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Best Founding Figure of All Time

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    1
    Laozi

    Laozi

    • Religion Founded: Taoism
    Laozi (Chinese: 老子; pinyin: Lǎozi; Wade–Giles: Lao Tzu; also romanized as Lao Tse, Lao Tu, Lao-Tsu, Laotze, Laosi, Laocius, and other variations; fl. 6th century BCE) was a philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching (often simply referred to as Laozi). His association with the Tào Té Chīng has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of philosophical Taoism (pronounced as "Daoism"). He is also revered as a deity in most religious forms of Taoist philosophy, which often refers to Laozi as Taishang Laojun, or "One of the Three Pure Ones". According to Chinese traditions, Laozi lived in the 6th century BCE. Some historians contend that he actually lived in the 5th–4th century BCE, concurrent with the Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States Period, while some others argue that Laozi is a synthesis of multiple historical figures or that he is a mythical figure. A central figure in Chinese culture, both nobility and common people claim Laozi in their lineage. He was honored as an ancestor of the Tang imperial family, and was granted the title Táishāng xuānyuán huángdì, meaning "Supreme Mysterious and Primordial Emperor". Throughout history,
    8.17
    6 votes
    2
    Brigham Young

    Brigham Young

    Brigham Young ( /ˈbrɪɡəm/; June 1, 1801 – August 29, 1877) was an American leader in the Latter Day Saint movement and a settler of the Western United States. He was the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1847 until his death in 1877, he founded Salt Lake City, and he served as the first governor of the Utah Territory, United States. Young also led the foundings of the precursors to the University of Utah and Brigham Young University. Young had a variety of nicknames, among the most popular being "American Moses," (alternatively the "Modern Moses" or the "Mormon Moses") because, like the biblical figure, Young led his followers, the Mormon pioneers, in an exodus through a desert, to what they saw as a promised land. Young was dubbed by his followers the "Lion of the Lord" for his bold personality, and was also commonly called "Brother Brigham" by Latter-day Saints. Young was a polygamist and was involved in controversies regarding black people and the Priesthood, the Utah War, and the Mountain Meadows massacre. Young was born to John and Abigail "Nabby" Young (née Howe), a farming family in Whitingham, Vermont, and worked as a travelling
    6.86
    7 votes
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    6 votes
    4
    Aleister Crowley

    Aleister Crowley

    • Religion Founded: Thelema
    Aleister Crowley (/ˈkroʊli/ KROH-lee; 12 October 1875–1 December 1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, and also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast 666, was an English occultist, mystic, ceremonial magician, poet and mountaineer, who was responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. In his role as the founder of the Thelemite philosophy, he came to see himself as the prophet who was entrusted with informing humanity that it was entering the new Aeon of Horus in the early 20th century. Born into a wealthy upper-class family, as a young man he became an influential member of the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn after befriending the order's leader, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. Subsequently he claimed that he was contacted by his Holy Guardian Angel, an entity he named Aiwass, while staying in Egypt in 1904, and that he "received" a text known as The Book of the Law from what he claimed was a divine source, and around which he would come to develop his new philosophy of Thelema. However - later on in life he wrote in Equinox of the Gods that "I now incline to believe that Aiwass is [...] a man as I am", and analysis of the text of the Book
    9.00
    4 votes
    5
    Guru Har Gobind

    Guru Har Gobind

    • Religion Founded: Sikhism
    Guru Hargobind Sahib, (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਾਹਿਬ [ɡʊru həɾɡobɪnd sɑhɪb]) also Saccha Padshah (ਸੱਚਾ ਪਾਦਸ਼ਾਹ "True Emperor") (born 5 July 1595–died 19 March 1644 ). According to another tradition, he was born on 5th of July 1595. He was the sixth of the Sikh gurus and became Guru on 25 May 1606 following in the footsteps of his father Guru Arjan Dev. He was not, perhaps, more than eleven at his father's execution. Before ascension, he nominated Guru Har Rai, his grandson as the next Guru of the Sikhs. From the very beginning, he was the deadly enemy of the Mughal Empire. He put on two swords: one indicated his spiritual authority and the other, his temporal authority. He built the Akal Takht, the Throne of the Almighty. Guru Hargobind ji excelled in matters of state, and his Darbar (court) was noted for its splendour. The arming and training of some of his devoted followers began, the Guru came to possess seven hundred horses, and his Risaldari (army) grew to three hundred horsemen and sixty gunners in the due course of time. Additionally, five hundred men from the Majha area of the Punjab were recruited as infantry. Guru Hargobind built a fortress at Amritsar called Lohgarh
    6.80
    5 votes
    6
    Guru Ram Das

    Guru Ram Das

    • Religion Founded: Sikhism
    Guru Ram Das (Punjabi: ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਰਾਮ ਦਾਸ ਜੀ [ɡʊru ɾɑm dɑs]; 1534–1581) was the fourth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and was given the title of Sikh Guru on 30 August 1574. Ram Das was born in Chuna Mandi Lahore, Punjab on 24 September 1534[1] to a Sodhi family of the Khatri clan. His father was Hari Das and his mother Anup Devi(Daya Kaur). His wife was Bibi Bhani, the younger daughter of Guru Amar Das. They had three sons: Prithi Chand, Mahadev and [[Guru Arjan Dev|Guru Arjun Dev Ji. His father-in-law, Guru Amar Das, was third of the Ten Gurus. Ram Das became guru on 1 September and was guru for 22 years. As a Guru, one of his main contributions to Sikhism was organizing the structure of Sikh society. Additionally, he was the author of Laava, the four hymns of the Sikh Marriage Rites. He was planner and creator of the township of Ramdaspur which became the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. He founded it in 1574 on land he bought for 700 rupees from the owners of the village of Tung. Earlier Guru Ram Das had begun building Santokhsar Sarovar, near the village of Sultanwind in 1564 (according to one source in 1570). It could not be completed before 1588. In 1574, Guru Ram Das built his
    7.75
    4 votes
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    8
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    9
    7.75
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    10
    Gautama Buddha

    Gautama Buddha

    • Religion Founded: Buddhism
    Gautama Buddha or Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम बुद्ध; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent , on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. The word Buddha is a title for the first awakened being in an era. In most Buddhist traditions, Siddhartha Gautama is regarded as the Supreme Buddha (P. sammāsambuddha, S. samyaksaṃbuddha) of our age, "Buddha" meaning "awakened one" or "the enlightened one." Gautama Buddha may also be referred to as Śākyamuni (Sanskrit: शाक्यमुनि "Sage of the Śākyas"). Gautama taught a Middle Way compared to the severe asceticism found in the Sramana (renunciation) movement common in his region. He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kośala. The time of Gautama's birth and death are uncertain: most early-20th-century historians dated his lifetime as circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE, but more recent opinion dates his death to between 486 and 483 BCE or, according to some, between 411 and 400 BCE. Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by
    9.33
    3 votes
    11
    Kerry Thornley

    Kerry Thornley

    • Religion Founded: Discordianism
    Kerry Wendell Thornley (April 17, 1938–November 28, 1998) is known as the co-founder (along with childhood friend Greg Hill) of Discordianism, in which context he is usually known as Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst or simply Lord Omar. He and Hill authored the religion's seminal text Principia Discordia, Or, How I Found Goddess, And What I Did To Her When I Found Her. Thornley was also known for his 1962 manuscript, The Idle Warriors, which was based on the activities of his acquaintance, Lee Harvey Oswald, prior to the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy. Thornley was highly active in the countercultural publishing scene, writing for a number of underground magazines and newspapers, and self-publishing many one-page (or broadsheet) newsletters of his own. One such newsletter called Zenarchy was published in the 1960s under the pen name Ho Chi Zen. "Zenarchy" is described in the introduction of the collected volume as "the social order which springs from meditation", and "A noncombative, nonparticipatory, no-politics approach to anarchy intended to get the serious student thinking." Raised Mormon, in adulthood Kerry shifted his ideological focus frequently, in rivalry with any serious
    9.33
    3 votes
    12
    Martin Bucer

    Martin Bucer

    • Religion Founded: Calvinism
    Martin Bucer (early German: Martin Butzer) (11 November 1491 – 28 February 1551) was a Protestant reformer based in Strasbourg who influenced Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anglican doctrines and practices. Bucer was originally a member of the Dominican Order, but after meeting and being influenced by Martin Luther in 1518 he arranged for his monastic vows to be annulled. He then began to work for the Reformation, with the support of Franz von Sickingen. Bucer's efforts to reform the church in Wissembourg resulted in his excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church, and he was forced to flee to Strasbourg. There he joined a team of reformers which included Matthew Zell, Wolfgang Capito, and Caspar Hedio. He acted as a mediator between the two leading reformers, Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli, who differed on the doctrine of the eucharist. Later, Bucer sought agreement on common articles of faith such as the Tetrapolitan Confession and the Wittenberg Concord, working closely with Philipp Melanchthon on the latter. Bucer believed that the Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire could be convinced to join the Reformation. Through a series of conferences organised by Charles V, he tried to
    9.33
    3 votes
    13
    Xuanzang

    Xuanzang

    • Religion Founded: Dharma character school
    Xuanzang (Chinese: 玄奘; pinyin: Xuánzàng; Wade–Giles: Hsüan-tsang Sanskrit: ह्वेनसांग) (c. 596 or 602 – 664), born Chen Hui (simplified Chinese: 陈袆; traditional Chinese: 陳褘; pinyin: Chén Huī) or Chen Yi (simplified Chinese: 陈祎; traditional Chinese: 禕; pinyin: Chén Yī), was a Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang Dynasty. Born in Henan province of China in 596 (or, 602 or 603), from boyhood he took to reading religious books, including the Chinese classics and the writings of ancient sages. While residing in the city of Luoyang, Xuanzang entered Buddhist monkhood at the age of thirteen. Due to the political and social unrest caused by the fall of the Sui Dynasty, he went to Chengdu in Sichuan (Szechuan), where he was ordained at the age of twenty. He later traveled throughout China in search of sacred books of Buddhism. At length, he came to Chang'an, then under the peaceful rule of Emperor Taizong of Tang. Here Xuanzang developed the desire to visit India. He knew about Faxian's visit to India and, like him, was concerned about the incomplete and misinterpreted nature of the Buddhist
    7.50
    4 votes
    14
    Thomas Cranmer

    Thomas Cranmer

    • Religion Founded: Protestantism
    Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build a favourable case for Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon which resulted in the separation of the English Church from union with the Holy See. Along with Thomas Cromwell, he supported the principle of Royal Supremacy, in which the king was considered sovereign over the Church within his realm. During Cranmer's tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury, he was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the reformed Church of England. Under Henry's rule, Cranmer did not make many radical changes in the Church, due to power struggles between religious conservatives and reformers. However, he succeeded in publishing the first officially authorised vernacular service, the Exhortation and Litany. When Edward came to the throne, Cranmer was able to promote major reforms. He wrote and compiled the first two editions of the Book of Common Prayer, a complete liturgy for the English Church. With the assistance of several Continental reformers to whom he gave
    6.20
    5 votes
    15
    Gustav I of Sweden

    Gustav I of Sweden

    • Religion Founded: Church of Sweden
    Gustav I of Sweden, born Gustav Eriksson of the Vasa noble family and later known as Gustav Vasa (12 May 1496 – 29 September 1560), was King of Sweden from 1523 until his death, previously self-recognised Protector of the Realm (Rikshövitsman) from 1521, during the ongoing Swedish War of Liberation against King Christian II of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Initially of low standing, Gustav rose to lead the rebel movement following the bloodbath in which his father was executed, and his election as King on June 6, 1523 (currently recognised as the National holiday of Sweden) and his triumphant entry into Stockholm eleven days later meant the end of Medieval Sweden's elective monarchy as well as the Kalmar Union, which had united the Nordic kingdoms since 1397, and the commencing of a hereditary monarchy under the House of Vasa which, currently under the House of Bernadotte, continues to date. An enigmatic person who has been hailed as a liberator against the Danes and denounced as a tyrannical ruler, brutally suppressing three uprisings in Dalarna - which had once been the first region to support his claim to the throne - one in Västra Götaland, and one in Småland, Gustav worked to
    7.25
    4 votes
    16
    Mary Baker Eddy

