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Religious Affiliation of History's 100 Most Influential People
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The 100: The Most Influential Persons in History
Runners Up


From: Michael H. Hart,
The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, 1978; pages 517-518:
While this book was being written, many friends and associates of the author suggested suggested the names of various historical figures who they felt might reasonably be included in the main section of the book.

Quite a few of those suggestions were adopted; others, for one reason or another, were rejected. Below are the names of a hundred interesting figures who, the author finally concluded, do not belong among the 100 most influential persons in history -- although, undoubtedly, strong arguments can be made on behalf of a considerable number of these persons.

On the succeeding pages are brief articles about ten of those figures, indicating the author's reasons for omitting them from the top hundred. It should not be assumed that the author thinks that those ten (in some order) would be numbers 101-110 if the main list were extended, or that the persons named below would be numbers 100-200.

[The 100 runners-up in this afterword are first listed alphabetically, followed by brief chapters of 10 of the individuals, who we have listed first below.]

Rank Name Religious Affiliation Influence
RU St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic influential early Christian philosopher
RU Archimedes Greek philosophy father of experimental science
RU Charles Babbage Anglican mathematician and inventor of forerunner of computer
RU Cheops Egyptian paganism Egyptian ruler; builder of Great Pyramid
RU Marie Curie Catholic (lapsed) physicist; radioactivity
RU Benjamin Franklin Presbyterian; Deist American politician and inventor
RU Mohandas Gandhi Hinduism; influenced by Jainism (mother was a Jain) Indian leader and Hindu religious reformer
RU Abraham Lincoln Regular Baptist (childhood);
later ambiguous -
Deist, general theist or
a very personalized Christianity
16th president of U.S.; led during Civil War
RU Ferdinand Magellan Catholic navigator; named Pacific Ocean; first circumnavigation of globe
RU Leonardo da Vinci Catholic artist; inventor

Abraham
Aesop
Howard H. Aiken
Susan B. Anthony
St. Thomas Aquinas
Archimedes
Aristarchus of Samos
Neil Armstrong
Charle Babbage
Jeremy Bentham
Otto von Bismark
Robert Boyle
Louis de Broglie
Nicolas Sadi Carnot
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Cheops (Khufu)
Chu Hsi
Winston Churchill
Karl von Clausewitz
Rudolf Clausius
Marie Curie
Gottlieb Daimler
Dante Alighieri
Darius the Great
King David
Democritus
Mary Baker Eddy
Robert C.W. Ettinger
Henry Ford
George Fox
Benjamin Franklin
Frederick the Great
Betty Friedan
Galen
Mohandas K. Gandhi
Karl Friedrich Gauss
Hammurabi
Han Wu Ti
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Henry VIII
Henry the Navigator
Theodor Herzl
Hippocrates
Thomas Hobbes
James Hutton
Ikhnaton
Isaiah
Joan of Arc
Joseph Marie Jacquard
Immanuel Kant
John Maynard Keynes
Har Gobind Khorana
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Alfred C. Kinsey
Kublai Khan
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Etienne Lenoir
Leonardo da Vinci
Abraham Lincoln
Liu Pang (Han Kao Tsu)
Louis XIV
James Madison
Ferdinand Magellan
The Virgin Mary
Meiji Tenno (Emperor Mutsuhito)
Sultan Mohammed (Mehmed) II
Montesquieu
Maria Montessori
Samuel Morse
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Muawiya I
Gerard K. O'Neill
Blaise Pascal
Ivan Pavlov
Marco Polo
Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus)
Pythagoras
Rembrandt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Sankara
Sargon of Akkad
Erwin Schrodinger
William B. Shockley
Joseph Smith
Socrates
Sophocles
Sun Yat-sen
William Henry Fox Talbot
Tamerlane
T'ang T'ai Tsung
Edward Teller
Henry David Thoreau
Leo Tolstoy
Charles H. Townes
Harry S. Truman
Selman A. Waksman
James D. Watson
Mary Wollstonecraft
Frank Lloyd Wright
Vladimir Zworykin


Additional Comments From Readers

M. S. Abdullah's
Reasons Why Muhammad (Not Jesus)
Should be Ranked as Most Influential Person in History

M. S. Abdullah (email address: msabdullah@bigpond.com) sent us this letter and list on 25 August 2004:


To the owner of www.adherents.com/adh_influ.html

I am a comparative religion student who would like to share my views on this list. I would like to shed some light as to the order of Muhammad and Jesus on this list. Please feel free to use this e-mail on your website.

