christ declined opportunities to gain political power. Jesus refused to bargain when the Devil offered: “I will give you all this authority [over “all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth”] . . . because it has been delivered to me, and to whomever I wish I give it.”—Luke 4:5, 6.
Jesus also refused a popular movement by religious admirers to sponsor him as king: “When the men saw the signs he performed, they began to say: ‘This is for a certainty the prophet that was to come into the world.’ Therefore Jesus, knowing they were about to come and seize him to make him king, withdrew.”—John 6:14, 15.
2. The Devil
The Bible puts the blame for world distress on God’s enemy Satan the Devil. It says: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Revelation 12:12.
3. Stay neutral regarding worldly politics while looking to God’s Kingdom for the remedy
Jesus commanded neutrality, and pointed to God’s Kingdom, saying: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up [to an unjust death sentence].” (John 18:36) Jesus also told the apostle Peter, when Peter took up a weapon in his defense: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.”—Matthew 26:52.
Demonstrating his faith in God’s Kingdom as the remedy for mankind’s problems, Jesus proclaimed that government as man’s only hope. While on earth, he explained: “Also to other cities I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.”—Luke 4:43.
According to The Encyclopedia Americana, “Jesus’ method was to go to the people, especially to the common folk and even the classes most despised, the ‘tax-collectors and sinners’ . . . His central theme was the Kingdom of God . . . The Kingdom message involved repentance and grateful faith in God; it required taking up a new life of obedience in fellowship with others who were waiting in hope for God to establish His Kingdom, which had begun to come in the work of Jesus. The final establishment of the kingdom . . . by the powerful action of God at the end of the age . . . was eagerly expected.”—Volume 3, page 704 (1977).
4. Men will practice only a form of godly devotion but prove false to its power
The Bible foretold: “Know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be . . . lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power . . . Wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” “They will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled.”—2 Timothy 3:1-13; 4:3, 4.
The Bible also warned: “Many false prophets [apparently the same type of popular leaders referred to above] will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off.”—Matthew 24:11-13.
5. National rulers will totally destroy the religions of the world
The Bible points to this outcome. Throughout the centuries, false religion has been deeply involved in the political affairs of the nations, even though Jesus said regarding his true disciples: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 17:16) Because of hobnobbing with the world, false religion is depicted in the Bible as a prostitute, or harlot, who has not been faithful to God. A Bible prophecy says: “Come, I will show you the judgment upon the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication.”—Revelation 17:1, 2, 18.
This “great harlot” is thus like a woman caught selling sexual favors in return for high-level influence in government. Her punishment fits the crime. God will cause a sudden, foreboding change of heart among her former lovers. The Bible explains that the kings, or political rulers of the world, “will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire. For God put it into their hearts to carry out his thought.”—Revelation 17:12, 16, 17.
The Kingdom of God
Answers to quiz on page 18.
When Jesus said “the kingdom of God is within you,” he was speaking to hostile Pharisees, his enemies, not his friends. (Luke 17:21, King James Version) What, then, did Jesus mean when talking with these Pharisees? Modern Bible translations, such as the Revised Standard Version, render Jesus’ words: “The kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” The Kingdom was in their midst, since Jesus, the one designated to be King of that future Kingdom, was there among those Pharisees.
Thus the Encyclopædia Britannica states: “By ‘kingdom’ He seems to have meant not principally the realm of God, but the reign of God . . . In this sense it is valid to describe Jesus’ view of the kingdom as futuristic . . . Jesus Himself appears in the Gospels as the herald . . . Therefore He could say to His enemies that the kingdom was ‘in the midst of you’ (Luke XVII, 21, not ‘within you’); for He himself was the sign of the kingdom in their midst.”
That God’s Kingdom is a real government is made clear at Isaiah 9:6, which says of the coming Messiah: “The government shall be upon his shoulder.” (American Standard Version) “The princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder.”—New World Translation.
The Kingdom of God could not be represented on earth by the United Nations, for Jesus plainly taught: “My kingdom is no part of this world.”—John 18:36.
God’s Kingdom is nonpolitical; it is brought about by God without human help. As the Encyclopædia Britannica puts it: “It is therefore foreign to Jesus’ teaching when Christians speak of their ‘building the kingdom.’ Clearly, He directed His hearers to that which was to come when He spoke to them about the kingdom.”
The Bible prophecy recorded at Daniel 2:44 clearly shows that God’s Kingdom will destroy the kingdoms, or governments, of the world. It says: “In the days of those kings [modern-day governments] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. . . . It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”
As to the blessings in store for humanity after God destroys these conflicting nations, see the book, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. This publication gives Biblical and historical proof that in 1914, God’s Kingdom began its long-awaited rule in heaven—with the consequence that universal peace will arrive before the generation of that time passes away. (Matthew 24:34) In the words of a prophetic Bible psalm: “Evildoers themselves will be cut off, but those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess the earth. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:9, 11.
Includes 926 million Roman Catholics, 332 million Protestants, and 160 million Eastern Orthodox.
[Picture on page 23]
Can a religion be approved by God when its clergymen bless men of war?
U.S. Army photo
[Picture on page 25]
Under God’s Kingdom, earth will be a paradise