    Mary Baker Eddy

    • Religion Founded: Christian Science
    Mary Baker Eddy (July 16, 1821 – December 3, 1910) was the founder of Christian Science (1879), a Protestant American system of religious thought and practice adopted by the Church of Christ, Scientist, and others. She is the author of the movement's textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and founded the Christian Science Publishing Society (1898), which continues to publish a number of periodicals including The Christian Science Monitor (1908). Married three times, she took the name Mary Baker Glover from her first marriage. She was also known from her third marriage as Mary Baker Glover Eddy or Mary Baker G. Eddy. Mary Morse Baker was born in Bow, New Hampshire, the youngest of six children of Abigail and Mark Baker. Although raised a Congregationalist, she came to reject teachings such as predestination and original sin. She suffered chronic illness and developed a strong interest in biblical accounts of early Christian healing. At the age of eight, Mary began to hear voices calling her name; she would go to her mother, only to learn that her mother had not called her. In her autobiography, she relates one of these later experiences: According to Yvonne Cache
    8.67
    3 votes
    17
    Joseph Bates

    Joseph Bates

    • Religion Founded: Seventh-day Adventist Church
    Joseph Bates (July 8, 1792 – March 19, 1872) was an American seaman and revivalist minister. He was the founder and developer of Sabbatarian Adventism, a strain of religious thinking that evolved into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Bates is also credited with convincing James White and Ellen G. White of the validity of the seventh-day Sabbath. Joseph Bates was born in Rochester, Massachusetts on July 8, 1792. (He did not have a middle name.) His father, also named Joseph, was a volunteer in the Revolutionary War and his mother was the daughter of Barnabas Rye of Sandwich, Massachusetts. In 1793, Bates' family moved to the part of New Bedford, Massachusetts that would become the township of Fairhaven in 1812. In June 1807, Bates sailed as cabin boy on the new ship commanded by Elias Terry, called the Fanny to London via New York City. This was the commencement of Bates sailing career. In 1810 Bates was forced into servitude for the British navy and spent time as a prisoner during the War of 1812. After his release he continued his career eventually becoming captain of a ship. During one of his voyages he read a copy of the Bible that his wife packed for him. He experienced
    7.00
    4 votes
    18
    Saint Peter

    Saint Peter

    • Religion Founded: Christianity
    Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader and one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. Peter is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles and is venerated as a saint. The son of John or of Jonah or Jona (King James Bible (KJB), Douay–Rheims Bible (D-R)), he was from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee or Gaulanitis. His brother Andrew was also an apostle. Peter is venerated in multiple churches and is regarded as the first pope by the Catholic Church. After working to establish the church of Antioch, and presiding for seven years as the leader of the city's Christian community, he preached, or his epistle was preached, to scattered communities of believers: Jews, Hebrew Christians and the gentiles, in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor and Bithynia. He then went to Rome, where in the second year of Claudius, it is claimed, he overthrew Simon Magus and held the Sacerdotal Chair for 25 years. He is said to have been put to death at the hand of Emperor Nero. Peter wrote two general epistles. The Gospel of Mark is also ascribed to him (as Mark was his disciple and interpreter). Several other books bearing his name—the
    7.00
    4 votes
    19

    Tsangpa Gyare

    • Religion Founded: Drukpa
    The great ascetic Drogon Tsangpa Gyare (1161–1211) was the main disciple of Lingchen Repa Pema Dorj and the founder of the Drukpa Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism the main or central branch of which was, until the 17th Century, transmitted by his hereditary family lineage at Ralung in the Tsang region of western Tibet. Later, following the birth of Gyalwang Je Kunga Paljor (1428–1476) considered to be the first of his re-incarnations, Tsangpa Gyare was held to be the first of a succession of Gyalwang Drukpa or Drukchen incarnations who, at the time of the fifth Gyalwang Drukpa Pagsam Wangpo (1593—1653), became established as the reincarnate leaders of the Drukpa lineage in Tibet. Later hagiographies of Tsangpa Gyare record several verses which are said to foretell his coming. In a terma, discovered by Guru Chokyi Wangchuk (1212–1270), it is said Guru Padmasambhava foretold the coming of Tsangpa Gyare: In another terma, said to have been revealed by Terton Ratna Lingpa (1403-1478/79) and Terton Padma Lingpa (1445–1521) on different occasions, Padmasambhava is recorded as predicting: When the famous disciple of Milarepa, Rechungpa received the teaching of Naropa’s Six Points of Equal
    7.00
    4 votes
    20
    Margaret Fell

    Margaret Fell

    • Religion Founded: Religious Society of Friends
    Margaret Fell or Margaret Fox (1614 – 23 April 1702) was a founder of the Religious Society of Friends. Known popularly as the "mother of Quakerism", she is considered one of the Valiant Sixty early Quaker preachers and missionaries. She was born Margaret Askew in Dalton-in-Furness, a small town in the north of England. (Dalton was then in Lancashire and is now in Cumbria). She married Thomas Fell, a barrister, in 1632, and became the lady of Swarthmore Hall. In 1641, Thomas became a Justice of the Peace for Lancashire, then in 1645 he became a member of Parliament. Thomas Fell ceased to be a member from 1647 to 1649 when he disapproved of Oliver Cromwell's assumption of authority. In late June 1652, George Fox visited Swarthmoor Hall. Margaret was away when he arrived, but upon her return in the evening, Margaret Fell met him who 'opened us a book that we had never read in, nor indeed had never heard that it was our duty to read in it (to wit) the Light of Christ in our consciences, our minds never being turned towards it before.' A day or two later it was lecture day at the parish church, and Margaret invited George Fox to attend with them. Initially he declined, but then came in
    5.80
    5 votes
    21
    Paul of Tarsus

    Paul of Tarsus

    • Religion Founded: Christianity
    Paul the Apostle (c. AD 5 – c. AD 67; variously referred to as "the Apostle Paul" or "Saint Paul"), also known as Saul of Tarsus, is perhaps the most influential early Christian missionary. The writings ascribed to him by the church (the Pauline epistles) form a considerable portion of the New Testament. The influence on Christian thinking of the epistles ascribed to him has been significant, due in part to his association as a prominent apostle of Christianity during the spreading of the Gospel through early Christian communities across the Roman Empire. According to the writings in the New Testament, Paul was known as Saul prior to his conversion, and was dedicated to the persecution of the early disciples of Jesus in the area of Jerusalem. In the narrative of the book of Acts, while traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus on a mission to "bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem", the resurrected Jesus appeared to him in a great light. He was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored by Ananias of Damascus, and Paul began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God. Along with Simon Peter and James the Just he was
    5.80
    5 votes
    22
    Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man

    Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man

    • Religion Founded: Hanafi
    Nuʿmān ibn Thābit ibn Zūṭā ibn Marzubān (Persian:نعمان بن ثابت بن زوطا بن مرزبان), better known as Imām Abū Ḥanīfah, (699 — 767 CE / 80 — 148 AH) was the founder of the Sunni Hanafi school of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). Abū Ḥanīfah is regarded by some as one of the Tabi‘un, the generation after the Sahaba, who were the companions of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. This is based on reports that he saw the Sahabi Anas ibn Malik, with some even reporting that he transmitted Hadith from him and other companions of Muhammad. Others take the view that Abū Ḥanīfah only saw around half a dozen companions, possibly at a young age, and did not directly narrate hadith from them. Nevertheless, it is widely acknowledged that he learnt hadith from tabi'een including Ibrahim al Nakha'i. Imām Abū Ḥanīfah was born in the city of Kufa in Iraq, during the reign of the powerful Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan. Acclaimed as Al-Imām al-A'zam, or Al-A'dham (the Great Imam), Nu’man bin Thabit bin Zuta bin Mah was better known by his Kunya Abū Ḥanīfah. None of his sons or daughters is reported as having the name "Hanifah," so it was a type of Kuniya like Abu Hurairah or Abu Turaab etc., i.e., an
    8.33
    3 votes
    23
    Abraham Joshua Heschel

    Abraham Joshua Heschel

    • Religion Founded: Jewish Renewal
    Abraham Joshua Heschel (January 11, 1907 – December 23, 1972) was a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. Abraham Joshua Heschel was descended from preeminent European rabbis on both sides of the family. His great-great-grandfather and namesake was Rebbe Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt. His father, Moshe Mordechai Heschel, died of influenza in 1916. His mother Reizel Perlow was also a descendant of Avraham Yehoshua Heshel and other Hasidic dynasties. He was the youngest of six children. His siblings were Sarah, Dvora Miriam, Esther Sima, Gittel, and Jacob. After a traditional yeshiva education and studying for Orthodox rabbinical ordination semicha, he pursued his doctorate at the University of Berlin and a liberal rabbinic ordination at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums. There he studied under some of the finest Jewish educators of the time: Chanoch Albeck, Ismar Elbogen, Julius Guttmann, and Leo Baeck. Heschel later taught Talmud there. He joined a Yiddish poetry group, Jung Vilna, and in 1933, published a volume of Yiddish poems, Der Shem Hamefoyrosh: Mentsch, dedicated to his father. In
    10.00
    2 votes
    24
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    2 votes
    25
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    2 votes
    26
    Saint Alberic

    Saint Alberic

    • Religion Founded: Cistercians
    Saint Albéric of Cîteaux (died January 26, 1108), sometimes known as Aubrey of Cîteaux, was a Christian saint and abbot, one of the founders of the Cistercian Order. Albéric was a hermit in the forest of Collan in France who, along with five other hermits, invited Saint Robert of Molesme to begin a new monastery with them that would operate under the Rule of St. Benedict. Robert led these hermits to the forest of Molesme and established a religious settlement there in 1075, Molesme Abbey. Robert served as the first abbot, and Albéric as the prior. However, as the settlement's fame grew, gifts came in and the wealth attracted new monks more lax in their observance of the rule. The Molesmes community was divided, and the monks opposed Robert and Albéric. Robert twice left the monastery to live as a hermit, and twice the pope ordered him back to his community. During one of Robert's absences, the brothers imprisoned Albéric so that they might have their way. The stricter group left Molesme for Cîteaux. Initially, Robert was abbot of Cîteaux with Albéric serving as prior. However, the monks of Molesme petitioned Robert to return to them and vowed obedience to the Rule of St. Benedict.
    10.00
    2 votes
    27
    Anton LaVey

    Anton LaVey

    • Religion Founded: Satanism
    Anton Szandor LaVey (April 11, 1930 – October 29, 1997), born Howard Stanton Levey, was the founder of the Church of Satan as well as a writer, occultist, and musician. He was the author of The Satanic Bible and the founder of LaVeyan Satanism, a synthesized system of his understanding of human nature and the insights of philosophers who advocated materialism and individualism, for which he claimed no supernatural or theistic inspiration. LaVey was born as Howard Stanton Levey in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Michael Joseph Levey (1903-1992), from Chicago, Illinois married Lavey's mother, Gertrude Augusta Coultron who was born to a Russian father and Ukrainian mother who had immigrated to Ohio in 1893; both became naturalized American citizens in 1900. According to his biography, however, his ancestry includes Georgian, French, Russian, Ukrainian, Alsatian, German, and Romanian. LaVey's family moved to California, where he spent his early life in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Globe, Arizona. His parents supported his musical interests, as he tried a number of instruments; his favorites were keyboards such as the pipe organ and the calliope. He did covers of instrumentals like
    6.75
    4 votes
    28
    Charles Wesley

    Charles Wesley

    • Religion Founded: United Methodist Church
    Charles Wesley (18 December 1707 – 29 March 1788) was an English leader of the Methodist movement, son of Anglican clergyman and poet Samuel Wesley, the younger brother of Anglican clergyman John Wesley and Anglican clergyman Samuel Wesley (the Younger), and father of musician Samuel Wesley, and grandfather of musician Samuel Sebastian Wesley. Despite their closeness, Charles and his brother John did not always agree on questions relating to their beliefs. In particular, Charles was strongly opposed to the idea of a breach with the Church of England into which they had been ordained. Charles Wesley is chiefly remembered for the many hymns he wrote. He ministered for part of his life in The New Room Chapel in Bristol. His house, located nearby, can still be visited today. Charles Wesley was the son of Susanna Wesley and Samuel Wesley. He was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England, where his father was rector. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, and formed the "Oxford Methodist" group among his fellow students in 1727 which his elder brother, John joined in 1729 soon becoming its leader and moulding it to his own notions. George Whitefield also joined
    6.75
    4 votes
    29

    Daniel Kriegman

    • Religion Founded: Yoism
    Daniel Kriegman is an American psychoanalyst and writer. He is a founder of the Psychoanalytic Couple and Family Institute of New England, and a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis. He was formerly Chief Psychologist and the Director of Supervision and Training at the Massachusetts Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Offenders, as well as the Clinical Director for the maximum-security, intensive-treatment unit for adolescents in Boston. Kriegman is co-author, with Malcolm Slavin, of The Adaptive Design of the Human Psyche: Psychoanalysis, Evolutionary Biology, and the Therapeutic Process, a book that created the psychoanalytic paradigm known as evolutionary psychoanalysis, and co-editor, with J. G. Teicholz, of Trauma, Repetition, & Affect Regulation: The Work of Paul Russell. He has published over 30 scholarly articles and book chapters on topics related to the evolutionary understanding of human behavior and the theory and practice of psychoanalytic approaches to psychotherapy. He has a full-time private practice providing psychoanalytic treatment to individuals, couples, and families in Newton, Massachusetts, as well as specialized work in
    6.75
    4 votes
    30
    Confucius

