But according to the Encyclopedia of American Religions which 1 lists 1,588 religious denominations, sects, faith groups, organizations, etc. Most are currently operating in North America; a few are defunct but have been recently active. The vast majority of them consider themselves to be Christian. Some of these groups believe that they are the only true Christian church. But how does one find out which denomination really is? Some possibilities:
- Perhaps one of them is the true church.
- Perhaps none of them are. All of the Christian denominations may have strayed so far from Jesus' original intent, that all may be deeply flawed.
- Perhaps many faith groups are different manifestations of the true church - even though their rituals and practices differ.
- Perhaps a historical faith group, now defunct, was the rightful owner of that title. There have been a lot of religious genocides down through the ages, perpetrated by which ever religious group was in power.
- Perhaps Jesus did not intend to found a church at all; in that case, there has never been a true church.