All posts tagged: Histomap

180,000 Years of Religion Charted on a “Histomap” in 1943

180,000 Years of Religion Charted on a “Histomap” in 1943

For many, even most of us mod­erns, the cen­tral reli­gious choice is a sim­ple one: adhere to the belief sys­tem in which you grew up, or stop adher­ing to it. But if you sur­vey the vari­ety of reli­gions in the world, the sit­u­a­tion no longer seems quite so bina­ry; if you then add the vari­ety of reli­gions that have exist­ed through­out human his­to­ry, it starts look­ing down­right kalei­do­scop­ic. Or rather, it looks some­thing like the faint­ly psy­che­del­ic but also infor­ma­tion-rich His­tom­ap of Reli­gion above, cre­at­ed in 1943 by chemist John B. Sparks, whom we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture for his orig­i­nal His­tom­ap depict­ing 4,000 Years of World His­to­ry and his sub­se­quent His­tom­ap of Evo­lu­tion. The Use­fulCharts video below explains Sparks’ His­tom­ap of Reli­gion in detail, but it also cites his His­tom­ap of Evo­lu­tion, an exam­ple of how his world­view fails to align with cur­rent per­cep­tions of these sub­jects. Even the new­er His­tom­ap of Reli­gion is by now more than 80 years old, dur­ing which time schol­ar­ship in reli­gion and relat­ed fields has made …