    Confucius

    • Religion Founded: Confucianism
    Confucius (551–479 BCE) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. His followers competed successfully with many other schools during the Hundred Schools of Thought era only to be suppressed in favor of the Legalists during the Qin Dynasty. Following the victory of Han over Chu after the collapse of Qin, Confucius's thoughts received official sanction and were further developed into a system known as Confucianism. Confucius is traditionally credited with having authored or edited many of the Chinese classic texts including all of the Five Classics, but modern scholars are cautious of attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself. Aphorisms concerning his teachings were compiled in the Analects, but only many years after his death. Confucius's principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and in traditional interpretations) of husbands by their wives. He also
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    G. I. Gurdjieff

    G. I. Gurdjieff

    • Religion Founded: The Fourth Way
    George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (Armenian: Գեորգի Իվանովիչ Գյուրջիև, Georgian: გიორგი გურჯიევი, Greek: Γεώργιος Γεωργιάδης, Russian: Гео́ргий Ива́нович Гюрджи́ев, January 13, 1866 – October 29, 1949) was an influential spiritual teacher of the early to mid-20th century who taught that the vast majority of humanity lives their entire lives in a state of hypnotic "waking sleep," but that it was possible to transcend to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential. Gurdjieff developed a method for doing so, calling his discipline "The Work" (connoting "work on oneself") or "the Method." According to his principles and instructions,. Gurdjieff's method for awakening one's consciousness is different from that of the fakir, monk or yogi, so his discipline is also called (originally) the "Fourth Way." At one point he described his teaching as being "esoteric Christianity." At different times in his life, Gurdjieff formed and closed various schools around the world to teach the work. He claimed that the teachings he brought to the West from his own experiences and early travels expressed the truth found in ancient religions and wisdom teachings relating to self-awareness in
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    Joseph Smith, Jr.

    Joseph Smith, Jr.

    • Religion Founded: Mormonism
    Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, the predominant branch of which is Mormonism. At age twenty-four, Smith published the Book of Mormon, and in the next fourteen years he attracted thousands of followers, established cities and temples, and created a lasting religious culture. Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont, and by 1817 had moved with his family to the burned-over district of western New York, an area repeatedly swept by religious revivals during the Second Great Awakening. The Smiths believed in visions and prophecies, and participated in folk religious practices typical of the era. According to Smith, beginning in the early 1820s he had visions, in one of which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of ancient American civilizations. In 1830, he published what he said was an English translation of these plates as the Book of Mormon and organized the Church of Christ as a restoration of the early Christian church. Church members were later called Latter Day Saints, Saints, or Mormons. In 1831, Smith and his followers
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    George Fox

    George Fox

    • Religion Founded: Religious Society of Friends
    George Fox (July 1624 – 13 January 1691) was an English Dissenter and a founder of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers or Friends. The son of a Leicestershire weaver, Fox lived in a time of great social upheaval and war. He rebelled against the religious and political authorities by proposing an unusual and uncompromising approach to the Christian faith. He travelled throughout Britain as a dissenting preacher, for which he was often persecuted by the authorities who disapproved of his beliefs. Fox married Margaret Fell, the widow of one of his wealthier supporters; she was a leading Friend. His ministry expanded and he undertook tours of North America and the Low Countries, between which he was imprisoned for over a year. He spent the final decade of his life working in London to organize the expanding Quaker movement. Though his movement attracted disdain from some, others such as William Penn and Oliver Cromwell viewed Fox with respect. His journal, first published after his death, is known even among non-Quakers for its vivid account of his personal journey. George Fox was born in the strongly puritan village of Drayton-in-the-Clay, Leicestershire,
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    Heinrich Bullinger

    Heinrich Bullinger

    • Religion Founded: Calvinism
    Heinrich Bullinger (18 July 1504 – 17 September 1575) was a Swiss reformer, the successor of Huldrych Zwingli as head of the Zurich church and pastor at Grossmünster. A much less controversial figure than John Calvin or Martin Luther, his importance has long been underestimated; recent research shows that he was one of the most influential theologians of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The son of Heinrich Bullinger, dean of the capitular church, by Anna Wiederkehr, he was born at Bremgarten, Aargau. The bishop of Constance, who had clerical oversight over Aargau, had unofficially sanctioned clerical concubinage, having waived all penalties against the offense in exchange for an annual fee. As such, Heinrich and Anna were able to live as virtual husband and wife, and young Heinrich was the fifth son born to the couple. At 12 years of age, Bullinger was sent to the distant but celebrated gymnasium of Emmerich in the Duchy of Cleves. In 1519, at the age of 15, his parents, intending him to follow his father into the clergy, sent him to the University of Cologne, just as the Luther affair was on everyone's tongue. Bullinger felt that he needed to decide the issues for
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    Malaclypse the Younger

    • Religion Founded: Discordianism
    Gregory Hill (21 May 1941 – 20 July 2000), better known by the pen name Malaclypse the Younger, was one of the two writers of the Principia Discordia, along with Kerry Wendell Thornley (aka Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst). He was also adapted as a character in The Illuminatus! Trilogy. During the early years of circulation of the Principia Discordia, rumors claimed that the author of the book was Richard Nixon, Timothy Leary, or Robert Anton Wilson; or that the book and Malaclypse the Younger were both fictional inventions of Robert Anton Wilson, as with Abdul Alhazred's Necronomicon. Robert Anton Wilson stated, in the lecture "The I in the Triangle" from 1990, that Greg Hill was at the time the head of a large computer facility owned by one of the largest banks in the United States. Greg Hill described Mal-2 as a spirit sent into him by Eris that helped him write the Principia Discordia over the course of ten years in his early adulthood. An interview included in the fourth edition of the Principia Discordia by Loompanics Press reveals that Mal-2 left once the book was finished. He claims Mal-2 returned to leave a fifth and final edition consisting solely of a Western Union
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    Düsum Khyenpa

    Düsum Khyenpa

    • Religion Founded: Karma Kagyu
    Düsum Khyenpa (Tibetan: དུས་གསུམ་མཁྱེན་པ་, Wylie: dus gsum mkhyen pa) (1110–1193) was the 1st Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu (ka rma bka’ brgyud) school of Tibetan Buddhism. Düsum Khyenpa literally means "Knower of the Three times" (or past, present and future). It was given to him to refer to knowledge of the three forms of time he gained at enlightenment including the "timeless time" of enlightened awareness. He was born to a devout family of Buddhist practitioners in Teshö in eastern Tibet and was called Gephel as a child. He first studied with his father and then continued training with other Buddhist teachers in the region. He was a gifted child who studied and practiced Dharma intently from an early age. Already quite learned by the age of twenty, he became a monk and studied the sutras and tantra intensively for a further ten years. At thirty, he went to Daklha Gampo -- Gampopa's monastery—to receive teachings from him. Although this was a historic meeting of two great Buddhist bodhisattvas emanating on Earth with a profound purpose, Gampopa nevertheless first made Dusum Khyenpa train formally in the foundation practices of the Kadampa tradition and, following that,
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    37
    Guru Har Krishan

    Guru Har Krishan

    • Religion Founded: Sikhism
    Guru Har Krishan Sahib Ji (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਕ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਨ [ɡʊru həɾ kɾɪʃən]; 23 July 1656 – 30 March 1664) is the eighth of the eleven Sikh Gurus. He became Guru Ji on 7 October 1661, succeeding His Father, Guru Har Rai. After His death from smallpox, His Granduncle, Guru Tegh Bahadur, became the next Guru Ji of the Sikhs. Guru Har Krishan Sahib Ji was born in Kiratpur Sahib, Rupnagar, Punjab, India to Guru Har Rai and Kishan Kaur (Mata Sulakhni Ji). Before His death in October 1661, Guru Har Rai designated his younger son Har Krishan as the next Guru. Guru Har Rai chose Har Krishan, rather than his elder son Ram Rai, because Ram Rai was in collusion with the Mughal Empire. Har Krishan was only five years old when he succeeded his father as Guru. When Guru Har Rai was asked who among his two sons Ram Rai and Har Krishan would be the next guru. Guru Ji asked the person to go with a needle and insert the needle in the leg of the bed where these two sat and recited baani. The person did the same and he was surprised to see that the needle went inside the bed when Guru Har Krishan Sahib was doing meditation but not when Raam Rai was doing it. The person obviously perplexed went to Guru Har
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    Huldrych Zwingli

    Huldrych Zwingli

    • Religion Founded: Calvinism
    Huldrych (or Ulrich/Ulricht) Zwingli (1 January 1484 – 11 October 1531) was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism. He continued his studies while he served as a pastor in Glarus and later in Einsiedeln, where he was influenced by the writings of Erasmus. In 1518, Zwingli became the pastor of the Grossmünster in Zurich where he began to preach ideas on reforming the Catholic Church. In his first public controversy in 1522, he attacked the custom of fasting during Lent. In his publications, he noted corruption in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, promoted clerical marriage, and attacked the use of images in places of worship. In 1525, Zwingli introduced a new communion liturgy to replace the mass. Zwingli also clashed with the Anabaptists, which resulted in their persecution. The Reformation spread to other parts of the Swiss Confederation, but several cantons resisted, preferring to remain Catholic. Zwingli formed an alliance of Reformed cantons which divided the Confederation along
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    39
    Milarepa

    Milarepa

    • Religion Founded: Kagyu
    Jetsun Milarepa (Tibetan: རྗེ་བཙུན་མི་ལ་རས་པ, Wylie: Rje-btsun Mi-la-ras-pa), (c. 1052—c. 1135 CE) is generally considered one of Tibet's most famous yogis and poets. He was a student of Marpa Lotsawa, and a major figure in the history of the Kagyu (Bka'-brgyud) school of Tibetan Buddhism. Born in the village of Kya Ngatsa – also known as Tsa – in Gungthang province of western Tibet to a prosperous family he was named Mila Thöpaga (Thos-pa-dga'), which means "A joy to hear." His family name, Josay indicates noble descent, a sept of the Khyungpo or eagle clan. When his father died, Milarepa's uncle and aunt took all of the family's wealth. At his mother's request, Milarepa left home and studied sorcery. While his aunt and uncle were having a party to celebrate the impending marriage of their son, he took his revenge by summoning a giant hail storm to demolish their house, killing 35 people, although the uncle and aunt are supposed to have survived. The villagers were angry and set off to look for Milarepa, but his mother got word (Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa: A Biography from the Tibetan) to him, and he sent a hailstorm to destroy their crops. Many of Milarepa's deeds took place in
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    40
    Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

    Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

    • Religion Founded: Jewish Renewal
    Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi and commonly called "Reb Zalman" (pr: rǎb) (born 28 August 1924 in Zhovkva, Poland [now Ukraine]) is considered one of the major founders of the Jewish Renewal movement. Born in Poland in 1924 and raised in Vienna, he was interned in detention camps under the Vichy French and fled the Nazi advance by coming to the United States in 1941. He was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi in 1947 within the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic community while under the leadership of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, and served Chabad congregations in Massachusetts and Connecticut. He subsequently earned an M.A. in psychology of religion at Boston University, and a doctorate from the Reform-run Hebrew Union College. He was initially sent out to speak on college campuses by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, but left after experimenting with "the sacramental value of lysergic acid." With subsequent rise of the hippie movement in the 1960s, he moved away from the Chabad lifestyle. While pursuing a course of study at Boston University (including a class taught by Howard Thurman), he experienced an intellectual and spiritual shift. In 1968, on sabbatical from the Near
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    41

    Basilides

    • Religion Founded: Gnosticism
    Basilides (Greek: Βασιλείδης) was an early Gnostic religious teacher in Alexandria, Egypt who taught from 117–138 AD, and was a pupil of either Menander, or an alleged interpreter of St. Peter named Glaucias. The Acts of the Disputation with Manes state that for a time he taught among the Persians. He is believed to have written over two dozen books of commentary on the Christian Gospel (now all lost) entitled Exegetica, making him one of the earliest Gospel commentators. Only fragments of his works are preserved that supplement the knowledge furnished by his opponents. The followers of Basilides, the Basilidians, formed a movement that persisted for at least two centuries after him – St. Epiphanius of Salamis, at the end of the 4th century, recognized a persistent Basilidian Gnosis in Egypt. It is probable, however, that the school melded into the main stream of Gnosticism by the latter half of the 2nd century. The descriptions of the Basilidian system given by our chief informants, St. Irenaeus (Adversus Haereses) and St. Hippolytus (Philosophumena), are so strongly divergent that they seem to many quite irreconcilable. According to Hippolytus, Basilides was apparently a
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    Bodhidharma

