Religion is a significant part of this world, with millions of people believing in various religions. Religious personalities appear to persist over the centuries, hence why millions worldwide still worship them centuries or even millennia after they’ve passed. What a few people would find it fascinating to understand, though, is that not everybody who was instrumental in creating the faith we know today didn’t even know they had such responsibility on their shoulders.
We have compiled a list of some of the most prominent religious figures in history who are still loved and respected by billions. Here they are in no particular order.
Christianity is the world’s most popular faith, with over a billion adherents globally. During the time of Jesus, he had just a few people following him; he left no specific literature and was given the death penalty by the Roman authorities for insurrection. He is now revered not merely as a prophet of God and ethical leader but also as the genuine, bodily embodiment of God on Earth, a position he purportedly showed by his resurrection from the grave three days following his crucifixion. He is also said to have risen to the heavens, hence why tens of millions of believers worldwide are waiting for his prophesied resurrection and thousand years of peace.
The Bible is the Christian holy book, explaining everything about Jesus’ life and how his followers may live successful lives. Head over to Holyart.com if you want to get your hands on a genuine Jerusalem Bible.
The period between the eighteenth and sixth centuries B.C.E. belongs to Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra. He is the primary religious doctrine of the Achaemenid Empire, also known as the Persian Empire. Zoroaster’s birthplace is unknown, but numerous Arabic sources claim he was born in Azerbaijan. Many nations have claimed Zoroaster’s birthplace as he may have been more than one person.
Two texts comprise the sacred works of Zoroastrianism: the Gathas, containing some 5,660 words, and the Yasna Haptanghaiti. These are collections of hymns supposedly written by Zoroaster, and both hold references to the prophet’s life. But there appears to be no historical record of Zoroaster the man, only collections of legends.
The God of Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda, who manifests himself through the fire, was worshipped by Zoroaster. Despite eventually defeating Angra Mainyu, the evil one, Ahura Mazda was regarded as omniscient but not all-powerful.
Zoroastrianism influenced numerous other ancient civilizations. Heraclitus was influenced by Zoroaster’s teachings in the tradition of Classic Greek philosophy. He was known as the sorcerer-astrologer to many Greeks. For the Romans, Zoroaster was credited with creating magic by Pliny the Elder. In addition, Nimrod, a Babylonian who created astrology, is linked to Zoroaster in Christian-Judeo literature.
Muhammad (PBUH) ISLAM
Muhammad is the person who laid the foundation of Islam, one of the major faiths that exist today and which was launched by a man who asserted to receive ongoing messages from God. Muhammad would narrate his divine teachings to his believers and later record those revelations in the Qur’an for his followers. Quran is the holiest book in the Islamic religion.
At the age of 40, Muhammad was born in the Arabian city of Mecca in 570 CE and became God’s messenger. To spread this revelation, he later also became well-known as a military leader in the Arabian city of Medina. The most important city in Arabia at the time, Mecca, was eventually under Muhammad’s control thanks to a series of skillful military operations and wise political alliances.
Muhammad was prominent in Arab society throughout the religious, cultural, and diplomatic spectrums. He was a prophet who was sent to proclaim and reaffirm the monotheism doctrines that earlier prophets such as Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus had previously preached. He established a unified Muslim doctrine over all of Arabia.
Pope Francis, also known by his birth name Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is the first pope born in the Americas. He is the head of the Catholic Church and the ruler of the Vatican. Pope Francis, who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1936, runs his papacy in an informal manner and appears to be a little more liberal than previous popes.
Though he maintains a traditionalist view of Catholicism that appears to be conservative when it comes to issues like marriage, abortion, homosexuality, contraception, and clerical celibacy. Regardless, he is said to be against neo-nationalism, consumerism, and overdevelopment. He introduced the concept of poverty to Christianity in opposition to the pride, luxury, and vanity of the prevailing civil and religious powers at the time.
The Buddha was born roughly 500 years before Confucius. There are conflicting accounts of the Buddha’s birth date and numerous unanswered questions about his life. Was he a god or a man? Could he turn the karma wheel off? Was he a virginal child? Could he live indefinitely? These queries don’t appear to have an answer.
Most academics concur that Siddhartha Gautama, whose name means “the enlightened one,” was a man who ultimately evolved into the Buddha. A man by the name of Siddhartha Gautama lived a life of luxury and sensual pleasures after being born in Nepal in a royal Hindu family. Then, around the age of 30, Siddhartha learned about the poverty and disease in the world and made the decision to become a mendicant in order to alleviate such suffering.
Siddhartha Gautama was a monarch who lived in extravagant splendor for the initial 29 years of his royal life before sacrificing it all away and starting a search for knowledge. He recognized that surviving in severe deprivation for many years was fruitless as a way of attaining “consciousness.” He understood the secret to awaken was the removal of all desire; one day, when he was sitting underneath a Bodhi tree, he realized that giving up his desires enabled him to reach enlightenment. His beliefs quickly attracted a multitude of followers, laying the groundwork for one of the world’s major eastern religious organizations, Buddhism, which has almost 400 million believers.
