I feel like I am not the only one to whom it was a surprise that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are derivatives of the same book. There are overlapping characters and storylines and the basic tenets are pretty much the same. What is different is who the agreed prophets are (if any) and nuances in tradition etc. And in the same vein, I am often quite confused by what the different denominations of Christianity are and how do they differ from one another, think Lutheran vs Catholics. One can obviously look it up, but who has the time to read up the differences between various groups that are not directly impacting their life at the moment but may be important to understand the context of a situation a little removed (like why ISIS kills some Muslims but not the others).
One of the ways we can alleviate some of this confusion and actually bring the religions closer and improve empathy between them is a proper nomenclature. I propose we introduce some version control in religious names (that can exist in parallel with common names).
I propose a naming convention that is something like software names, so M_Abraham 1.0.1 etc.
The factors that would be important is
- whether it is polytheistic or monotheistic (P_ or M_)
- the source and character overlaps, and that would determine the basic name (e.g. Abraham vs Hinduism)
- the main version number should then depend on
- timeline around which the religion was founded (so Judaism is 1, Christianity is 2, Islam is 3 etc.)
- and it should be incremented only given a certain share of population and ideological separation from another offshoot (so Catholics and Protestants should still fall under 2 even though they have enough numbers to be different religions, but Islam disagrees on the main prophet so it should be 3)
- the sub-version numbers should depend on the same factors as the main version, but add a level of granularity to the original
- Catholics could now be M_Abraham 2.1, while Protestants can be M_Abraham 2.2 and so on (I may have missed some other important branches)
Now I understand for a lot of religions this system may be a little complicated to fill, but I would leave that to people who understand religions much better than me, the theologians or whoever studies this kind of stuff.
I think this system will help bridge some really acerbic divisions that are now established between the religions and help with the understanding of each one of them. For a person coming from Hinduism, it would not be very challenging now to understand at a basic level what the difference between Sunni and Shia is if we refer to them as M_Abraham 3.1 and M_Abraham 3.2. And similarly it would help the people within those religions identify the ideological proximity that they have to each other.