    Bodhidharma

    • Religion Founded: Zen
    Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century CE. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Ch'an (Sanskrit: Dhyāna, Japanese: Zen) to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolinquan. Little contemporary biographical information on Bodhidharma is extant, and subsequent accounts became layered with legend. There are three principal sources for Bodhidharma's biography: Yáng Xuànzhī's (Yang Hsüan-chih) The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (547), Tánlín's preface to the Two Entrances and Four Acts (6th century CE), which is also preserved in Ching-chüeh's Chronicle of the Lankavatar Masters (713-716), and Dàoxuān's (Tao-hsuan) Further Biographies of Eminent Monks (7th century CE). These sources, given in various translations, vary on their account of Bodhidharma being either: Some traditions specifically describe Bodhidharma to be the third son of a Tamil Pallava king from Kanchipuram. The accounts also differ on the date of his arrival, with one early account claiming that he arrived during the Liú Sòng Dynasty
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    44
    Oliver Cowdery

    Oliver Cowdery

    • Religion Founded: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    Oliver H. P. Cowdery (October 3, 1806 – March 3, 1850) was, with Joseph Smith, Jr., an important participant in the formative period of the Latter Day Saint movement between 1829 and 1836. He became one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon's golden plates, one of the first Latter Day Saint apostles, and the Second Elder of the church. Cowdery was born October 3, 1806 in Wells, Vermont. His father, William, was a farmer who moved the family to Poultney, Vermont when Oliver was three. William Cowdery may have been a follower of the sectarian leader Nathaniel Wood of Middletown, Vermont, whose small religious sect, the "New Israelites," practiced divining for buried treasure and for revelatory purposes. The Cowdery family attended the Congregational Church of Poultney, Vermont, where Ethan Smith was pastor for several years. At the time, Ethan Smith was writing View of the Hebrews (1823), one of many books written during the period speculating that Native Americans were of Hebrew origin. In 2000 David Persuitte argued that Cowdery's knowledge of View of the Hebrews significantly contributed to the final version of the Book of Mormon, a connection first suggested as early as
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    45
    Albert Benjamin Simpson

    Albert Benjamin Simpson

    • Religion Founded: Christian and Missionary Alliance
    Albert Benjamin "A.B." Simpson (December 15, 1843 – October 29, 1919) was a Canadian preacher, theologian, author, and founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), an evangelical Protestant denomination with an emphasis on global evangelism. Simpson was born in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada as the third son and fourth child of James Simpson, Jr. and Janet Clark. Author Harold H. Simpson has gathered an extensive genealogy of Cavendish families in Cavendish: Its History, Its People. His research establishes the Clark family (A.B. Simpson's mother’s side) as one of the founding families of Cavendish in 1790, along with the Simpson family, and he traces common ancestors between Albert B. Simpson and Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. The young Albert was raised in a strict Calvinistic Scottish Presbyterian and Puritan tradition. His conversion of faith began under the ministry of Henry Grattan Guinness, a visiting evangelist from Ireland during the revival of 1859. Simpson spent some time in the Chatham, Ontario area, and received his theological training in Toronto at Knox College, University of Toronto. After graduating in 1865, Simpson
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    46
    Guru Amar Das

    Guru Amar Das

    • Religion Founded: Sikhism
    Guru Amar Das (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਅਮਰ ਦਾਸ [ɡʊru əməɾ dɑs]; 5 May 1479 – 1 September 1574) was the third of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and was given the title of Sikh Guru on 26 March 1552. Guru Amar Das was the eldest son of Sri Tej Bhan Bhalla, a farmer and trader, and Mata Lachmi .The Guru's father was a shopkeeper in the village of Basarke near Amritsar. GuruJi married Mata Mansa Devi and had 4 children – 2 sons (Mohan & Mohri ) and 2 daughters (Bibi Bhani & Bibi Dani ). Bibi Bhani later married Bhai Jetha who became the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das. (See article Platforms of Jetha.) Guru Amar Das became Sikh Guru at the age of 72 following in the footsteps of his teacher Sri Guru Angad Dev Sahib, who left the world on 29 March 1552 at age 48. Guru Amar Das established his headquarters in the town of Goindwal Sahib, which was established by Sri Guru Angad Dev. Guru Amar Das took up cudgels of spirituality to fight against caste restrictions, caste prejudices and the curse of untouchability. He strengthened the tradition of the free kitchen, Guru Ka Langar (started by Guru Nanak), and made his disciples, whether rich or poor, whether high born or low born (according to the Hindu
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    Guru Gobind Singh

    Guru Gobind Singh

    • Religion Founded: Sikhism
    Guru Gobind Singh Ji  pronunciation (help·info) (born Gobind Rai) (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ) (Marathi: गुरु गोबिंद सिंघ); 31 December 1666 - 21 October 1708) was the Tenth of the Eleven Sikh Gurus. Born in Patna, Bihar in India, he was also a Warrior, Poet and Philosopher. He succeeded his Father Guru Tegh Bahadur as the Leader of Sikhs at the young age of nine. He contributed much to Sikhism; notable was his contribution to the continual formalisation of the faith which the First Sikh Guru Ji Guru Nanak Dev Ji had founded, as a religion, in the 15th century. Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the living Sikh Gurus, initiated the Sikh Khalsa in 1699, passing the Guruship of the Sikhs to the Eleventh and Eternal Guru of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born to Guru Tegh Bahadur, the Ninth Sikh Guru, and Mata Gujri Ji in Patna. He was born while his father was on a tour of the neighbouring state of Assam, spreading God's word.There is a famous saying that a ruler was destined to be born in a land where, intelligent and strong he would lead the Sikhs as a brave warrior and so it was that he was born by the side of the Holy Ganges (present day Patna Sahib) where
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    48
    John Calvin

    John Calvin

    • Religion Founded: Calvinism
    John Calvin (French: Jean Calvin, born Jehan Cauvin: 10 July 1509 – 27 May 1564) was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530. After religious tensions provoked a violent uprising against Protestants in France, Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland, where he published the first edition of his seminal work The Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536. In that year, Calvin was recruited by William Farel to help reform the church in Geneva. The city council resisted the implementation of Calvin's and Farel's ideas, and both men were expelled. At the invitation of Martin Bucer, Calvin proceeded to Strasbourg, where he became the minister of a church of French refugees. He continued to support the reform movement in Geneva, and was eventually invited back to lead its church. Following his return, Calvin introduced new forms of church government and liturgy, despite the opposition of several powerful families in the city who tried to curb his authority.
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    John Glas

    John Glas

    • Religion Founded: Glasite
    John Glas (October 5, 1695 – November 2, 1773) was a Scottish clergyman who started the Glasite church movement. He was born at Auchtermuchty, Fife, where his father was parish minister. He was educated at Kinclaven and Perth Grammar School, graduated from the University of St Andrews in 1713, and completed his education for the ministry at Edinburgh. He was licensed as a preacher by the presbytery of Dunkeld, and soon afterwards ordained by that of Dundee as minister of the parish of Tealing (1719), where his preaching soon drew a large congregation. Early in his ministry he was brought to a halt while lecturing on the Shorter Catechism by the question "How doth Christ execute the office of a king?" This led to an examination of the New Testament foundation of the Christian Church, and in 1725, in a letter to Francis Archibald, minister of Guthrie, Forfarshire, he repudiated the obligation of national covenants. In the same year he formed a society separate from the multitude, numbering nearly a hundred, and drawn from his own and neighbouring parishes. The members of this ecclesiola in ecclesia pledged themselves to join together in the Christian profession, to follow Christ the
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    50

    Archibald Dunkley

    • Religion Founded: Rastafari movement
    Henry Archibald Dunkley was, along with Leonard Howell, Joseph Hibbert, and Robert Hinds, one of the first preachers of the Rastafari movement in Jamaica following the coronation of Ras Tafari as Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia on 2 November 1930. Dunkley had spent much time away from Jamaica, as a seaman employed by the United Fruit Company, and he returned to Port Antonio, Jamaica on December 8, 1930, where he switched professions, becoming a street preacher. His studies of the Bible had convinced him that the newly-crowned Haile Selassie was the returned Messiah, and that Rastafari was a name of God. By 1933, he had relocated to Kingston, where the King of Kings Ethiopian Mission was founded. Following Howell's December 1933 imprisonment for sedition, Dunkley too was imprisoned briefly by the authorities a number of times in 1934 and 1935 on charges of "disorderly conduct". In August 1938, he became one of the foundation members of the first Jamaican local chapter of the Ethiopian World Federation, Local 17, which however became dormant soon afterward, to be replaced by the more permanent Local 31. Although not as much is known of his life as that of Howell (the most
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    51
    Guru Angad Dev

    Guru Angad Dev

    • Religion Founded: Sikhism
    Guru Angad Dev Sahib Ji (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਅੰਗਦ; 31 March 1504 – 28 March 1552) was the second of the Ten Sikh Gurus. He was born in the village of Sarae Naga in Muktsar District in Punjab on 31 March 1504. The name Lehna was given shortly after his birth as was the custom of his Hindu parents. He was the son of a small but successful trader named Pheru Mal. His mother's name was Mata Ramo Ji (also known as Mata Sabhirai Ji, Mansa Devi Ji and Daya kaur Ji). Baba Narayan Das Ji Trehan was the Guru's Grandfather, whose ancestral house was at Matte-di-Sarai near Mukatsar. In 1538, Guru Nanak Dev chose Lehna—his disciple—to be his successor as Sikhism's Guru, rather than one of his sons. Lehna was then given the name Angad and designated as Guru Angad, becoming the second guru of the Sikhs. He continued on the work started by the first Sikh Guru. Guru Angad Dev married Mata Khivi in January 1520 and had two sons (Dasu and Datu) and two daughters (Amro and Anokhi). The entire family of his father had left their ancestral village in fear of the invasion of Babar's armies. After this the family settled at Khadur Sahib, a village by the River Beas near what is now Tarn Taran a small town about
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    52

    Joseph Hibbert

    • Religion Founded: Rastafari movement
    Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert (born 1894, date of death unknown) was, along with Leonard Howell, Archibald Dunkley, and Robert Hinds, one of the first preachers of the Rastafari movement in Jamaica following the coronation of Ras Tafari as Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia on 2 November 1930. In about 1911, at the age of 17, he moved to Costa Rica where he spent 20 years at farm work, also becoming a member of the Ancient Order of Ethiopia masonic lodge. His background at this time had been with the Ethiopian Baptist Church, that had been founded in Jamaica by the 18th century Baptist preacher George Lisle. Hibbert returned to Jamaica in 1931, starting his ministry, "Ethiopian Coptic Faith", to teach that the newly-crowned Haile Selassie was divine, in St. Andrew Parish, in a district called Benoah. He reached this conclusion independently, having studied the Ethiopic translation of the Bible. Somewhat later, he transferred his ministry to Kingston, where he found that another street preacher named Leonard P. Howell was already teaching many similar doctrines. Like Howell and Dunkley, Hibbert was subjected to arrest and imprisonment by authorities, and he was also a founding member
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    53
    Sarah

    Sarah

    • Religion Founded: Judaism
    Sarah or Sara ( /ˈsɛərə/; Hebrew: שָׂרָה, Modern Sara Tiberian Śārā ISO 259-3 Śarra; Latin: Sara; Arabic: سارة Sārah; Persian: سارا Sārā) was the wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran. Her name was originally Sarai. According to Genesis 17:15 God changed her name to Sarah as part of a covenant after Hagar bore Abraham his first son, Ishmael. The Hebrew name Sarah indicates a woman of high rank and is translated as "princess." Sarah was the wife of Abraham, as well as being his half-sister, the daughter of his father Terah (Genesis 20:12). The Talmud identifies Sarai with Iscah, daughter of Abraham's deceased brother Haran (Genesis 11:29), so that Sarah turns out to be the niece of Abraham and the sister of Lot and Milcah. She was also the mother-in-law of Rebecca, her successor. She was considered beautiful to the point that Abraham feared that when they were near more powerful rulers she would be taken away and given to another man. Twice he purposefully identified her as being only his sister so that he would be "treated well" for her sake. It is apparent that she remained attractive into her later years. Despite her great beauty,
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    54
    Naropa