I believe that Muhammad should be the first in the list even though Jesus was a great man, Muhammad was an even greater man and a greater influence to humanity. Michael Hart (a non-Muslim, in particular a Christian) was correct in taking a non-biased view and choosing Muhammad.

Just look at the statistics and history

  • Christianity (1.9+ billion people). 600 year head start on Islam

  • Islam (1.5+ billion people). Catching up at a rate of 10:1. Many of the converts are Atheists or Christians (including many Church leaders and ministers). By 2025 Muslims will out number Christians.

  • In America pre 9/11 40000+ people convert to Islam per year, post 9/11, people have became curious about what makes Muslims tick. They are now discovering that what Muslims like these do are completely in the opposite direction to the teachings of Muhammad and Islam, hence why the number of converts has increased to 78000+ a year.

  • Jesus' message was 2.4 years, Muhammad's 23 years

  • Jesus' had 120 followers at the end of his time on earth Muhammad had millions

  • Muhammad confirmed Jesus and believed in him, as Jesus said to his disciples whilst in the Garden of Gethsemane that someone would come to confirm him

  • Jesus said he came to the tribe of Israel only, Muhammad said he came to all mankind.

  • The different denominations of Christianity don't agree with each other about Mary, Jesus, the trinity, the many versions and revisions of the Bible etc, whereas the different denominations of Islam agree that Muhammad is the final Prophet, Jesus is a Prophet and performed miracles, God is One and Only, and the exact Quran as at the time of Muhammad is still used today by all the denominations, and the originals are still available.

  • 10's of millions of Muslims have memorised the entire Quran all over the world, whereas no Christian has memorised the bible and if they did they would have to memorise their own version and would have to update their memorisations every time a new revision was released.

  • The bible that we know today was written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (who are they? Real name? Last name?) and Paul (Saul of Tarsus: A Christian Killer) who preached to the Gentiles which Jesus said not to do. None where direct disciples of Jesus.

  • What is known as Apocrypha today is the Gospels that the Roman (Origin Pagans: worshiped many gods, human gods etc) Catholic Church wanted to destroy because it denies the trinity and the divinity of Jesus and reveals the coming of another (Muhammad). "Eg. The Gospel of Barnabas was accepted as a Canonical Gospel in the Churches of Alexandria till 325 C.E. In 325 C.E., the Nicene Council was held, where it was ordered that all original Gospels in Hebrew script should be destroyed. An Edict was issued that any one in possession of these Gospels will be put to death" (http://www.barnabas.net/)

  • Jesus did not found Christianity and the Church (Paul did). Muhammad founded Islam.

  • Muhammad taught a way of life from birth to death. Things as simple as one should sit down when they put their shoes on etc (This has been medically proven that putting your shoes on whilst standing and hunching causes lower back pain). He taught every day life issues etc.

  • The Quran contains many scientific information that has been confirmed by science only in the last century. Would Muhammad have known all this stuff or is he a lucky guesser?

  • The world as we know it today was influenced by Islam, scientifically, mathematically, medically, agriculturally as well as through art etc. Islam promoted education for both men and women whereas the Church forbade it and called it blasphemy and the penalty was death to anyone who would go against the Church (http://www.pbs.org/empires/islam/ a documentary by non-Muslim American historians and lecturers in religion)

  • Islam is in no way derived from Zoroastrianism but follows on from Judaism as Christianity did.

The list can go on for many pages, but I think that has said enough.

So looking at the facts from a subjective point of view shows that there should be no doubt that Muhammad should be the first on the list.