Following that, Siddhartha began a life of meditation and asceticism, but he eventually discovered that denying oneself and mortifying one’s flesh would not result in awakening. Thus, he practiced meditation for 49 days under the Bodhi Tree before attaining the intensified sense of consciousness known as “nirvana.” He then created the Four Noble Truths, which represent the various tenets of Buddhism. The Buddha spent the next 45 years of his life lecturing about Buddhism in northeastern India before passing away at the age of 80.
Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that originated in the Indian subcontinent and is one of the largest organized religions in the world, was founded by Guru Nanak, also known as Baba Nanak (father Nanak), who was born in 1469 and lived for 70 years. The ten Sikh Gurus are known, with Guru Nanak being the first. The Guru Granth Sahib, a collection of 974 poetic hymns composed by Guru Nanak and other succeeding Sikh Gurus, is considered to be the holy book of Sikhism.
In accordance with Sikh tradition, Guru Nanak’s teachers were astounded by how blessed he appeared to be from the beginning. At the age of seven, he was inclined to explain the meaning of the aleph, the first letter of the alphabet, which stands for unity with God and represents the number one.
Guru Nanak traveled extensively through the Hindu and Muslim pilgrimage sites in what is now India and Pakistan in the early sixteenth century. He may also have traveled to Middle Eastern cities like Mecca, Jerusalem, and Baghdad. From these western locations, many legends and historical accounts have been derived. Guru Nanak spent his final years in Kartarpur, a town in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Although Guru Nanak’s teachings place a strong emphasis on meditation and faith in relation to the one creator, they make no claim that any particular religion is the source of Absolute Truth. In addition, Guru Nanak emphasized the unity of all people, helping those in need, achieving social justice, pursuing honesty, and always acting morally upright. It’s interesting to note that legend claims Guru Nanak’s body vanished after his passing.
The contemporary Jewish faith just wouldn’t flourish without Moses’ direction and authority. Being a Hebrew man, he resolved to support his own community in their desire for independence. While Moses was purportedly responsible for writing the Torah, he also provided the Jewish the morality and ethics foundations that would form the next millennia of Jewish philosophy when he departed at the old age of 120.
Despite the fact that the history of Judaism is abundant with notable leaders and prophets, from Kings Solomon and David Kings to the prophets Ezekiel and Elijah. Being raised in the Pharaoh’s household and even being thought of as a political giant as a young man, Moses reportedly abandoned all of that and, Hebrew himself, chose to support his own people in an effort to acquire their own nation.
This required him to embark on a roughly forty-year odyssey, during which he led—according to some estimates—as many as 500,000 men, women, and children on a horrifying journey to not only thrive in the harsh conditions of the desert but also bring the Jews back to the land of Canaan. While Moses died at the age of 120, no less before he could set foot in the glorious future, it was he who provided the Jews with the moral and ethical foundations that would comprise the next millennia of Jewish thought.
The fact that his ten commandments were actually many more than ten, but who’s counting remains the cornerstone of western religious belief even now serves as an illustration of how significant he was and, to some extent, still is to western philosophy and religion.
Confucius, a Chinese philosopher who has been frequently quoted throughout history, is thought to be the author of the renowned Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Confucius, who was born in or around 551 BCE, placed a strong emphasis on morality in all spheres of life. Confucius supported ancestor worship, one of the oldest religions in the world, and also believed that tribal loyalty was very important. Though he didn’t stop at punishing lawbreakers, Confucius had an extensive political career during which he highlighted the superiority of diplomacy over warfare. He created a remarkable body of teachings along the way that many people have followed for many years. Confucianism was built on the principles of these ideas.
Confucianism is more often regarded as a way of life than as a religion. Confucianism, for instance, gives an example of heaven or an afterlife but avoids talking about spiritual issues like the presence of souls. Confucianism appears to be as famous as ever today and may still be relevant in a thousand years, at least in China.
When we talk about ancient religious leaders, it may be hard to tell the difference between actual truth and allegory. This is particularly true with Krishna, who looks to be a combination of human and otherworldly beings capable of incredible feats. He is frequently portrayed as a prince playing the flute, a young child dancing, or in many other forms, such as a military figure.
He is said to be the earthly embodiment of a god who propagates the concept of godliness and dramatizes the many hardships of humanity, especially those that are mentioned in revered Hindu texts like the Bhagavata Purana.
Additionally, he is occasionally portrayed as a cow protector and is regarded as the Govinda in this setting. According to legend, the current era started when Krishna passed away or vanished from the planet. He is said to have fought several demons as a youngster and purified the Yamuna River’s poisonous sacred waters. He is by far the most famous and near to the people’s hearts, hence why he is still revered after 5000 years.