    Naropa

    • Religion Founded: Kagyu
    Nāropā (Prakrit; Sanskrit: Nāropadā or Naḍapāda) (956–1041) was an Indian Buddhist Mahasiddha. He was the disciple of Tilopa and brother, or some sources say partner and pupil, of Niguma. As an Indian Mahasiddha, Naropa's instructions inform Vajrayana, particularly his six yogas of Naropa relevant to the completion stage of anuttarayogatantra. Although some accounts relate that Naropa was the personal teacher of Marpa Lotsawa, other accounts suggest that Marpa held Naropa's lineage through intermediary disciples only. According to scholar John Newman, "the Tibetans give Nāro's name as Nā ro pa, Nā ro paṇ chen, Nā ro ta pa, and so forth. The manuscript of the Paramarthasaṃgraha preserves a Sanskrit form Naḍapāda (Paramarthasaṃgraha 74). A Sanskrit manuscript edited by Tucci preserves an apparent Prakrit form Nāropā, as well as a semi-Sanskritic Nāropadā (Tucci 1930:150 & 152)." Naropa was born a high status Brahmin but from an early age showed an independent streak, hoping to follow a career of study and meditation. Succumbing to his parents wishes, he agreed to an arranged marriage with a young Brahmin girl. After 8 years they both agreed to dissolve their marriage and become
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    55

    Wulf Zendik

    • Religion Founded: Zendik farm
    Wulf Zendik (born Lawrence E. Wulfing, in El Paso, Texas, October 7, 1920 – June 12, 1999) was an American writer, environmentalist, and bohemian. He is the author of the novel A Quest Among The Bewildered, and has been described as an "undiscovered Beat." Larry Wulfing, a.k.a. Wulf, founded a community, Zendik, (also known as Zendik Arts Farm) located in Florida, Southern California, Texas, North Carolina, and West Virginia at various times, with his wife/partner Carol Merson, a.k.a. Arol Wulf. The community, now led by Arol Wulf and her daughter Fawn seeks to continue Mr. Zendik's philosophy by promoting the arts and an environmentally sound lifestyle. In 2006, the community had a show, Zendik News, on public-access television Channel 75 in Baltimore, MD. Zendik Farm members are known for their sales of T-shirts and bumper stickers saying "Stop Bitching, Start a Revolution."
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    2 votes
    56
    Je Tsongkhapa

    Je Tsongkhapa

    • Religion Founded: Gelug
    Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), whose name means “The Man from Onion Valley”, was a famous teacher of Tibetan Buddhism whose activities led to the formation of the Geluk school. He is also known by his ordained name Lobsang Drakpa (blo bzang grags pa) or simply as Je Rinpoche (rje rin po che). Tsongkhapa heard Buddha’s teachings from masters of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions, and received lineages transmitted in the major schools. His main source of inspiration was the Kadampa tradition, the legacy of Atiśa. Based on Tsongkhapa’s teaching, the two distinguishing characteristics of the Gelug tradition are: Born into a nomadic family in Amdo province in 1357, Tsongkhapa received the layman ordination (skt. Upasaka) at the age of three from the 4th Karmapa, Rolpe Dorje, and was entitled “Kunga Nyingpo” (kun dga’ snying po). At the age of seven he took the novice ordination (skt. Sramanera, tib. Getsul) from Choje Dhondup Rinchen (chos rje don ’grub rin chen) and was given the name “Lobsang Drakpa” (blo bzang grags pa). It was at this early age that he was able to receive the empowerments of Heruka Chakrasamvara, Hevajra, and Yamantaka, three of the most prominent wrathful deities of Tibetan
    6.33
    3 votes
    57
    John Wesley

    John Wesley

    • Religion Founded: United Methodist Church
    John Wesley ( /ˈwɛzlɪ/; 28 June [O.S. 17 June] 1703 – 2 March 1791) was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield. In contrast to George Whitefield's Calvinism, Wesley embraced the Arminian doctrines that were dominant in the 18th-century Church of England. Methodism in both forms was a highly successful evangelical movement in the United Kingdom, which encouraged people to experience Jesus Christ personally. Wesley's teachings, known as Wesleyanism, provided the seeds for the modern Methodist movement, the Holiness movement, Pentecostalism, the Charismatic Movement, and Neo-charismatic churches, which encompass numerous denominations across the world. In addition, he refined Arminianism with a strong evangelical emphasis on the Reformed doctrine of justification by faith. Wesley helped to organize and form societies of Christians throughout England, Scotland, Wales, North America and Ireland as small groups that developed intensive, personal accountability, discipleship and religious
    6.33
    3 votes
    58
    Pietro Martire Vermigli

    Pietro Martire Vermigli

    • Religion Founded: Calvinism
    Peter Martyr Vermigli (Italian Pietro Martire Vermigli) (8 September 1499 – 12 November 1562), sometimes simply Peter Martyr, was an Italian theologian of the Reformation period. He was born at Florence, the son of Stefano di Antonio Vermigli and Maria Fumantina, a moderately well-to-do family. The young couple originally christened their child Piero Mariano, though he took the name Peter Martyr when he entered the novitiate of the Augustinian Order after the 13th-century Dominican St. Peter Martyr. Educated in the Augustinian cloister at Fiesole, he was transferred in 1519 to the convent of St John of Verdara near Padua, where he graduated D.D. about 1527 and made the acquaintance of the future Cardinal Pole. From that year onwards he was employed as a public preacher at Brescia, Pisa, Venice and Rome; and in his intervals of leisure he mastered Greek and Hebrew. In 1530 he was elected prior of the Augustinian monastery at Spoleto, and in 1533 prior of the convent of St Peter ad Aram at Naples. About this time, primarily through the influence of Juan de Valdes, he read Martin Bucer's commentaries on the Gospels and the Psalms and also Zwingli's De vera et falsa religione; and his
    6.33
    3 votes
    59
    Solomon Schechter

    Solomon Schechter

    • Religion Founded: Conservative Judaism
    Solomon Schechter (Hebrew: שניאור זלמן שכטר; December 7, 1847 – November, 19 1915) was a Moldavian-born Romanian rabbi, academic scholar, and educator, most famous for his roles as founder and President of the United Synagogue of America, President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and architect of the American Conservative Jewish movement. Born in Focşani to a Jewish Romanian family adhering to the Chabad Hasidic branch, he attended yeshivas in Eastern Europe. Schechter received his early education from his father who was a shochet ("ritual slaughterer"). Reportedly, he learned to read Hebrew by age three, and by five mastered Chumash. He went to a yeshiva in Piatra Neamţ at age ten and at age thirteen studied with one of the major Talmudic scholars, Rabbi Joseph Saul Nathanson of Lemberg. In his twenties he went to the Rabbinical College in Vienna, where he studied under the more modern Talmudic scholar Meir Friedmann, before in 1879 moving on to undertake further studies at the Berlin Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums and at the University of Berlin. Three years later he was invited to the UK, to be tutor of rabbinics under Claude Montefiore in
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    3 votes
    60
    Guru Teg Bahadur

    Guru Teg Bahadur

    • Religion Founded: Sikhism
    Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਤੇਗ਼ ਬਹਾਦੁਰ [ɡʊru teɣ bəhɑdʊɾ]; 1 April 1621 – 11 November 1675) became the 9th Guru of Sikhs on 20 March 1665, following in the footsteps of his grand-nephew, Guru Har Krishan. Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed on the orders of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi. Tegh Bahadur was the youngest of the five sons of Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh guru, and his wife Nanaki. He was as Tyaga Mal born in Amritsar in the early hours of 1 April 1621. The name Tegh Bahadur (Mighty Of The Sword), was given to him by Hargobind after he had shown his valour in a battle against the Mughals. Amritsar at that time was the centre of Sikh faith. Under Hargobind, it had become even more renowned. By virtue of being the seat of the Guru, and with its connection to Sikhs in far flung areas of the country through the chains of Masands or missionaries, it had developed the characteristics of a state capital. Tegh Bahadur was brought up steeped in Sikh culture. He was trained in the martial-arts of archery and horsemanship, and was also taught the old classics. Prolonged spells of seclusion and contemplation are said to have given him a deep mystical temperament. Tegh
    7.50
    2 votes
    61
    Muhammad

    Muhammad

    • Religion Founded: Sunni Islam
    Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim (Arabic: محمد بن عبد الله بن عبد المطلب ‎) (c. 570 – c. 8 June 632); also transliterated as Muhammad; Arabic: محمد‎, was a leader from Mecca who unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. He is believed by Muslims and Bahá'ís to be a messenger and prophet of God, and by most Muslims as the last prophet sent by God for mankind. Non-Muslims regard Muhammad as the founder of Islam. Muslims consider him to be the restorer of an uncorrupted original monotheistic faith of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets. Born in about 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, he was orphaned at an early age and brought up under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. He later worked mostly as a merchant, as well as a shepherd, and was first married by age 25. Being in the habit of periodically retreating to a cave in the surrounding mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer, he later reported that it was there, at age 40, that he received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete
    7.50
    2 votes
    62
    Charles Taze Russell

    Charles Taze Russell

    • Religion Founded: Jehovah's Witnesses
    Charles Taze Russell (February 16, 1852 – October 31, 1916), or Pastor Russell, was a prominent early 20th century Christian restorationist minister from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and founder of what is now known as the Bible Student movement, from which Jehovah's Witnesses and numerous independent Bible Student groups emerged after his death. Beginning in July 1879 he began publishing a monthly religious journal, Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence. The journal is now published by Jehovah's Witnesses on a semi-monthly basis under the name, The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom. In 1881 he co-founded Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society and in 1884 the corporation was officially registered, with Russell as president. Russell wrote many articles, books, tracts, pamphlets and sermons, totaling approximately 50,000 printed pages. From 1886 to 1904, he published a six-volume Bible study series originally entitled Millennial Dawn, later renamed Studies in the Scriptures, nearly 20 million copies of which were printed and distributed around the world in several languages during his lifetime. (A seventh volume was commissioned by his successor as society president,
    9.00
    1 votes
    63

    Daisaku Ikeda

    • Religion Founded: Soka Gakkai International
    Daisaku Ikeda (池田 大作, Ikeda Daisaku, born January 2, 1928, Japan) is president of Sōka Gakkai International (SGI), a Nichiren Buddhist lay association which claims 12 million members in 192 countries and territories, and founder of several educational, cultural and peace research institutions. Ikeda was listed in the Watkins' Mind Body Spirit magazine as one of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People in 2012. Daisaku Ikeda was born the fifth son of seaweed farmers in Ōta, Tokyo. He had four older brothers, who fought in World War II, two younger brothers, and a sister. During the war, his eldest brother, Kiichi Ikeda (1916–1945), was killed and his familyʼs home destroyed. As a child, he suffered from poor health and later tuberculosis; at the time, doctors had predicted that he wouldn't survive beyond the age of 30. In August 1947, he met Jōsei Toda at a Sōka Gakkai discussion meeting and, later that month, joined the organization. In 1948, Ikeda made the decision to sacrifice his schooling in order to dedicate his full, unreserved efforts to helping Toda resolve the financial situation then confounding him, and go on to fulfill greater dreams for world peace.
    9.00
    1 votes
    64
    Guru Arjan Dev

    Guru Arjan Dev

    • Religion Founded: Sikhism
    Guru Arjan Dev Ji (Punjabi: ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜੁਨ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ [ɡʊru əɾdʒən dev]; 15 April 1563– 30 May 1606 is the Fifth of the Ten Sikh Gurus. He was born in Goindval, Punjab, India, the youngest son of Guru Ram Das Sahib Ji and Bibi Bhani Ji, the daughter of Guru Amar Das Sahib Ji. He became Guru Ji of the Sikhs on 1 September 1581 after the death of His Father Guru Ram Das Sahib Ji. Guru Arjan Dev Ji died in Lahore, Punjab, (now in Pakistan). Before His death, He passed the light of Guruship to His Son Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji as the next Guru Ji of the Sikhs. Guru Arjun Dev Ji lived as the Guru Ji of Sikhism for a quarter of a century and accomplished much during his service to humanity. Guru Arjan completed the construction of Amritsar and founded other cities such as Taran Taran and Kartarpur. He constructed a Baoli at Lahore. The most important work of Guru Arjan Dev Ji was the compilation of Adi Granth. He collected all the work of the first four Gurus and dictated it in the form of verses in 1604. It is, perhaps, the only script which still exists in the form first published (a hand-written manuscript) by the Guru. The integrity of the original writings within the Adi Granth is
    9.00
    1 votes
    65
    Martin Luther

    Martin Luther

    • Religion Founded: Protestantism
    Martin Luther (German pronunciation: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈlʊtɐ] ( listen); 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German monk, priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Emperor. Luther taught that salvation is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge and opposed sacerdotalism by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood. Those who identify with Luther's teachings are called Lutherans. His translation of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible, causing a
    9.00
    1 votes
    66
    Báb