Regards
M. S. Abdullah


Churchiaya, an Evangelical Christian:
Jesus should be even further down on list,
the way to life eternal in narrow

Churchiaya@aol.com offered an unusual perspective, reprinted here with his permission. Although he did not identify his denominational background, based on his email and his website (www.christisdeity.com), it is clear that he is an Evangelical. Clearly he is not a Catholic. He wrote:
I am Christian and I feel that Mr. Hart's choice for #1 and #2 were appropriate; for the road to destruction is broad so that it is obvious that the biggest deception be listed first. I am thus disappointed that Jesus is not further down on his list and that pope john paul and the false doctrine of catholicism is not listed #3 after islam and science... As for the influence with respect to Christianity, especially on this list reflects that the way to life eternal in narrow. This of course is to God's dismay, it is not His will that any should perish. Mr. Hart was correct in seeing that few were properly influenced in regard to true Christianity, for many people are worshipping a false christ. Moreover if one is not in darkness, they will not be offended by this list for in the end every knee will bow at the name of Jesus.

Mark Aubart:
Jesus is above all men

Mark Aubart (29 October 2004) wrote to express the opinion that Jesus should not even be on a list of mortal men. He provided this explanation to post on this website:
It is obvious to me, and it ought to be obvious to all mankind, that no research or understanding of who the "Christ" is went into the list of top 100 Religious Leaders. Hart does not seem to me to be legitimate in his creation of a list of mortals to include the CHRIST (Isa) in it at all. In fact, Jesus (the Christ) should not even be on the list, he is above all men, as he is (still today) the son of God - he LIVES! ALL people, everywhere, know this. Adherents would be best to either make note of this and remove his name from this list of mere men, or simply single him out above the list as "the Savior". Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected (the only man on earth ever in the history of the world to resurrect). Jesus lives! Isn't this enough to put him above mere man? Just take his name off the list (and make note of it) so you won't have to deal with this issue any longer. Your list shames man and humanity by placing the living Christ on that list of mortal beings. Christianity bases salvation on grace from God who sent his son for the final sacrifice for all men (all people). Christianity promises everlasting life for those who commit themselves to the seeking the WORD, receiving the holy spirit, and accepting Jesus as their personal savior. Jesus (Isa) removed labels and levels within the body of believers, we are all equal!

Born-again Believers of the son of God "the WORD" (the WORD is GOD)

MARK AUBART


Musa Raza:
Christ should be respected, but it is Muhammad who should be listed Number 1

With all my respect due to Mr. Mark, I think his respect towards Christ is mandatory as per his belief but only to my friend's remarks that the only man on earth ever in the history of the world to resurrect is The Christ. That's also the belief of all the Muslims on earth, it is true that Holy Prophet Essa (Christ) will come back before the Day of Judgment. But what would he say about our Holy Prophet Muhammad to whom Allah (God) called upon through His messenger Jibraeel (Gabriel) towards Him to meet His Holy body (Muhammad), Muhammad who met Allah and asked the forgiveness of not only his nation but for those who were to be coming toward Islam after His Virtual Demise as to the Muslims belief that all the Prophets sent from Allah are alive and living in heaven. Holy Muhammad came back to earth after meeting with Allah within no time according to the world, because when he came back to earth his door lock was moving and his bed was still warm so no one could imagine Allah's (God's) Miracles like this which All the Muslims celebrate as the night of Mairaj, So in the end what would my friend say about who is the best among men or in other words The Best Among Humanity because He (Muhammad) was sent as Peace for all the world visible or invisible created by Allah he did not only sent His Messenger for Muslims but also for the worst humanity which was being tolerated by those who were living a most immoral carnage life in the history, In Qur'an Allah says that I sent You (Muhammad) as Peace to all the livings on earth and hereafter. Therefore there were no commandments for him that he's been sent only for Arabs or Muslims.

He's the Prophet of every existence as Allah says in Qur'an That I created all the heavens and all the worlds just in your (Muhammad's) Love because you are the Best among My (Allah's) creations.

One more thing I would like to clear for all the readers that Muhammad is Not the Author of Qur'an like Mr. Hart explained in his reason for Choosing Him the #1 most cogent person.

Qur'an was sent by Allah Almighty through His messenger Jibraeel (Gabriel) not at once but with passage of time and completed in almost 23 years, Qur'an is Allah's message towards humanity in which Allah have cleared all the disbeliefs of other religions included.

Musa Raza


Dean Knoblauch of Canada:
Alternative rankings or names of influential individuals who should be included in the "Top 100"

For the most part Hart's list is accurately ranked and well rationalized.

