Religion in MesopotamiaIn Mesopotamia, the cradle of Western Civilization, religion was based on the belief that the gods were generally cruel, capricious, and easily offended. This was the foundation for religious beliefs in Western Civilization.
Religion in EgyptIn Egypt, the next major region for development in
Western Civilization, religious beliefs differed from that of Mesopotamia. The Egyptians believed the gods were generally benevolent compared to the cruel gods of Mesopotamia, and the people of Egypt believed their kings to be gods as well.
The HebrewsThe Hebrews were one of the first monotheistic religions, in which they believed that their God (Yahweh) had promised them land and prosperity in return for exclusive worship. The Hebrew religion of Judaism was the religious root of Christianity and Islam.
IslamIslam was another monotheistic religion similar to that of the Hebrews. The Islamic God (Allah) is synonymous to the Hebrew God (Yahweh), but some major differences that set Islam apart from Judaism are that Islam accepts Jesus and Moses as prophets like Muhammad was and that Muslims are required to be more submissive.
ZoroastrianismZoroastrianism was the dominant Persian religion which included a primary god, Ahura Mazda, who was aided by other, lesser gods. Ahura Mazda was not "all-powerful" like the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim God and was said to be in a constant battle with an evil counterpart. Every time someone did something cruel, dishonest, or dishonorable, the evil counterpart would push back against Ahura Mazda therefore humans played a major role in the victory of Ahura Mazda through their actions.
Religion in GreeceThe Greeks worshipped many gods which they believed were human-like and would intervene in the Greeks’ daily lives.
Religion in RomeRome had always been a hotbed of religious diversity. While the official Roman gods (which mimicked those of the Greek gods) were venerated across the Empire, Roman elites had no objections to the worship of other deities, and indeed many Romans eagerly embraced foreign faiths.
ChristianityChristianity began in Ancient Rome and shared the same God as Judaism. The major difference between Judaism and Christianity is that Christianity believes Jesus Christ was the Messiah and that the death of Jesus was part of a divine plan that canceled out human sin.
The Catholic (Latin) ChurchThe Catholic Church, in which the popes also ruled as kings, was what united Western Europe after the fall of the western Roman Empire. Nearly all Europeans eventually came to share membership in the Catholic Church that practiced the Christian faith.
The Protestant ReformationFollowing the Renaissance Era, all was not well with the Catholic Church, and there was much corruption. Individuals such as Martin Luther and Jean Calvin would challenge the Catholic Church as a result and found their own Christian denominations marking the split of Christian unity.