How Did Universal Religions Change the World
Universal religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Islam, and others mostly rose between 500 BCE and 600 CE. Over this 1000 year period, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of East Asia transformed from polytheistic worshiping to believing in a single god or universal philosophy. We often think of Christianity and Islam perhaps as the dominant universal religions today, but universal philosophies had begun before these religions and through the vehicle of empires universal religions spread.
Relevance of Universal Religions and Empires
Scholars and others do suspect that Judaism may have been one of the first universal religions, where only one God was seen as existing and the religion had direct impact to all rather than a select people. However, when Judaism became universal is not clear, as evidence for its earlier worship suggest many believers likely worshiped other gods as well. During the rise of large-scale empires in Eurasia, we begin to see universal philosophies spreading such as the Greek philosophy of universal world-order (kosmos).