What religion to choose?

You said to yourself: "there must be a God..." Good! But now what? What religion has what perks? Which one is the best? You could want a lot of things out of a religion, but only a few wishes aren't shallow and really matter on the long run. Which religion offers the important things, and what are the dealbreakers?

Arend Nijdam    14 September 2023
  • Religion
  • Which religion is the best
  • Comparison


  1. What could you want out of a religion?
  2. Metrics to judge a religion by
  3. Which religion offers me this?
  4. Buddhism
  5. Hinduism
  6. Atheism
  7. Islam
  8. Christianity (and Judaism)
  9. Summary

What could you want out of a religion?

Become a better person, moral guidelines, find trueth, relationships – friends, family, children, spouse, sex, community, health, happyness, blessings, success, wisdom, knowledge, riches, luck, love, strength, safety, miracles, learn about the creator, eternal life, just to mention some.

We seek these things in religion because if there is a real god, surely he is the one who can provide.

Metrics to judge a religion by

Most of these wishes are nice to have short term, but only some of them have real value on the long run, the literal long run, a.k.a. eternity. Before I spend my time and energy into believing, worshipping, all that, I want to know if this god is up to a few personal standards of mine. And I boiled my list down to a few simple asks, the bare minimum characteristics of a god so to say.

#1: Is this god all-powerful?

And with all-powerful I mean all-powerful. God should better really impress me. Just having a supernatural form of control over an arbitrary variable within creation is super lame.

I’m only alive because fate wants me alive – Thor living inside the scope of creation, without any godly control

A being worthy of the title "god" should at the very least be the creator of creation, and thus also be able to exist outside the scope of said creation. Everything else is not worthy of my attention. Lots of these super power guys are adopted by the MCU or DC universe, and that's exactly where they belong. "God" should be the inventor and creator of the space time continuum and should exist outside of all its properties.

#2: Assurance of eternal life

If this god created the universe, then he has power over life. If he has power over life, then I want to live forever, because I'm quite uncomfortable with death to say the least.

He wants my praises? What are my praises even worth if I'm not an eternal being?

I want a special assurance that all the effort I put in my religious activity is not fleeting, but of everlasting worth. I want peace about this, not live is stress and fear death. Yes, a true god is worty of praise because of who he is, but if I cease to exist after my 120 years of earthly life, then why would I waste my time? Selfish? Yes. But I feel like there are not really any consequences if my existance has a definite end, I might as well spend the few years I have feeling fine and being comfortable.

#3: Guidance and Relationship

A true god would be wiser and more knowledgeable than me. I'd would very much like to ask questions and get real answers about all aspects of my life. Surely a god who created me would offer personal guidance, instead of only a generic purpose from a book. Surely he didn't create me and then let separation be a part of his plan.

With almost eight billion undividual people on earth, surely god had no need for me, unless he had a specific purpose for me. I want to be able to ask this god what my purpose is, and I want to be able to receive answers. I want a way to talk to god, to know him, and he me; guidance and relationship.

Also: a "god"? That should be an interesting persona to say the very least, what's he really like?

#4: Righteous judgement

There are a lot of bad people on this world and it pisses me off. If I am granted eternal life in paradise, I hope the experience won't be ruined by running into mass-murderers. I want Hitler to go to hell, I want child trafficers to go to hell, I want child rapist to go to hell, I want murderers to go to hell. I want my intrinsic human hunger for righteousness to be satisfied. I want god to separate the bad people from the good, and I want god to do so righteously. It would be convenient if the standard by which he judges would be clearly written out so that no one is unfairly surprised. And if it shows that I happen to be on the wrong path than hopefully I can try to better myself.

A god that forgives everyone just like that, because "he is god and he can", is not good enough for me.

Are these four things to much to ask? Are they unfair? Are these not simple things for a real universe-creating god? What answers does your god give?

I doubt the existance of god, but my religous book is full of clever snippets and it's making me a better person... - lots of people

Lame. As if there is a need for becoming "better" without the existance of God. It's denying our natural selfishness, its a lazy spirituality.


Which religion offers me this?

Google found me the following options: Christianity (31.2%), Islam (24.1%), atheism (16%), Hinduism (15.1%), Buddhism (6.9%), Folk religions (5.7%), Sikhism (0.3%), and Judaism (0.2%). Ill answer the four questions according to the top religions, from small to big.


Does Buddhism teaches a supreme creator-god?

Buddhists do not believe in any kind of deity or god, although there are supernatural figures who can help or hinder people on the path towards enlightenment. So there is no all-powerful God.