Clearly, Muhammad has affected the lives of a great many people on the planet and, coupled with the fanatical influence of the Quran on world population, including Christians, deserves to be ranked first. By similar rationale of how religion has affected the number of people in the world, alive and dead, Buddha and Confucius, whose teaching pervade the lives, and are followed by, even many Christians, should be ranked slightly ahead of Jesus Christ.

Philo Farnsworth should be added to the list without saying as the inventor of the television.

I agree with Jukka Vatanen of Finland, Nicola Tesla does precede Guglielmo Marconi. Marconi brought the radio to contemporary society, where it was made popular, but Tesla made it work first.

Hernando Cortes, ranked at 63, is not noted [in the "Influence" column of table] for genocide of the Aztecs [but this notation should be added]; through introduction of disease and war he led the obliteration of the way of life for over 25 million people. This definitely puts him ahead of Francisco Pizarro and, in some ways, even ahead of Adolf Hitler for eliminating a way of life in the world for so many people before it's time.

Johann Sebastian Bach does not deserve the ranking of 72. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is far more widely recognized over time. At any rate, any composer, including Ludwig van Beethoven ranked at 45, should be ranked in the runner up section, at best. While many composers throughout history have touched the lives of others in some way, all others in the list affected a way of life for a great many people.

Nicoli Machiavelli is noted for The Prince, but there is no mention of Sun Tzu for The Art of War in the ranking. Sun Tzu's writings should rank ahead of Nicoli Machiavelli for influencing both military and personal achievement and because it is still read and used by leaders today.

John F. Kennedy should not be in the list; he is a runner up at best, but certainly not ranked ahead of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Henry Ford should noted for his achievement in manufacturing and assembly, as well as development of the automobile. His ranking should not change.

Mikhail Gorbachev affected all of Russia, Europe, and North America, by ending the Cold War through Glasnost, nearly a religion in itself. Personally, for this achievement, I would rank Mikhail Gorbachev 28, right behind Karl Marx. By similar reasoning for the bringing together the Chinese, I would rank Sui Wen Ti at 69, behind William the Conqueror.

Finally, I would add Miguel de Cervantes to the list at a rank of 45, behind John Locke for his prolific literature, including having an influence on William Shakespeare, but, more importantly, for influencing the way many people write and read by the example of the revolutionary style of the flowing narrative he is famous for: Don Quixote.


Dr. M. A. Hafeez:
Ibn Nafis instead of William Harvey first described the circulation of blood

A Muslim biologist wrote to suggest that British scientist William Harvey should be replaced with Muslim scientist Ibn-e-Nafis:
I looked through the list of 100 most influential personalities, by Hart... On circulation of blood the author gives credit to William Harvey (1578-1657). It was Ibn-e-Nafis (Allauddin Abul Hassan ali-bin-abi-al-Hazm al Qarshi-ud-Damishqui, 1210-1288, Damascus) who has been historically and correctly credited with discovery of circulation of blood. If the idea is to give credit to Harvey as a scientist, it would be fair to include him in the list but if importance is placed on discovery of circulation of blood, then Ibn-e-Nafis should replace him.

Dr. Hafeez was very fair-minded in noting that Harvey may have been included for the sum of his contributions to science, and not simply for "discovering" the circulation of blood. Indeed, this is the case. In the "influence" column next to Harvey's name we previously mentioned only "discovery of the circulation of blood," which is does not do justice to all that Harvey did, and it does not do justice to all that historian Michael H. Hart discusses in the Harvey chapter of his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. In response to Dr. Hafeez's letter, I replaced "discovered" with "described," although this should not be taken to mean that Harvey was the first to describe the circulation of blood. But his 1628 book An Anatomical Study of the Motion of the Heart and of the Blood in Animals was certainly immeasurably influential on Western medical practice. I also added a note about Harvey's 1651 Essays on the Generation of Animals, which is the basis for modern embryology.

None of this takes away from what Ibn Nafis accomplished.

More information about Ibn Nafis can be found on the Discoverer of Pulmonary Circulation: IBN AL-NAFIS page on Famous Muslims website (www.famousmuslims.com).


