Religion has been something that has pitted nations and empires against each other since the dawn of time, with religious practices found in the ruins of ancient civilizations dating back 10,000 years ago. The religions that defined prehistoric times and the early rise of man are mostly defunct, as different sets of beliefs often times collapsed with the early communities that held them. In short, we aren’t entirely sure what the oldest religion is, but the ones that have dominated our history and everyday lives have been around for quite some time.
As far active religions go, it is popular belief that Hinduism is one of oldest. Vedas scriptures that were originally written in 1700 BC are still used commonly, with many scholars believing that the religion itself could stretch farther back than that. Of course, the benchmark set as afar as age is concerned revolves mostly around the presence of written texts and historical accounts. The Vedas scriptures are some of the oldest of such writings collected, and archaeological digs have shown it may have influenced kingdoms across the Middle East.
Judaism is believed to have arose around the same time period, but the first writings related to that particular religion have only been dated to 500 BC. Christianity and Islam both followed suit afterwards. The fact that Hinduism has survived for this long whilst also spreading across a range of countries and inspiring homologous beliefs from the same set of core values. Arguably, the reason why Hinduism has succeeded where other religions have failed is due to its different approach that doesn’t require specific viewpoints or actions, but relies on our own intellect and human decency.
Where other religions pushed for their followers to listen and blindly believe their leaders or prophets and set of rules, Hinduism and its related religions actively encouraged their flock to think and learn more about the natural world around them. They put value on everything that surrounded them including the environment, their fellow community members and any interaction between them. The concept arose that doing good things as a way of worship or as a way to better understand the universe grew and took hold of many. Compared to the blind faith sought by other religions where specific thing need be undertaken to be deemed faithful, these are two very different ways of practicing, and might help explain the downward trend of religious followers worldwide.