Does Buddhism provide relationship to this god?

Buddhists say that there is a continuous cycle of life, death and reincarnation. This cycle is known as samsara. The aim of a Buddhistis is to become free from samsara. He can do so by extinguishing the three fires of greed, aversion, and ignorance. When these fires are extinguished, enlightenment is achieved and release from samsara is attained. You extinguish these fires mainly by meditation, clearing you mind, thinking over your life and how you do things. There are lots of people giving this a go, and perhaps they can give you pointers, tips, strategies. But since everyone has a different struggle in life you have to figure out most of it on your own, in your own mind, in meditation.

Does Buddhism provide an assurance of eternal life?

The Dalai Lama is regarded as the 14th reincarnation of a famous Buddha who achieved enlightenment. But how can he be regarded as enlightened if he still reincarnates here on earth? Shouldn't he be in Nirvana? The Dalai Lama was asked if he knew any enlightened people. He replied that he was not aware of anyone sufficiently advanced that he/she could be referred to as enlightened. Getting enlightened needs a lot of very hard work. Practically impossible.

Enlightenment is a process and a discipline. There’s no final state to achieve. Rather, it’s a state to always aspire to in all situations. - Robert Wright, author.

But either the universe gives you your "Enlightenment-Diploma" and lets you into Nirvana, or it doesn't. What are the standards by which we are judged? Who does the judging and what is its authority? Where is my assurance that this life long efford will indeed reward me? What if I'm not good enough? Feeling unsure? Here is your anwer: Meditate harder.

Does Buddhism provide Righteous judgement?

Apparently this earth is hell, because bad people are returned here. I for one can easily imagine a whole lot worse. You are released from this suffering when you've earned to leave the cycle. This form of judgement is pretty mild to me. Hitler can just have another go at it without real actual punishment?

  1. All-powerful god: no
  2. Assurance of eternal life: no
  3. Relationship: no
  4. Righteous judgement: no


Does Hinduism provide a relation to the creator-god?

Although it does seem this way, Hinduism is not polytheistic. Hinduism is both monotheistic and henotheistic. Hindus believe that there is one god, but if you worship another god, thats okay because it is actually the one same supreme god. Appearently they don't have one consistent description of a single personality. God is already inside of you, you just have to discover it, and it basically doens't matter what that looks like. Hinduism also does not deny the existence of other gods. It is all very flexible and there are no serious consequences if you are wrong. Sounds like political correctness to me. Post-modernist would love this.

According to Hindus talking to God needs a certain strategy and motivation. A relationship with God is similar to an earthly friendship, we can't expect help or answers if you didn't build up a real relationship. You have got to put in the work, prayer time, offerings, etc. If you're in trouble your relationship with god ought to be up to date, else... tough luck.

Prayer can only be succesful if you relax and have casted aside all mental burdens, only then is god able to express his love and peace through you.

So technically yes, you can experience god with a Hinduistic point of view. But there are lots of conditions you may or may not be able to tackle, it's hard work. I can imagine people struggle with some of these demands. I myself won't be able to muster up this life-time of discipline.

Does Hinduism provide an assurance of eternal life?

According to Hinduism we can either be reincarnated (reborn) and do life once again, or be liberated from this cycle of rebirth (Similar as in Bhuddism).

This proces is linked to karma, this is your list of good and bad actions done in this and previous states of existence. Negative karma-record: reincarnation, positive-karma-record: liberation from this terrible world. Once liberation has been attained, ones soul goes to the Moksha Loka, which is Lord Vishnu's realm. Vishnu is only one aspect of the supreme god, you will never know or see the supreme god fully.

For positive karma you need good deeds that outweight all your bad deeds, including the bad deeds from your previous lives. Depressed already? I am.

Does Hinduism provide Righteous judgement?

So karma; by what moral law is your karma score calculated? What if I killed someone, can I make amends by feeding ten homeless people? Feeding hundred homeless people? A thousand? Doesn't add up, does it? No, because that is not how judgement works. If I killed a person, and I would stand before a judge, I would still go to jail no matter how many people I helped, no matter how much money I gave away, no matter how many prayers I did. Crime demands punishment.

You know what they say ...

karma is a bitch – they

No one will ever get a positive karma score. You lied, you stole, you adulterated, you fought, you was greedy, you hated, you lusted. Bad deeds demand punishment, and good deeds don't make up for bad deeds. You deserve what you get. No one will ever earn liberation from the life-death cycle, and this would be indeed righteous. Hindus who think their karma score is (almost) positive need to wake up.

