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Universalizing religion

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In morphological classification of religions, a universalizing religion refers to a religion claiming to know abstract principles and maxims of the interaction of entities in the universe exclusively. They usually but not necessarily engage in the activity of proselytism.[1][2] They can be directly contrasted to ethnic religions in terms of their characteristics. In religious studies, ethnic religions are often distinguished from religions which claim to not be limited in ethnic or national scope.[3] Such religions must be "portable" between cultures.[4] They are tied to the life of the founder whereas Ethnic religions are tied to the physical environment. Those who believe in eternal universe claim that their religion is eternal and it is regenerated from time to time and the latest founder is just the last regenerator in the chain of regenerators.[citation needed] Their calendar is generally based on an important event in founder's life. They celebrate important events in the life of the founder; such as birth, death, date of sermon, date of enlightenment etc. They believe that Supreme Being reveals the laws of interactions between various entities of Universe, either directly or indirectly on the Earth. Some also believe that the same Supreme Being creates the Universe for humans to use. They also believe in existence of "special persons" who compile the laws of Universe as revealed by the Supreme Being. Universalizing Religions are usually, but not necessarily widespread.

Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam are the four oldest surviving Universalizing religions. Sikhism and Bahai are the more recent additions to Universalizing religions.[5][6][7]


  1. "Another name for a universalizing religion is a proselytic faith" Kaplan AP Human Geography 2016 p. 259
  2. Anthony D. King, Colonial urban development, Routledge & Paul, 1976 p. 49
  3. Hinnells, John R. (2005). The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion. Routledge. pp. 439–440. ISBN 0-415-33311-3. Retrieved 2009-09-17. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. Religious Conversion: Religion Scholars Thinking Together, Shanta Premawardhana, John Wiley & Sons, 2015, page 35.
  5. "Religion Universalizing vs. Ethnic Religions — Global Distribution of Faith" (PDF). AP Human Geography. 2017–2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  6. "Jainism". Truth Magazine. Retrieved 23 January 2018.[unreliable source?]
  7. Urick, Steve (2011). Major Cults and False World Religions. AuthorHouse. p. 294. ISBN 9781452071572. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png

"Classification of religions". Britannica. 2017–2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018.

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