    Báb

    • Religion Founded: Bábism
    Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází ( /ˈseɪ.jədˈæ.liː.moʊˈhæ.məd.ʃiˈrɑːzi/, Persian: سيد علی ‌محمد شیرازی‎; October 20, 1819 – July 9, 1850) was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four (on May 23, 1844) claimed to be the promised Qá'im (or Mahdi). After his declaration he took the title of Báb ( /ˈbɑːb/, Arabic: باب‎) meaning "Gate". He composed hundreds of letters and books (often termed tablets) in which he stated his messianic claims and defined his teachings, which constituted a new sharí'ah or religious law. His movement eventually acquired tens of thousands of supporters, was opposed by Iran's Shi'a clergy, and was suppressed by the Iranian government, leading to the persecution and killing of thousands of his followers, called Bábís. In 1850, at the age of thirty, the Báb was shot by a firing squad in Tabríz. Bahá'ís claim that the Báb was also the spiritual return of Elijah and John the Baptist, that he was the "Ushídar-Máh" referred to in the Zoroastrian scriptures, and that he was the forerunner of their own religion. Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, was a
    7.00
    2 votes
    67

    Leonard Howell

    • Religion Founded: Rastafari movement
    Leonard Percival Howell (born June 16, 1898 in Clarendon Parish died February 25, 1981), known as The Gong or G.G. Maragh (for Gong Guru), was a Jamaican religious figure. According to his biographer Hélène Lee, Howell was born in an Anglican family. He was one of the first preachers of the Rastafari movement (along with Joseph Hibbert, Archibald Dunkley, and Robert Hinds), and is sometimes known as The First Rasta. Born in May Crawle River, Jamaica, Howell left the country as a youth, traveling amongst other places to New York, and returned in 1932. He began preaching in 1933 about what he considered the symbolic portent for the African diaspora—the crowning of Ras Tafari Makonnen as Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. His preaching asserted that Haile Selassie was the "Messiah returned to earth," and he published a book called The Promise Key. Although this resulted in him being arrested, tried for sedition and imprisoned for two years, the Rastafari movement grew. Over the following years, Howell came into conflict with all the establishment authorities in Jamaica: the planters, the trade unions, established churches, police and colonial authorities, and he was allegedly
    7.00
    2 votes
    68
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    2 votes
    69
    Robert Sandeman

    Robert Sandeman

    • Religion Founded: Glasite
    Robert Sandeman (born Perth 29 April 1718, died Danbury, Connecticut 2 April 1771) was a nonconformist theologian. He was closely associated with the Glasite church which he helped to promote. He was born the second of twelve children to a linen weaver, David Sandeman and his wife Margaret Ramsay. He attended Edinburgh University over a two year period beginning in 1734, where he initially seemed destined for a career in either medicine or the established church. It was here, however, where he encountered the teachings of John Glas, and joined his Dundee congregation in 1735. It was during this period that he apprenticed as a linen weaver for a number of years before starting a family business with his brother William. In 1737 he married Glas' daughter Catherine. They did not have any children by the time of her death in 1746. At the age of 26 he was selected as an elder of the Glasite church in Perth. Following her death, Sandeman devoted his life to his church and scripture. He traveled between Perth, Dundee, and Edinburgh where he served as elder among these Glasite congregations. He was more forceful than Glas and also more controversial. It was he who was largely responsible
    7.00
    2 votes
    70
    Max Freedom Long

    Max Freedom Long

    • Religion Founded: Huna
    Max Freedom Long (October 26, 1890 - September 23, 1971) was an American novelist and New Age author. In 1917, a year after graduating from Los Angeles State Normal School with an Associate of Arts (two year) degree in General Education, Long moved to the island of Hawaii to teach in elementary schools. When he arrived, he claimed that some Native Hawaiians were practicing what he called magic. Long wrote that at first he was skeptical of this magic, but later became convinced that it worked. He devoted the rest of his life to creating theories about how the Native Hawaiians did what he claimed they did, and teaching those theories through the sale of books and newsletters. Long decided to call his compilation of teachings Huna, because one meaning of the word is "hidden secret." He wrote that he derived it from the word kahuna, who were priests and master craftsmen who ranked near the top of the social scale. Long published a series of books on Huna starting in 1936, and founded an organization called the Huna Fellowship in 1945. There are no accepted Hawaiian sources - Malo, Kamakau, 'I'i, Kepelino - that refer to the word Huna as a tradition of esoteric learning. Max Freedom
    5.67
    3 votes
    71
    Akbar

    Akbar

    • Religion Founded: Din-i-Ilahi
    Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar (Arabic: جلال الدین محمد أکبر ‎ - Jalāl ud-Dīn Muḥammad Akbar), also known as Shahanshah Akbar-e-Azam or Akbar the Great (14 October 1542  – 27 October 1605), was the third Mughal Emperor. He was of Timurid descent; the son of Emperor Humayun, and the grandson of the Mughal Emperor Zaheeruddin Muhammad Babur, the ruler who founded the Mughal dynasty in India. At the end of his reign in 1605 the Mughal empire covered most of northern and central India. He is most appreciated for having a liberal outlook on all faiths and beliefs and during his era, culture and art reached a zenith as compared to his predecessors. Akbar was 13 years old when he ascended the Mughal throne in Delhi (February 1556), following the death of his father Humayun. During his reign, he eliminated military threats from the powerful Pashtun descendants of Sher Shah Suri, and at the Second Battle of Panipat he decisively defeated the newly self-declared Hindu king Hemu. It took him nearly two more decades to consolidate his power and bring all the parts of northern and central India into his direct realm. He influenced the whole of the Indian Subcontinent as he ruled a greater part of
    8.00
    1 votes
    72
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    1 votes
    73

    Mynga Futrell

    • Religion Founded: Bright
    Mynga Futrell is a Sacramento-based activist and retired educator who is active in several fields. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Earth Science, M.S. in Natural Science and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Science Education. In the civics arena, Futrell is co-founder (with husband, Paul Geisert) and director of the Brights movement, an organization set up to promote civic acceptance of the naturalistic worldview, and to encourage people who have a naturalistic worldview to participate in civic endeavors. She has served on the advisory board of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. In the education field, she is on the advisory council of the California 3Rs (rights, respect, responsibility) religious liberty project for teachers initiated by the First Amendment Center. She is also lead curriculum developer for Worldview Education: Teaching about Religion in Support of Civic Pluralism, a religion-neutral professional web resource for educators. In the freethought movement, Futrell is vice-president and past president of Atheists and Other Freethinkers, and sits on the board of directors of the American Humanist Association and the
    8.00
    1 votes
    74
    Stephen Harding

    Stephen Harding

    • Religion Founded: Cistercians
    Saint Stephen Harding (Spanish: San Esteban Harding, French: Saint Étienne Harding, Hungarian: Harding Szent István, Slovene: Sveti Štefan Harding, Prekmurian: Števan Harding Svéti) (died 28 March 1134) is a Christian saint and abbot, one of the founders of the Cistercian Order. Stephen Harding was born in Dorset, England. He was placed in Sherborne Abbey at a young age, but eventually put aside the cowl and became a travelling scholar. He eventually moved to Molesme Abbey in Burgundy, under the abbot Saint Robert of Molesme (c. 1027-1111). When Robert left Molesme to avoid its corruption and laxity, Stephen and Saint Alberic of Cîteaux went with him. Unlike Alberic, Stephen was not ordered to return, and he remained in solitude with Robert. When twenty-one monks deserted Molesme to join Robert, Harding and Alberic, the three leaders formed a new monastery at Cîteaux. Robert was initially abbot of Cîteaux Abbey, returning to Molesme after a year. Alberic then took over, serving as abbot until his death in 1108. Stephen Harding, the youngest of the three men, became the third abbot of Cîteaux. As abbot, Stephen Harding guided the new monastery over a period of great growth. Bernard
    8.00
    1 votes
    75
    Simon Magus

    Simon Magus

    • Religion Founded: Gnosticism
    Simon the Sorcerer or Simon the Magician, in Latin Simon Magus, (Greek Σίμων ὁ μάγος) was a Samaritan magus or religious figure and a convert to Christianity, baptised by Philip the Evangelist, whose later confrontation with Peter is recorded in Acts 8:9-24. The sin of simony, or paying for position and influence in the church, is named for Simon. The Apostolic Constitutions also accuses him of lawlessness. According to Recognitions, Simon's parents were named Antonius and Rachel. Surviving traditions about Simon appear in anti-heretical texts, such as those of Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius, where he is often regarded as the source of all heresies. Justin wrote that nearly all the Samaritans in his time were adherents of a certain Simon of Gitta, a village not far from Flavia Neapolis. Irenaeus held him as being one of the founders of Gnosticism and the sect of the Simonians. Hippolytus quotes from a work he attributes to Simon or his followers the Simonians, Apophasis Megale, or Great Declaration. According to the early church heresiologists Simon is also supposed to have written several lost treatises, two of which bear the titles The Four Quarters of the
    5.33
    3 votes
    76
    Guru Nanak Dev

    Guru Nanak Dev

    • Religion Founded: Sikhism
    Guru Nanak  pronunciation (help·info) (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ; Hindi: गुरु नानक, Urdu: گرونانک [ˈɡʊɾu ˈnɑnək] Gurū Nānak) (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539) was the founder of the religion of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. The Sikhs believe that all subsequent Gurus possessed Guru Nanak’s divinity and religious authority, and were named "Guru" in the line of succession. Guru Nanak was born on 15 April 1469, now celebrated as Prakash Divas of Guru Nanak Dev, into a Hindu Khatri family in the village of Rāi Bhōi dī Talwandī, now called Nankana Sahib, near Lahore, Pakistan. Today, his birthplace is marked by Gurdwara Janam Asthan. His father, Kalyan Chand Das Bedi, popularly shortened to Kalu Mehta, was a patwari (accountant) for crop revenue in the village of Talwandi, employed by of a Muslim landlord of that area, Rai Bular Bhatti. Nanak’s mother was Tripta. He had one elder sister, Bibi Nanaki who became a spiritual figure in her own right. Nanaki married Jai Ram and went to his town of Sultanpur, where he was the steward (modi) to Daulat Khan Lodi, the eventual governor of Lahore. Nanak was attached to his older sister, and, in traditional Indian fashion, he followed
    6.50
    2 votes
    77
    Nagarjuna

    Nagarjuna

    • Religion Founded: Madhyamaka
    Nāgārjuna (Devanagari:नागार्जुन, Telugu: నాగార్జున, Tibetan: ཀླུ་སྒྲུབ་ klu sgrub, Chinese: 龍樹, Sinhala නාගර්පුන) (ca. 150–250 CE) was an important Buddhist teacher and philosopher. Along with his disciple Āryadeva, he is credited with founding the Madhyamaka school of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Nāgārjuna is credited with developing the philosophy of the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtras—even, in some sources, with having (re)revealed these scriptures in the world, having recovered them from the realm of the nāga-s (snake/dragon spirits)—and is also sometimes associated with the Buddhist university of Nālandā. Very little is reliably known of the life of Nāgārjuna, since the surviving accounts were written in Chinese and Tibetan, centuries after his death. According to some accounts, Nāgārjuna was originally from Southern India. Some scholars believe that Nāgārjuna was an advisor to a king of the Sātavāhana Dynasty. Archaeological evidence at Amarāvatī indicates that if this is true, the king may have been Yajña Śrī Śātakarṇi, who ruled between 167 and 196 CE. On the basis of this association, Nāgārjuna is conventionally placed at around 150–250 CE. According to a 4th/5th-century biography translated
    6.50
    2 votes
    78
    John Knox

    John Knox

    • Religion Founded: Protestantism
    John Knox (c. 1514 – 24 November 1572) was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation who brought reformation to the church in Scotland. He was educated at the University of St Andrews or possibly the University of Glasgow and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1536. Influenced by early church reformers such as George Wishart, he joined the movement to reform the Scottish church. He was caught up in the ecclesiastical and political events that involved the murder of Cardinal Beaton in 1546 and the intervention of the regent of Scotland, Mary of Guise. He was taken prisoner by French forces the following year and exiled to England on his release in 1549. While in exile, The Rev. John Knox was licensed to work in the Church of England, where he quickly rose in the ranks to serve King Edward VI of England as a royal chaplain. In this position, he exerted a reforming influence on the text of the Book of Common Prayer. In England he met and married his first wife, Marjorie. When Mary Tudor ascended the throne and re-established Roman Catholicism, Knox was forced to resign his position and leave the country. Knox first moved to Geneva and then to Frankfurt.
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    2 votes
    79
    Padmasambhava