  1. All-powerful god: yes
  2. Assurance of eternal life: no
  3. Relationship: no
  4. Righteous judgement: no 


Atheism is an absence of belief in the existence of God or gods. There is no god to know. When you die you cease to exist. It wont be an eternal blackness, that would be something and require consiousness. Maybe you have feelings about death now, but when you cease to exist you won't care, you won't be able to. We might want Righteous judgement, but other than our feelings and culture there is no higher standard. Your best hope is that governments put criminals in jail and that victims are satisfied with that.

  1. All-powerful god: no
  2. Assurance of eternal life: no
  3. Relationship: no
  4. Righteous judgement: no


Islam has Five Pillars that are the core beliefs and practices:

  1. Profession of Faith: "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God"
  2. Prayer: Muslims pray facing Mecca five times a day. Prayer includes a recitation of the opening chapter (sura) of the Qur'an, and is sometimes performed on a small prayer rug.
  3. Alms: Muslims donate a fixed portion of their income to community members in need.
  4. Fasting: During the daylight hours of Ramadan month, all healthy adult Muslims are required to abstain from food and drink. 
  5. Pilgrimage: Every Muslim whose health and finances permit it must make at least one visit to the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.

This list is a whole lot clearer and pragmatic than the indistinct goals and evaluations of Buddhism and Hinduism.

Does Islam teaches a supreme creator-god?

Such is Allah, your Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Creator of all things. So worship Him (alone), and He is the Guardian over all things. - Quran, Surah Al-An'am 102

Does Islam provide relationship to this god?

The Quran is Islams sacred book, believed to be the word of God as dictated to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel and written down in Arabic. By reading the Quran you can learn about Allah, his being, his intentions, what he asks of you, his advice for life, and how he displays love and judgement.

When it comes to a possible two way communication, most Islamists believe in certain chain of communication between Allah and his creation: from Allah, to Angel Jibreel (Gabriel), to Prophet Muhammad, to people. So I, as an average individual, should not hope for anything private or personal directly from Allah.

Does Allah Love me?

Say, O Muhammad, “If you should love Allah, then follow me, so Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Quran 3:31)

… Allah loves the doers of good. (Quran 3:134)

… and Allah loves the steadfast. (Quran 3:146)

Indeed, Allah loves those who rely upon Him. (Quran 3:159)

Allah loves those who act justly. (5:42)

So, love Allah first, then Allah will love you back. Do good, then Allah loves you. Be steadfast, then Allah loves you. Rely upon Allah, then Allah loves you. Act just, then Allah loves you.

Those are a lot of conditions to be loved by Allah. It basically means I'm in a bad spot if I ever want Allah's love. I have a hard time doing only good. I'm not always 100% steadfast. Sometimes I rely upon myself, I'm not always just, sometimes I'm annoyed or angry, and sometimes I act accordingly. I'm not sure if I found all conditions, there might be more. And in case it needs to be spelled out: conditional love is not real love. 

Does Allah forgive me?

I heard the Messenger of Allah say: Allah the Almighty said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it. - Hadith 34

Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. - Quran, Sura 39

For those believers who have wronged themselves, the Quran asks them to become repentant, seek Allah's forgiveness, and make a sincere tawba. It assures them that if they do this, Allah will forgive them, and exonerate them from their misdeeds. Sounds easy enough for the sincere. So yes, with a bit of work Allah forgives.

Is Allah's Judgement just?

You either get forgiven or judged, both should be done just. Allah's forgiving is just forgetting it ever happend, which sounds good initially. But what about sins commited to other people? Don't they deserve to see the crime punished? Are victims just expected to accept that Allah simply eliminated the accusation against the wrongdoer? Just like that?

Just dismissing sin, isn't just. Punishment is just. However, this is Allah's way of handeling sin and forgiveness. There has been a lot of blood shedding on this world, but I guess these crimes and pains have no value whenever Allah says so.

Does Allah provide an assurance of eternal life?

And a man says, when I am dead, shall I then be raised up alive? Does not man, remember, that we created him before, while he was nothing? So by your lord, surely we shall gather them, human beings, together, and also the devil. Then we shall bring them round hell, on their knees. … There is not one of you that will pass over hell. - Quran, Surat 19:66

Human beings and the devil will be gathered. It doesn't say infidels, or non-muslims, it says "human beings".

This is quite an assurance, not a very hopeful one but an assurance nonetheless. Assurances about eternal life in paradise, like a simple promise, something short, concrete, hopeful, are not in the Quran. As with Allah's love for people, there are quite some verses about getting into paradise, but they are all with conditions. List all the conditions and earning paradise is practically impossible.

  1. All-powerful god: yes
  2. Assurance of eternal life: no
  3. Relationship: no
  4. Righteous judgement: no 

Christianity (and Judaism)

Christians believe in the God of Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They learn about God through the Bible. The first part of the Christian Bible, the Old Testament, is the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh). The second part of the Christian Bible, the New Testament, continues the story with Jesus. Christians claim that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah who was prophesied to come in the Hebrew Bible. They claim that Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies (324+) that are related to the Messiah. Judaism does not recognize Jesus as Messiah, or the New Testament.

Does Christianity teaches a supreme creator-god?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. - Bible, Genesis 1:1

Does Christianity provide relationship to this god?

Although Jesus walked the Earth 2000 years ago, the Bible says that Jesus is alive today in Heaven. He was resurrected, ascended to Heaven. From there He send us the Holy spirit so we can have direct communication and relationship with God the Father. (Bible, Mark 16:19)

The Holy Spirit

So Jesus is in Heaven, how does that help in communicating with Him or God? This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. Before Jesus, God promised He would put His Spirit in us:

And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. - Bible, Ezekiel 36:27

And then later, before Jesus went to Heaven, Jesus promised this again. The Holy Spirit of God would come, and dwell in us. With this Spirit we would not be left like orphans, we would not be alone:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever, the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans – Bible, John 14:16

The Spirit of God literally inside me, that sounds like a very direct and personal connection. How can someone recieve this Holy Spirit?

And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.

When you believe in Christ, meaning that when you believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came down to Earth to save us from our sins, then you recieve the Holy Spirit as a gift. Nice! What does this Holy Spirit do when He's inside of me?

  • Before God gives you His Holy Spirit He will give you a new clean heart
  • With the Holy Spirit you are never alone (Not left as an orphan)
  • Having the Holy Spirit inside of you is your personal confirmation that you now belong to God (identified you as His own)
  • The Holy Spirit is your personal connection to God
  • The Holy Spirit will personally teach you
  • The Holy Spirit will work on your character, as you change you will show the "fruits of the Spirit" which are: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.
  • The Holy Spirit comes with gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
  • Additionally there are even more possible gifts: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing spirits, various kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues (Bible, 1 Corinthians 12)
  • ...

Does Jesus loves me?

Strangely, the exact line "Jesus loves you" is not found in the Bible. The Bible however is clear about God's and Jesus' love for us:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - Bible, John 3:16

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Bible, Romans 5:8

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. - Bible, John 15:13

God doesn't just say He loves you, He demonstrates it. And it doesn't matter how bad of a person you are.

Does Jesus forgive me?

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. - Bible, 1 John 1:9

Is Jesus' Judgement just?

Again: you either get forgiven or judged, both should be done just. Does the Hebrew God also simply pretends certain crimes just never happend? And is the pain and loss of victims just waived off? Or does Jesus offer a forgivesness that is fully just?

Sin, just like crime, demands punishment. Everyone knows this. Punishment in the form of imprisonment, monetairy fines, public service, death, whatever the law dictates. Unlike a financial penalty for a traffic fine, the wages of our sin is death (Also known as: not eternal life). The Bible says that God claims to be just, so these wages are going to be collected one way or another.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the One “who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” He gave Himself for our sins; He paid the penalty and provided atonement. - Bible, Galatians 1:4

While you and I both deserve death, Jesus the Son of God took this punishment upon Himself. When Jesus died on a cross our sin debt was paid in full, fully just. This right here is the greatest mirracle ever, and what Christianity is all about.

Does Christianity provide an assurance of eternal life?

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - Bible, John 3:16

As a blogger, there is just so much content in this one verse...

Does Christianity provide Righteous judgement?

At this point it has become your choice, do you want to be with God in Heaven? Then accept Jesus' substitutionary sacrifice. Are you to proud to recieve help? Do you dislike God? Maybe your opinions don't align with what the Bible says. Then deny Chist. But know this, unlike all other religions who have many conditions, Christianity only has one: Accepting Jesus as your savior. Jesus is and always will be, the only way to God and into Heaven.

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me – Bible, John 14:6

Whatever you'll choose, wherever you'll end up, it'll be just.

  1. All-powerful god: yes
  2. Assurance of eternal life: yes
  3. Relationship: yes
  4. Righteous judgement: yes


  Buddhism Hinduism Atheism Islam Christianity
All-powerful god no yes no yes yes
Assurance of eternal life no no no no yes
Relationship no no no no yes
Righteous judgement no no no no yes