Most people, I’ll wager, have a pretty hazy relationship to spiritual beliefs. For example, there are Christians who don’t go to church, Jews who don’t believe in God, and agnostics who don’t really believe in God but also say they’re spiritual. If you know exactly what you believe in, then consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us, this handy infographic, created by Cameron Blair of The Fellowship for Evangelism in the Arts, lays out an astonishingly wide array of religious thought into one deceptively simple flowchart.
Blair and FEVA obviously come from a particular point of view–the goal of this chart, after all, is to convert people to Christianity. And that creates a very obvious problem in that it seems to assume that Christianity is the only way to find God. (The other world religions would beg to differ, of course.) But the chart is interesting nonetheless:
As you can see, each main strand of religion of philosophy turns on a viewpoint that’s in direct relationship to questions that preceded it–and many create other questions, which in turn spawn new belief systems. For example, does God play a part in the world? Does God even exist? And if he doesn’t, where does meaning come from? There’s about 4,000 years of intense debate summed up here.
But one exception I would take with the chart is that our beliefs are never so simple that questions yield a mere “yes” or “no.” For example, you might not know if God exists, but you also might doubt that he does. Thus, it’s possible to believe in very different strands of thought shown here, all at the same time. It’s that vacillation between “yes” and “no” answers that keeps the debate about belief boisterous after countless millenniums.