They die out naturally, Usually they are replaced or wiped out by other religions. Often by force. Christianity wiped out several all in one go when Rome took the religion over from the Christians,
From what I have learned it seems that the average religion lasts 2 to 4 thousand years. Then they run their course and fade. But at some point they turn violent as they try to take over the minds of everyone. That can also be the beginning of their end. The Jews apparently wiped out several tribes who believed in Baal and other gods, in an attempt to purify the world. They did that on their way to the promised land which if historically correct would be about 1000 BCE and almost as soon as their religion was forming.
The Christians started to get violent in the late 300s AD, and remained violent for almost 1400 years.
The Muslims have been around for 1400 years, and only now are they getting violent and trying to take over..But then, it is their kick at the can. I hope they are like the Jews rather than the Christians and make it a short bout of terror.
With the advent of modern science Christianity is beginning to fade in the western world with more and more atheists taking their place. But they started to lose power when the reformation happened. Speaking of which, the Protestants have nothing to feel smug about, having killed thousands of Catholics in the European religious wars.
But even though religions fade from their once status of popularity, most live on in obscurity, few in number but still there. Zoroastrianism is still around and is getting close to 5000 years old now.
Here's hoping they all fade away eventually, to be replaced by reason and logic.
Religions end for a number of reasons, but spirituality will persist so long as the children of God exist on Earth.
I learned recently of something called "second death" and instantly knew what it was.
You see, each of us is a spiritual being wrapped in Homo sapiens flesh. Being outside of the body and moving about with the ability to see clearly without human eyes is quite a trip. So long as such things are possible, religions will persist -- not individually, but as a social force.
The first death was in the Garden -- a non-physical place of spirit. This is when we took the "forbidden fruit" of selfishness -- separateness from God. This is the first death -- separateness from our true selves, falling into the false self of ego.
(And Slarty, what you said before about trying to get rid of ego has stayed with me, nagging at me. And now I know. Yes, you will lose yourself if you attempt to get rid of ego without accepting your spirituality. That's akin to second death.)
When the rescue mission packs it in and leaves (see Genesis 6:3), those who don't choose to return will be abandoned and let slide into second death -- the second separation. I guessing it's a separation from the false, ego self, into oblivion. The being might end up like the main character in the animated film, "Waking Life" -- a perpetual lucid dream that goes nowhere. But as with any dream, even lucid ones, they can turn into nightmares, like a lake of fire or something worse.
So, individual religions will cease because of wars, attrition, cultural absorption or a number of other mortal methods. But religion as a force will persist so long as spirit persists. Once second death occurs, spirit will be two layers of unconsciousness down and incapable of climbing out of that well.
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