More Alike Than We Thought?
August 5, 2007 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Similar Diversity is a data visualization of a textual analysis of various religious books spanning several religions, showing the overlap in words, ideas, and meaning. Other infovis religion goodness includes a 90 second geographic history of the world's major religions (previously), a a map gallery of USAian religious adherance (also previously), and a timeline mashup of Jewish and Christian histories.
posted by youarenothere (22 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
p.s. i don't believe in god but i do like data kthx
posted by youarenothere at 12:24 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Why are "god" "allah" and "lord" separate? Don't tell me they didn't match synonyms first.
posted by delmoi at 12:43 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Really cool. But I wish they'd put a version of it online (rather than mere snapshots of an exhibition). It's pretty virtual, after all -- the artwork itself exists not so much in its visual representation but rather in the relationships it maps.
posted by treepour at 1:21 PM on August 5, 2007

love this--i wish it was all online too.

Why are "god" "allah" and "lord" separate?
Because God's name isn't God--he/she/it doesn't have a name--and all of those names (along with Adonai and Yahweh and G-d and many others) are used to describe separate religion's names for God (even tho they are used to describe the same God). I guess they're the most often used names in the 3 religions, no?
posted by amberglow at 1:53 PM on August 5, 2007


The proper term is "American."
posted by oaf at 1:54 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

also, this things uses the words found in the bible/torah/koran for its depictions. Those are the most often used terms for God, i guess.
posted by amberglow at 1:55 PM on August 5, 2007

i'd love to see somethiing like these on different Christian varieties--and beliefs they developed and how they diverged.

(like what makes one of them saved--faith vs. works, and what you had to do or not do thru the centuries to be a good one and what damned you, etc...)
posted by amberglow at 1:58 PM on August 5, 2007

i guess it would be of all the schisms thruout history--like is happening now with Episcopalians, and like the AME churches, and slavery and other world events and social developments and stuff...
posted by amberglow at 2:00 PM on August 5, 2007

This is awesome but as a Jew, this is also really fucking depressing. After the Bar Kochba revolt it seems that the history of the Jews seemed to revolve around liturgical disputes and trying not to get killed.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 2:01 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

(it's weird how Christians schism all the time, it seems--us Jews and Muslims don't have 17 million flavors of faiths--unless those have been lost to history and didn't last)
posted by amberglow at 2:02 PM on August 5, 2007

yup, Post, but there's tons of stuff not there in those charts--tons and tons and tons of diaspora/post-bible/post-temple history/developments that made us who we are today. Because this is relying on source texts, it excludes enormous amounts. The timeline linked is a little better.
posted by amberglow at 2:19 PM on August 5, 2007


The proper term is "American."

Or "US American", if there are Canadians around.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 2:58 PM on August 5, 2007

Or "US American", if there are Canadians around.

No, "American" doesn't include Canadians (except dual citizens). "North American" does.
posted by oaf at 3:38 PM on August 5, 2007

oaf is right. Some Americans seem to think that the term "American"(to refer to a citizen of the USA) is offensive, based on some notion that Canadians (and Mexicans) live in North America, so they're somehow "also" American.

This is complete nonsense. A citizen of the USA is an American, and an American is ONLY a citizen of the USA. Canadians LIKE to be called "Canadian," and I assume the same for Mexicans.

Tell a Canadian, "I'm a USAian, because we're BOTH American!" and be prepared for a punch your well-intentioned face.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:03 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

ethnomethodologist: I don't know about Canadians, but people in Latin America often seem to find the term "American" for just people from the US offensive, and feel that it should apply to people from all of America (north and south).

Of course, in Spanish, you say "estadounidense" (Unitedstatesian) for people from the US, and "americano" is used a bit for both.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:10 PM on August 5, 2007

Why is Sikhism, which has almost twice as many adherents as Judaism, not on this map? And what about the 300 or so million people who practice animism and other "indigenous" religions?

I think this is complete crap.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:12 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have never been to Canada. Have I missed something?
posted by Postroad at 5:18 PM on August 5, 2007

I think this is complete crap.
posted by ethnomethodologist

Maybe incomplete but certainly not crap.
posted by bru at 6:03 PM on August 5, 2007

Actually, amberglow, the Arabic version of the christian bible generally calls god 'allah.' Similarly, we get the english word 'god' not from Hebrew/Greek/Latin/Aramaic or whatever but from a Germanic language. Allah = god = Gott = dieu = dios, etc. They all just mean 'the god of Abraham.'

As such, they really should have combined all of those into one category, as delmoi points out.
posted by jedicus at 6:47 PM on August 5, 2007

That timeline at the end of your post is really, really cool. Someone put a lot of work into that. It even goes up to the present day, including the Da Vinci Code and the discovery of the Gospel of Judas. That's neat.
posted by JDHarper at 9:24 PM on August 5, 2007

the Arabic version of the christian bible generally calls god 'allah.'
But why would the artist use an Arabic version of the Christian bible anyway? And how recent/widespread is that usage?
posted by amberglow at 2:26 PM on August 6, 2007

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