Mark Soakai:
Joseph Smith is one of history's 50 most influential people

Mark Soakai, a native of Tonga who lives in San Diego, California wrote:
I really appreciate the time and effort you have spent to create this great website... I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it bothers me that the founder of our church is not listed on the list of "History's 100 Most Influential People." Consider these facts:

1) 14th largest church in the world with more that 12 million and counting
2) The fastest growing church in the world
3) Founded by Joseph Smith on April 6th, 1830 (JUST 175 yrs ago)
4) The Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith and was recently included in the list of the 20 most influential books in America by Book Magazine (http://www.bookmagazine.com/)

You can work in to any Marriott Hotel in the world and you will find a Book of Mormon in their Hotel rooms. If it wasn't for Joseph Smith, there would never be a Brigham Young University. Apart from our love of sports, BYU is listed by US News (USNews.com) as on of the Top 50 Business Schools (ranked 40), and also one of the Top 50 Law Schools (ranked 35).

I am hoping that one day, may be someone else other than the 12 million plus members of our church members will give this man, Joseph Smith, some credit.

I hope this facts alone will earn Joseph Smith the right to be at least in the top among History's 100 Most Influential People. Thank you for what you do and all these informations you gathered and make it available for us to see on the internet.


Hamzah Jaradat:
Mohammad is the not the author of the Qu'ran

Hamzah Jaradat of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada wrote (26 April 2005):
The sole author of the Qu'ran is not Mohammad, but God, this is a belief that all Muslims share. Mr. Hart's comments stating that Mohammad is the author of the Qu'ran are incorrect. The Qu'ran was sent to Mohammad piece by piece through memorization by the angle Jibreel (sent by God); Mr. Hart stated that Mohammad's thoughts and ideas were put into the Qu'ran by Mohammad. This is untrue, as I mentioned above; the sole author of the Qu'ran is Allah (meaning God in Arabic or Aramaic).

However, Mohammad did show the Muslims (his companions) the way to lead a life successfully, happily and in an Islamic manner. He would talk, and share his ideas and thoughts with his companions. Muslims believe that this, his thoughts and knowledge, were a gift from God after Mohammad began his prophetic journey. His thoughts and ideas are a great part of the fundamental Islamic belief and lifestyle. Mohammad's teachings are called Sunnah. An example of the Sunnah is as follows: The prophet used to pray 7 times a day while the only mandatory requirements (from Allah) were 5; some people today pray 7 times a day just like the prophet Mohammad (Sunnah) although it is not mandatory.

Mr. Hart was incorrect in stating that the author of the Qu'ran is Mohammad, as I have briefly explained, the creator of the Qu'ran is Allah and not Mohammad. I hope to have informed you about the truth behind the Qu'ran and its author.


Nauman Awan:
Mohammad deserves to be ranked first. There are far more Muslim prayers than Christian prayers.

Nauman Awan (nauman.awan@ntlworld.com) sent us the following on 12 August 2005:
This is to support the authors Michael H. Hart's decision in his book, History's 100 Most Influential People.

According to him MUHAMMAD (SAW) deserves the first ranking. I have a very simple example and argument to support this decision. We Muslims, pray five times a day and before pray we give ADAN, a mandatory act to say our NAMAZ (PRAY). During ADAN we say that "MUHAMMAD IS THE LAST PROPHET OF ALLAH". This process continues 24 hrs a day in the whole world as you can well imagine our prayer timings, which changes due to longitude and latitude. That means if it is sunrise in east than we will say our morning pray while west Muslims will say their night pray. So in this way ADAN is being going on 24 hrs a day throughout the world.

With all kind respect for Mr. Paul, his argument of JESUS NAME in 6 billion books and MUHAMMAD'S in 1 billion has no solid ground, without any proved research. And if it is there i.e. proved, can you compare a person whom NAME is being respectably called 24 hrs a day through out the whole world in groups of trillions of people, with a person whose NAME is called out only once in a week as a group. A PROPHET who carries a book from ALLAH (GOD), which has not been changed after 14 centuries, can you compare HIM with a PROPHET whose book itself has been changed many times?

MUHAMMAD was sent by ALLAH and ALLAH REVEALED QURAN ON HIM, it is not HIS BOOK and ALLAH ALSO REVEALED BIBLE ON JESUS. Why QURAN has not been changed yet or no body has dared to change it? Because responsibility of protecting QURAN is being taken by ALLAH (GOD).