    Padmasambhava

    Padmasambhava Tibetan: པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས།, Wylie: pad+ma 'byung gnas (EWTS), ZYPY: Bämajungnä); Mongolian ловон Бадмажунай, lovon Badmajunai, Chinese: 蓮花生大士 (pinyin: Liánhuāshēng), Means The Lotus-Born, was a sage guru from Oddiyāna who is said to have transmitted Vajrayana Buddhism to Bhutan and Tibet and neighboring countries in the 8th century. In those lands he is better known as Guru Rinpoche ("Precious Guru") or Lopon Rinpoche, or, simply, Padum in Tibet, where followers of the Nyingma school regard him as the second Buddha. He is further considered an emanation of Buddha Amitabha and traditionally even venerated as "a second Buddha". He was born into a Brahmin family of Northwest India. Padmasambhava said: His Pureland Paradise is Zangdok Palri (the Copper-coloured Mountain). According to tradition, Padmasambhava was incarnated as an eight-year-old child appearing in a lotus blossom floating in Lake Dhanakosha, in the kingdom of Oḍḍiyāna in Ancient India and in modern times identified with the Swat Valley of South Asia present-day Pakistan. His special nature was recognized by the childless local king of Oḍḍiyāna and was chosen to take over the kingdom but he left Oḍḍiyāna for
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    2 votes
    80

    Roger Christie

    • Religion Founded: THC Ministry
    Roger Christie (born June 15, 1949) is an ordained minister in the Religion of Jesus Church, which regards marijuana as a "sacramental herb." In 2000, he founded the THC Ministry, which offered cannabis as a part of its services. On July 8, 2010, Christie and 13 other individuals associated with the THC Ministry were indicted by a Federal grand jury in Honolulu on Marijuana possession and trafficking charges. He is now being held in the Honolulu Federal Detention Center awaiting trial. Roger Christie was born on June 15, 1949, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Raised and schooled in the New Jersey countryside in the 1950s and 1960s, he graduated from high school in 1967. After two years of college studies and flight training school in Miami, Florida he received an associate's degree in Science and a Commercial Pilot certificate. In 1970 he enlisted in the US Army and was trained as a G2 Intelligence Analyst at Fort Holabird, Maryland, a US Army "spy school", but became disenchanted by the military and political missions in Vietnam and elsewhere. Christie refused his orders to serve in the Vietnam War and received an honorable discharge as a conscientious objector. His success in
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    2 votes
    81
    Abraham

    Abraham

    • Religion Founded: Judaism
    Abraham (Hebrew:  אַבְרָהָם (help·info), Modern: Avraham, Greek: Αβραάμ (Avraam), Tiberian: ʼAḇrāhām, Ashkenazi: Avrohom or Avruhom, Arabic: إبراهيم‎ Ibrāhīm) is one of the biblical patriarchs and a major character in the founding myth of the Israelites. His story is told in chapters 11-25 of the Book of Genesis, and he plays a prominent role in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. According to the account in Genesis, at the age of 75, Abram, following what he took to be God's command, took his wife Sarai, and his household and traveled from Haran to Shechem in Canaan. Abram enters into a covenant with God, signified by the rite of circumcision. Abram is now known as Abraham (“father of many nations”), and Sarai becomes Sarah. As Abraham and Sarah are childless, Sarah suggests Abraham have a child by her handmaid, Hagar. Hagar bears Abraham his firstborn, Ishmael. Abraham and Sarah later become the parents of Isaac. In Jewish and Christian tradition, Abraham is the father of the Israelites through his son Isaac. In Islamic tradition, Abraham is considered a prophet of Islam, an ancestor of Muhammad, through Ishmael. Muslims regard him as an example of the perfect Muslim, and the
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    82
    Robert Barclay

    Robert Barclay

    • Religion Founded: Religious Society of Friends
    Robert Barclay (23 December 1648 – 3 October 1690) was a Scottish Quaker, one of the most eminent writers belonging to the Religious Society of Friends and a member of the Clan Barclay. He was also governor of the East Jersey colony in North America through most of the 1680s, although he himself never resided in the colony. Barclay was born at Gordonstoun in Moray, Scotland. His father Col. David Barclay of Urie had served under Gustavus Adolphus, and pursued a somewhat tortuous course through the troubles of the civil war. His mother was Katherine Gordon (1620–1663) the daughter of Sir Robert Gordon 1st Bart of Gordonstoun (1580–1654). He was the eldest of five children. Robert was sent to finish his education at the Scots College, Paris, of which his uncle was Rector, and made such progress in study as to gain the admiration of his teachers, specially of his uncle, who offered to make him his heir if he would remain in France, and join the Roman Catholic Church. In 1667, however, he followed the example of his father, and joined the recently formed Society of Friends after returning to Scotland. Soon afterwards he began to write in defence of the movement, by publishing in 1670
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    83
    Tilopa

    Tilopa

    • Religion Founded: Kagyu
    Tilopa (Prakrit; Sanskrit: Talika or Tilopada) (988–1069) was born in either Chativavo (Chittagong), Bengal or Jagora, Bengal in India. He was a tantric practitioner and mahasiddha. He developed the mahamudra (Tibetan: phyag rgya chen po) method, a set of spiritual practices that greatly accelerates the process of attaining bodhi (enlightenment). His main student is regarded as Naropa. Tilopa was born into the brahmin (priestly) caste – according to some sources, a royal family – but he adopted the monastic life upon receiving orders from a dakini (female buddha whose activity is to inspire practitioners) who told him to adopt a mendicant and itinerant existence. From the beginning, she made it clear to Tilopa that his real parents were not the persons who had raised him, but instead were primordial wisdom and universal voidness. Advised by the dakini, Tilopa gradually took up a monk’s life, taking the monastic vows and becoming an erudite scholar. The frequent visits of his dakini teacher continued to guide his spiritual path and close the gap to enlightenment. He began to travel throughout India, receiving teachings from many gurus: During a meditation, he received a vision of
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    3 votes
    84
    Joseph Franklin Rutherford

    Joseph Franklin Rutherford

    • Religion Founded: Jehovah's Witnesses
    Joseph Franklin Rutherford (November 8, 1869 – January 8, 1942), also known as "Judge" Rutherford, was the second president of the incorporated Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and played a primary role in the organization and doctrinal development of Jehovah's Witnesses, which emerged from the Bible Student movement established by Charles Taze Russell. Rutherford began a career in law, working as a court stenographer, trial lawyer and prosecutor. He developed an interest in the doctrines of Watch Tower Society president Charles Taze Russell, which led to his joining the Bible Student movement and was baptized in 1906. He was appointed the legal counsel for the Watch Tower Society in 1907, as well as a traveling representative prior to his election as president in 1917. His early presidency was marked by a dispute with the Society's board of directors, in which four of its seven members accused him of autocratic behavior and sought to reduce his powers. The resulting leadership crisis divided the Bible Student community and contributed to the loss of one-seventh of adherents by 1919 and thousands more by 1931. Rutherford and seven other Watch Tower executives were imprisoned in
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    2 votes
    85
    Kukai

    Kukai

    • Religion Founded: Shingon Buddhism
    Kūkai (空海), also known posthumously as Kōbō-Daishi (弘法大師, The Grand Master Who Propagated the Buddhist Teaching), 774–835, was a Japanese monk, civil servant, scholar, poet, and artist, founder of the Shingon or "True Word" school of Buddhism. Shingon followers usually refer to him by the honorific titles of O-Daishi-sama (お大師様) and Henjō-Kongō (遍照金剛). Kūkai is famous as a calligrapher (see Japanese calligraphy) and engineer. Among the many achievements attributed to him is the invention of the kana, the syllabary in which, in combination with Chinese characters (kanji) the Japanese language is written, a claim which is no longer taken seriously in scholarly circles, despite its persistence in popular belief. Also according to tradition, the Iroha, which uses every phonetic kana syllable just once and is one of the most famous poems in Japanese, is attributed to him but again, this is popular belief and nowhere attested to. His religious writings, some fifty works, expound the tantric Buddhist Shingon doctrine. The major ones have been translated into English by Yoshito Hakeda (see references below). Kūkai was born in 774 in the present-day Zentsū-ji precincts in the province of
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    2 votes
    86
    Yunmen Wenyan

    Yunmen Wenyan

    Yúnmén Wényǎn (862 or 864–949 CE), (雲門文偃; Japanese: Ummon Bun'en; also known in English as "Unmon", "Ummon Daishi", "Ummon Zenji"), was a major Chinese Zen master in Tang-era China. He was a dharma-heir of Xuefeng Yicun Yunmen founded the Yunmen school, one of the five major schools of Chán (Chinese Zen). The name is derived from Yunmen monastery of Shaozhou where Yunmen was abbot. The Yunmen school flourished into the early Song Dynasty, with particular influence on the upper classes, and eventually culminating in the compilation and writing of the Blue Cliff Record. The school would eventually be absorbed by the Rinzai school later in the Song. The lineage still lives on to this day through Chan Master Hsu Yun (1840–1959). Yunmen was born in the town of Jiaxing near Suzhou and southwest of Shanghai to the Zhang family , apparently in 864 CE. His birth-year is uncertain; the two memorial stele at the Yunmen monastery mention he was 86 years old when he died in 949 CE, which suggests that 864 is his birth year. While a boy, Yunmen became a monk under a "commandment master" named Zhi Cheng in Jiaxing. He studied there for several years, taking his monastic vows at age 20, in 883
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    2 votes
    87
    Marpa Lotsawa

    Marpa Lotsawa

    • Religion Founded: Kagyu
    Marpa Lotsawa (1012–1097), sometimes known fully as Lhodak Marpa Choski Lodos or commonly as Marpa the Translator, was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher credited with the transmission of many Vajrayana teachings from India, including the teachings and lineages of Mahamudra. Although some accounts relate that the Mahasiddha Naropa was the personal teacher of Marpa, other accounts suggest that Marpa held Naropa's lineage through intermediary disciples only. Either way, Marpa was a personal student of the Mahasiddha Maitripa. Born as Marpa Chökyi Lodrö, in Lhodrak Chukhyer in the southern part of Tibet, to an affluent family, he began studying at a young age but was wild and untamed compared to other children. Marpa first received instruction for three years at Mangkhar with Drokmi Shakya Yeshe and mastered Sanskrit. He decided to travel to India to study with renowned Indian Buddhist masters. Marpa returned home to Lhodrak and converted his entire inheritance into gold to fund his travel expenses and to make offerings to teachers. Marpa journeyed first to Nepal where he studied with Paindapa and Chitherpa, two famous students of Naropa. Paindapa later accompanied Marpa to Pullahari, near
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    2 votes
    88
    Shlomo Carlebach

    Shlomo Carlebach

    • Religion Founded: Jewish Renewal
    Shlomo Carlebach (Hebrew: שלמה קרליבך‎), known as Reb Shlomo to his followers, (14 January 1925, Berlin — 20 October 1994, New York) was a Jewish rabbi, religious teacher, composer, and singer who was known as "The Singing Rabbi" during his lifetime. Although his roots lay in traditional Orthodox yeshivot, he branched out to create his own style combining Hasidic Judaism, warmth and personal interaction, public concerts, and song-filled synagogue services. At various times he lived in Manhattan, San Francisco, Toronto and Moshav Mevo Modi'im, Israel. Carlebach is considered by many to be the foremost Jewish religious songwriter of the 20th century. In a career that spanned 40 years, he composed thousands of melodies and recorded more than 25 albums that continue to have widespread popularity and appeal. His influence also continues to this day in "Carlebach minyanim" and Jewish religious gatherings in many cities and remote pristine areas around the globe. Carlebach was also considered a pioneer of the Baal teshuva movement ("returnees to Judaism"), encouraging disenchanted Jewish youth to re-embrace their heritage, using his special style of enlightened teaching, and his melodies,
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    2 votes
    89
    Guru Har Rai

    Guru Har Rai

    • Religion Founded: Sikhism
    Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji (Punjabi: ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਇ ਜੀ [ɡʊru həɾ ɾɑɪ]; 26 February 1630 – 6 October 1661) was the seventh of [[The Eleven Guru Ji' of Sikhism|Ten living Guru Ji' of the Sikhs]] who became Guru Ji on 8 March 1644 following in the footsteps of His Grandfather, Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji, nominated Five year old [[Guru Har Krishan Sahib Ji]], His youngest Son as the next Guru Ji of the Sikhs. The following is a summary of the main highlights of Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji' life: Just before the Guru Ji' death at age 31, Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji passed the Gaddi of Nanak on to His Younger Son, the five year old—[[Guru Har Krishan Sahib Ji]]. Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji was the Son of Baba Gurdita and Mata Nihal Kaur (also known as Mata Ananti Ji). Baba Gurdita was son of the Sixth Guru Ji Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji. Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji married Mata Kishan Kaur (sometimes also referred to as Sulakhni) the daughter of Sri Daya Ram of Anoopshahr (Bulandshahr) in Uttar Pradesh on Har Sudi 3, Samvat 1697. Guru Har Rai had one daughter and two sons: Baba Ram Rai and Sri Har Krishan. Although, Guru Har Rai Ji was a man of peace, he never disbanded the armed Sikh Warriors (Saint Soldiers), who
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    1 votes
    90
    Zecharias Frankel

