Pax: It's interesting that you agree that there shouldn't be more than one religion. Was it not God's plan to intervene to spread a message, and perhaps to start a religion? How could God have a plan that failed? Isn't he too powerful to make such a rote mistake?
GKC: The figure is not inaccurate, though you don't seem to like that usage of denomination. I shared the source which explains the figure, and the source stands. If we're talking about representing varieties of belief, perhaps you are annoyed that I would refer to denominations as exemplifying differences because each denomination may not be substantively different from another. I can turn this on its head. The versions of God that people hold are countless, well beyond 33,000. As such, there would be perhaps millions of versions of religions and gods. So the spread of denominations is shorthand for the spread of competing versions of religion and God. Which all go to the same point. Why do you think your God would allow such a failure of his plan to spread his message? 2000 years later, and there is more divergence than ever.
Greg: Thanks for the support. I'm not sure I understand the relevance of the quote. Perhaps you can share your interpretation.
Birdpreacher: It would be odd for a God to create us in such a way that we could never know it existed, and then simultaneously ask us to believe in it and follow its wishes. I see tahat you are admitting to faith, that is a 'leap of faith' over a gap of non-evidence. This, what others might call blind faith, is, I think, the worst reason to believe in something. How is it different from wishful thinking, from gullibility? As another point, one does not need unsubstantiated faith to live in harmony with nature, other persons, animals, and one's own self.
The figure is inaccurate. I shared the explanation of the number, with a quote from the source. Every country in which the Roman Catholic Church (for example) has a presence (of any one of the 23 sui iuris
Churches which are part of the RCC), that RC presence is accounted a separate "denomination". But it is, in fact, one Church, not 236.
An analogous situation can be seen (very roughly) in the Episcopal Church in this country. At last count, it claims a presence in 16 (I think) countries. Hence it counts as 16 "denominations". It is, in fact, one Church.
I assure you I am not annoyed by your ignorance of what the numbers represent. Amused is the word. And I can understand, as I did before, why the gentleman who is most knowledgeable here (AFAIK) on divine simplicity, declines to engage on the subject with you. You have no grasp of the terminology involved, in that case, or in this.