The original version of BIBLE itself tells an incident in which JESUS was telling his followers about MUHAMMAD, who would come after HIM but with a long gap. And also HE is ordering them to follow HIM because HE WOULD BE LAST ONE AND THE LEADER OF ALL THE PROPHETS.

Being MUSLIMS we also believe that JESUS is alive and HE will come back when ALLAH (GOD) will ask HIM TO DO SO. But HE WILL COME AS A FOLLOWER OF MUHAMMAD BECAUSE HE WILL BE COMING IN MUHAMMADS ERA WHICH IS TILL THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT and no one can now come from ALLAH saying that I am the last prophet, because MUHAMMAD IS THE LAST PROPHET - THE NUMBER ONE and also THERE IS NO NEED OF ANY PROPHET BECAUSE HE HAS TOLD US EACH AND EVERYTHING THAT IS TO BE NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND THIS LIFE AND THE LIFE AFTER DEATH THROUGH QURAN AND THOURGH HIS HADITHS AND DEEDS (SUUNAH).

The above arguments are made just to support the authors point of view and have no intention to harm any Religion's credibility,or to harm any personal feelings. These arguments are made just to support authors decision and not to let any others arguments down or not to negate his undrstanding about author's point of view.


Guralivu Paul:
Christ should be first. Here's why

Guralivu Paul [lukka2019@yahoo.com] wrote (4 July 2005):
With all respect for Muslims, Jesus Christ should be first because:

* Everybody has a belief about Him. For example, Christians say He is God. Muslims say He is a prophet. Hindus says He is an incarnation of Krishna. Buddhists say He is only another path.
So almost 6 billion people have this name in their books and in their teachings.
Only 1 billion have the name Muhammad in their books.
Only 330 millions have the name Buddha in their books and teachings.
Only 900 millions have the name Krishna in their books and teachings.

* Napoleon said that Jesus is the greatest man that ever lived. This is because He shares with us His divine love. Jesus has a great empire of love, and it remains with us after 2000 years. Many people had empires, but where are these empires today?

* Every year 6 million Muslims leave Islam for Christ in Africa alone. (Ahmad Al Katani said this.)

* Jesus should be the first because everybody agrees that He is alive.
Christians say that He is alive.
Muslims say that He is alive.
Modern Pagans say that He is alive.

I don't understand why Issac Newton is listed at #2 and Jesus #3. Issac Newton should be #3 because he did believe in Jesus and he loved Jesus. If Newton were alive today he would probably say that Jesus should be listed first.


Patrick Egbuchunam:
Jesus is first and clearly the greatest figure in human history

Patrick Egbuchunam of Lagos, Nigeria wrote (11 October 2005):
I have been to your site on the web and must thank you for the information contained there.

I wish to comment on the list of the 100 most influential people in human history and the listing of Mohammed as first, Isaac Newton as second and Jesus as third.

Firstly, I must say that as you rightly pointed out, such an analysis is subjective. I also think it should not be done by only one person as was the case. It is best carried out by a committee of academic professors of world history who should come from varying religious and cultural backgrounds and must include atheists and secular humanists.

I believe the sole author of your analysis did a bad job probably because he has Christian roots (I may be wrong) and did not want to be accused of bias.

The simple truth is that Mohammed the founder of Islam has not affected human history the way the Galilean carpenter has.

Firstly, the fact adduced that Jesus of Nazareth did not found an empire even makes his influence the more glaring. Jesus also did not write anything nor cause anything to be written about him while on earth.

Secondly, Jesus is recognized by Christians the way Peter made his profession of faith. "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God". All Christians despite being hopelessly divided and fragmented hold fast to this statement and also use the New Testament without disagreement. On the other hand, Moslems and the Koran recognize Jesus as the Christ but declare that God cannot have a son. The Koran spends so much time debating and disputing Christianity's claim that Jesus is the Son of God, that the status of Jesus is the single most topical issue that Islam has had to confront in its fourteen centuries of existence. Jews totally reject Peter's profession of faith but Jesus for them remains an enigma and a mystery. The fact that a fellow Jew founded the world's most predominant and influential religion still baffles them to no end. Other religious groups such as Eckankar and the Grail message and even founders of major religious/philosophical systems such as Karl Marx who do not accept Peter's declaration still refer to Jesus in superlative terms, calling him, for example, "one of the masters," etc.

The great influence of Jesus can be seen in the pre-eminent status of Europe (the so-called Christian continent). Europe colonized most of the world - Africa, Latin, Central and North America, Australasia and small parts of the Middle East and Asia. Missionaries followed the colonialists and adventurers everywhere.

The Crusades against the Moslem Ottoman Turks were instigated by a Pope and actually brought Europe in contact with a better civilization and signaled the beginning of Europe's ascendancy. The quarrel was about the use of Jesus birthplace.

Let us also consider that despite twelve centuries of different Moslem empires in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, these people did not make much technological and economic progress. It was Christian Europe that did. Even the discovery of oil in the Middle East in the 20th century has not had much impact in the closed Moslem societies where women have no liberty and despots are in control.

What about the modern miracle of the founding of the modern nation state of Israel? This was facilitated by the United States and Britain, two clearly Christian powers. Moslem protests, suicide attacks and terrorism have failed as Israel has gone on from strength to strength.

What about the impact of the Papacy? Peter's successors for good or for bad have had a great impact on the world stage since Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 AD. For over sixteen centuries Popes have remained undisputed as the most visible, most influential and best known religious leaders in the world. We are all living witnesses to the impact of Pope John Paul II. He was not the first great Pope. Even going back to 1968, check out the mass reaction to Pope Paul's decision to ban artificial forms of contraception among Catholics. It generated wide furor.

One can go on and on. One billion Moslems know him and debate and argue about Jesus. Two billion Christians worship him. This totals about half the earth's current population. But what about the Bible? The world's runaway best seller with over 6 billion copies sold. It is Jesus that makes the Bible tick. Without him it would just be the Jewish scriptures.

What about the influence of his mother Mary? She is the most important woman in Islam and a whole chapter in the Koran is devoted to her (the only woman to be so honored by the Koran). In fact, Moslems always refer to Jesus as the son of Mary. The Koran accepts the virgin birth of Jesus.

On the other hand, Mary divides Christians. One one hand are the half of the world's Christians who are Catholics (the world's biggest religious denomination) along with some other sects that revere and honor her. On the other hand are the other half that reject her pre-eminence or at best prefer to ignore her.

To place Jesus at third place behind even Isaac Newton is, to say the least, a travesty of judgment, if I may call it that.

I know that every child that goes through school learns of Newton in elementary physics, but what is the percentage of the world's children in school? Most of the humanitarian organizations that give aid to impoverished regions of the world where children cannot go to school are Christian. They bring Jesus along with their aid.

I submit that Jesus is first and clearly the greatest figure in human history. Mohammed comes a distant second and Newton may be third.

Thank you.

Patrick Egbuchunam
Lagos, Nigeria


Ramazan Saeed:
Muhammad was a family man

Ramazan Saeed wrote (31 October 2005):
I was reading the section on your site about the religious affiliation of history's 100 most influential people (http://www.adherents.com/adh_influ.html). I would just like to make a point that everyone else seems to have forgotten, and please feel free to add this to your website.

Many can argue whether Muhammad, Jesus and Newton should be the most influential using numbers on how many followers they have, how great a secular influence they had, whose empire was larger, etc etc. However one thing that differentiates one from the others, is that Muhammad was beyond what is already described, a family man. Not only did he marry, he also had children. And as any father alive will testify, marriage and the raising of children are very difficult tasks, and for Muhammad to do this as well as his other accomplishments show how great a man he was.


Dragon Atma:
Christopher Columbus didn't discover America; religious founders shouldn't top modern tech developers

Dragon Atma wrote (31 May 2007):

Christopher Columbus's only real draw is that he discovered America... problem is, he didn't! Leif Ericson discovered it a good five hundred years earlier. Don't believe me? They actually found the remains of a Norse settlemant in L'anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

Furthermore, sticking a religious founder at #1 is a complete joke. Why not stick other religious nutjobs like Osama Bin-Laden in too?

As for who should go at the #1 spot, there are only three possibilities: The man who created computers, the man who created the internet, and the man who discovered electiricty -- all three changed the world more than jesus or mohammed did and in a far shorter amount of time.

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Main "Religion of History's 100 Most Infuential People" page created 16 September 1999. This overflow split from the main page on 11 September 2004. Last modified 31 May 2007.