    Zecharias Frankel

    • Religion Founded: Conservative Judaism
    Zecharias Frankel (30 September 1801 – 13 February 1875) was a Bohemian-German rabbi and a historian who studied the historical development of Judaism. He was born in Prague and died in Breslau (modern day Wrocław). Frankel was the founder and the most eminent member of the school of historical Judaism, which advocates freedom of research, while upholding the authority of traditional Jewish belief and practice. This school of thought was the intellectual progenitor of Conservative Judaism. Frankel was, through his father, a descendant of Vienna exiles of 1670 and of the famous rabbinical Spira family, while on his mother's side he descended from the Fischel family, which has given to the community of Prague a number of distinguished Talmudists. He received his early Jewish education at the yeshivah of Bezalel Ronsperg (Daniel Rosenbaum). In 1825 he went to Budapest, where he prepared himself for the university, from which he graduated in 1831. In the following year he was appointed district rabbi ("Kreisrabbiner") of Litoměřice by the government, being the first rabbi in Bohemia with a modern education. He made Teplice his seat, where the congregation, the largest in the district,
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    91
    Zhuangzi

    Zhuangzi

    • Religion Founded: Taoism
    Zhuangzi (simplified Chinese: 庄子; traditional Chinese: 莊子; pinyin: Zhuāng Zǐ; Wade–Giles: Chuang Tzŭ) was an influential Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BCE during the Warring States Period, a period corresponding to the philosophical summit of Chinese thought — the Hundred Schools of Thought, and is credited with writing—in part or in whole—a work known by his name, the Zhuangzi. His name Zhuangzi (English "Master Zhuang", with Zi being an honorific) is sometimes spelled Zhuang Tze, Zhuang Zhou, Chuang Tsu, Chuang Tzu, Chouang-Dsi, Chuang Tse, or Chuangtze. The only account of the life of Zhuangzi is a brief sketch in chapter 63 of Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian, where he is described as a minor official from the town of Meng (in modern Anhui) in the state of Song, living in the time of King Hui of Liang and King Xuan of Qi (late 4th century BCE). Sima Qian writes: The validity of his existence has been questioned by some, including himself (See below) and Russell Kirkland, who writes: According to modern understandings of Chinese tradition, the text known as the Chuang-tzu was the production of a 'Taoist' thinker of ancient China named Chuang
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    92
    Jesus Christ

    Jesus Christ

    • Religion Founded: Christianity
    Jesus ( /ˈdʒiːzəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἰησοῦς Iēsous; 7–2 BC/BCE to 30–36 AD/CE), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth is the central figure of Christianity, whom a majority of Christian denominations worship as God the Son incarnated. Virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed. Most scholars hold that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee in Roman Judaea, was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate. Scholars have offered competing descriptions and portraits of Jesus, which at times share a number of overlapping attributes, such as a rabbi, a charismatic healer, the leader of an apocalyptic movement, Messiah, a sage and philosopher, or a social reformer who preached of the "Kingdom of God" as a means for personal and egalitarian social transformation. Scholars have correlated the New Testament accounts with non-Christian historical records to arrive at an estimated chronology of Jesus' life. Christians hold Jesus to be the awaited Messiah of the Old Testament and refer to him as Jesus Christ or simply as Christ, a name that is also used secularly. Christians believe that Jesus was conceived by
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    2 votes
    93

    Valentinus

    • Religion Founded: Gnosticism
    Valentinus (also spelled Valentinius) (c.100 - c.160) was the best known and for a time most successful early Christian gnostic theologian. He founded his school in Rome. According to Tertullian, Valentinus was a candidate for bishop of Rome but started his own group when another was chosen. Valentinus produced a variety of writings, but only fragments survive, largely those embedded in refuted quotations in the works of his opponents, not enough to reconstruct his system except in broad outline. His doctrine is known to us only in the developed and modified form given to it by his disciples. He taught that there were three kinds of people, the spiritual, psychical, and material; and that only those of a spiritual nature (his own followers) received the gnosis (knowledge) that allowed them to return to the divine Pleroma, while those of a psychic nature (ordinary Christians) would attain a lesser form of salvation, and that those of a material nature (pagans and Jews) were doomed to perish. Valentinus had a large following, the Valentinians. It later divided into an Eastern and a Western or Italian branch. The Marcosians belonged to the Western branch. Valentinus was born in
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    94
    Bahá'u'lláh

    Bahá'u'lláh

    • Religion Founded: Bahá'í Faith
    Bahá'u'lláh (English pronunciation: /bɑːhɑːˈʊlə/; Arabic: بهاء الله‎, "Glory of God"; 12 November 1817 – 29 May 1892), born Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Núrí (Persian: میرزا حسینعلی نوری‎), was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and other major religions. Bahá'u'lláh taught that humanity is one single race and that the age has come for its unification in a global society. His claim to divine revelation resulted in persecution and imprisonment by the Persian and Ottoman authorities, and his eventual 24-year confinement in the prison city of `Akka, Palestine (present day Israel), where he died. He authored many religious works, most notably the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Kitáb-i-Íqán. There are two known photographs of Bahá'u'lláh. Outside of pilgrimage, Bahá'ís prefer not to view his photo in public, or even to display it in their private homes. Bahá'u'lláh was born on 12 November 1817, in Tehran, the capital of Persia, present-day Iran. Bahá'í authors state that his
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    95
    Ellen G. White

    Ellen G. White

    • Religion Founded: Seventh-day Adventist Church
    Ellen Gould White (born Harmon) (November 26, 1827 – July 16, 1915) was a prolific author and an American Christian pioneer. She, along with other Sabbatarian Adventist leaders, such as Joseph Bates and her husband James White, formed what is now known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Ellen White reported to her fellow believers her visionary experiences. James White, and others of the Adventist pioneers, viewed these experiences as the Biblical gift of prophecy as outlined in Revelation 12:17 and 19:10 which describe the testimony of Jesus as the "spirit of prophecy". Her Conflict of the Ages series of writings endeavor to showcase the hand of God in Biblical and Christian church history. This cosmic conflict, referred to as the "Great Controversy theme", is foundational to the development of Seventh-day Adventist theology. White was considered a somewhat controversial figure. Her reports of visionary experiences and her use of other sources in her writings comprise much of the controversy. She received her first vision soon after the Millerite Great Disappointment. Historian Randall Balmer has described her as "one of the more important and colorful figures in the history of
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    96
    Henry VIII of England

    Henry VIII of England

    Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547) was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France. Henry was the second monarch of the House of Tudor, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Besides his six marriages, Henry VIII is known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. Henry's struggles with Rome led to the separation of the Church of England from papal authority, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and establishing himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Yet he remained a believer in core Catholic theological teachings, even after his excommunication from the Catholic Church. Henry oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542. Henry was considered an attractive, educated and accomplished king in his prime and has a reputation as "one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne". Besides ruling with absolute power, he also engaged himself as an author and composer. His desire to provide England with a male heir—which stemmed partly from
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    1 votes
    97
    Zoroaster

    Zoroaster

    • Religion Founded: Zoroastrianism
    Zoroaster (/ˌzɒroʊˈæstər/), also known as Zarathustra (Avestan: Zaraϑuštra), was the founder of Zoroastrianism. Though he is known to most likely be Parsee/Persian, his birthplace is uncertain, but it is now generally thought that he was born in the eastern part of ancient western Afghanistan or eastern Iran particularly the Sistan region which both countries share. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism. Most of his life is known through the Zoroastrian texts. However, the language spoken by Zoroaster, Old Avestan, used for composing the Yasna Haptanghaiti and the Gathas, on archaeological and linguistic grounds, is dated to have been spoken probably in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE. Zoroaster's name in his native language, Avestan, was probably Zaraϑuštra. His English name, "Zoroaster", and the derivatives from a later (5th-century BCE) Greek transcription, Zōroastrēs (Ζωροάστρης), as used in Xanthus's Lydiaca (Fragment 32) and in Plato's First Alcibiades (122a1). This form appears subsequently in the Latin Zōroastrēs and, in later Greek orthographies, as Zōroastris.
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    98
    L. Ron Hubbard

    L. Ron Hubbard

    • Religion Founded: Scientology
    Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (March 13, 1911 – January 24, 1986), better known as L. Ron Hubbard and often referred to by his initials, LRH, was an American pulp fiction author and the founder of the Church of Scientology. After establishing a career as a writer, becoming best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories, he developed a self-help system called Dianetics which was first published in May 1950. He subsequently developed his ideas into a wide-ranging set of doctrines and rituals as part of a new religious movement that he called Scientology. His writings became the guiding texts for the Church of Scientology and a number of affiliated organizations that address such diverse topics as business administration, literacy and drug rehabilitation. Although many aspects of Hubbard's life story are disputed, there is general agreement about its basic outline. Born in Tilden, Nebraska, he spent much of his childhood in Helena, Montana. He traveled in Asia and the South Pacific in the late 1920s after his father, an officer in the United States Navy, was posted to the U.S. naval base on Guam. He attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C. at the start of the
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    99
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    100
    Frumentius

    Frumentius

    • Religion Founded: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
    Saint Frumentius (Ge'ez ፍሬምናጦስ frēmnāṭōs) (died ca. 383) was the first Bishop of Axum, and he is credited with bringing Christianity to the Aksumite Kingdom. He was a Syro-Phoenician Greek born in Tyre. According to the 4th century historian Rufinus (x.9), who cites Frumentius' brother Edesius as his authority, as children (ca. 316) Frumentius and Edesius accompanied their uncle Meropius on a voyage to Ethiopia. When their ship stopped at one of the harbors of the Red Sea, people of the neighborhood massacred the whole crew, with the exception of the two boys, who were taken as slaves to the King of Axum. The two boys soon gained the favour of the king, who raised them to positions of trust, and shortly before his death, gave them their liberty. The widowed queen, however, prevailed upon them to remain at the court and assist her in the education of the young heir, Ezana, and in the administration of the kingdom during the prince's minority. They remained and (especially Frumentius) used their influence to spread Christianity. First they encouraged the Christian merchants present in the country to practise their faith openly; later they also converted some of the natives. When
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    101
    Gerald Gardner

    Gerald Gardner

    • Religion Founded: Wicca
    Gerald Brosseau Gardner (1884 – 1964), also known by the craft name Scire, was an English Wiccan, as well as an author and an amateur anthropologist and archaeologist. He was instrumental in bringing the Contemporary Pagan religion of Wicca to public attention, writing some of its definitive religious texts and founding the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca. Born into an upper-middle-class family in Blundellsands, Lancashire, Gardner spent much of his childhood abroad in Madeira. In 1900, he moved to colonial Ceylon, and then in 1911 proceeded to Malaya, where he worked as a civil servant, independently developing an interest in the native peoples and writing papers and a book about their magical practices. After his retirement in 1936, he traveled to Cyprus, penning the novel A Goddess Arrives before returning to England. Settling down near the New Forest, he joined an occult group, the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship, through which – he claimed – he encountered the New Forest coven, into which he was initiated in 1939. Erroneously believing the coven to be a survival of the pre-Christian Witch-Cult discussed in the works of Margaret Murray, he decided to revive the faith,
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    102
    Robert of Molesme

    Robert of Molesme

    • Religion Founded: Cistercians
    Saint Robert of Molesme (c. 1028 – 1111) was a Christian saint and abbot, one of the founders of the Cistercian Order in France. Robert was a member of the nobility in Champagne, a younger son, who entered the abbey of Montier-la-Celle, near Troyes, at age fifteen and later rose to the status of prior. He was made the abbot of Saint Michel-de-Tonnerre at some point after the year 1060, but he was unable to reform the abbey, which had become known for its laxity, and so he returned to Montier-la-Celle. He was later prior of Saint-Aiyoul. Some hermits living in the forest of Colan sought Robert out there and asked to be put together under his direction in a new monastery. He obtained the permission of Pope Gregory VII to found a monastery at Molesme in Burgundy in 1075. Initially, the establishment consisted of only huts made of branches surrounding a chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity in the forest. Molesme Abbey quickly became known for its piety and sanctity, and Robert's reputation as a saintly man grew. When the house grew increasingly wealthy, new and unsuitable monks came to the area and divided the brothers, challenging Robert's severity. Robert twice tried to leave Molesme
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