Throughout the ages, we have seen various cults and beliefs become popular. Conversely, we have learned that many of these either fade away or become merged with other faiths – resulting in a hybrid religion. For instance, we have learned that ancient religions like Mithraism, Manichaeism, and even Tengriism have all but disappeared, whereas some of the world’s oldest faiths still linger today. Let us examine 4 ancient world religions that you have never heard about.
This ancient religion originated among Indo-Iranians. It is believed to date as far back as the second millennium BCE. Its present version has derived from the beliefs and teachings of a prophet known as Zoroaster, who historians believe had lived sometime between the 10th and 6th centuries BCE – although there is some disagreement about the date. This faith was very influential during the molding of the Abrahamic tradition at the time; it became the official religion of several Persian empires up until the Muslim conquests during the seventh century CE, and has survived in many parts of India, Iraq, and Iran presently. It is a faith that is being practiced by 200,000 people today.
Oddly enough, three (3) certain Kurdish religious faiths have merged together under the name of Yazdânism. This actually has evolved from a mixture of Hurrian and Islam to the Zoroastrian faith. They have reconciled the presence of Abrahamic prophets through a reincarnation doctrine, along with believing that seven angels defend our world from evil.
At one time, Jainism was the most dominant faith on the subcontinent of India. This was prior to the rise of Hinduism during the 7th century CE. Jainism actually has very obscure origins. Those who are followers believe in what is called the tirthankaras, who are omniscient preachers of the path of Jain. The defining characteristics of this religion feature self-discipline and asceticism. Archeological evidence tracks the existence of Jainism all the way back to the second century BCE. Supposedly, Jainism has around six to seven million followers worldwide.
Shintoism is a direct link to an animistic religion of the Yayoi people. Their culture began spreading from the north of Kyushu to the entirety of Japan during the third century BCE. Today, this religion has become a somewhat unified blend of the ancient mythology of Japan, a strong influence of Buddhism, and is now followed by an overwhelming majority of Japan’s population.
Featured below is a video about popular ancient religions that have disappeared over the ages: