Do you know that there are over and above 4200 different types of religions worldwide? Yes, you heard it right! As much as we know very few of them, most of them are concentrated in several regions and areas we may not have heard about. There are several types and classes of classifications within these types of religions, and it isn’t easy to track and learn about all of them for anyone.
So, today, we have decided why not learn something new and explore the most significant and popular types of religion in the world?! If you, too, are interested to hear about it more, follow us ahead.
What is a Religion and Different Types of Religions:
What exactly is a religion? How to understand the various types? This may sound quite philosophical. But let us try and keep it in a simple dictionary method for ease of understanding. Religion is a system and process of belief, faith, and devotion toward personal Gods and goddesses. The activities and faith are directed as worship towards something very genuine and sacred.
There are different kinds of religious worship based on how we go about understanding and examining it. If we go about naming the different types of religion, it may get complicated. But, classifying religions based on different worship systems gives rise to these set of categories:
Polytheism: In this system, religious worship and beliefs are based not just on one God but on multiple Gods and deities. Hinduism is an example of Polytheism.
Monotheism: In Monotheism, we believe only in a single deity instead of multiple Gods at once. For example, Christianity’s belief in Holy Trinity (Holy Spirit Jesus) is one example.
Animism: As the name suggests, in Animism, the people or groups believe and worship non-human beings, including the natural world, animals, and plants. For instance, the Japanese practice of Shinto believes in divine non-humans that deserve our worship.
Totemism: Several Native Americans believe in Totemism, which means there is an existence of a connection between humans and natural beings.
Atheism: In Atheism, the individuals do not believe or worship any divine entity. They perceive that God is unknown.
Popular Different Types of Religious Beliefs Followed by People Across the World:
Let us now go ahead and find out more about the most popular and famously known religions. Here is the list of types of religious practices and spiritual religion types in the world.
Let us begin with Christianity, the monotheistic concept of religion, the single largest one globally. The Christianity religion has already started around and over 2000 years in Palestine based on Jesus of Nazareth. The religion believes and teaches that Jesus is the direct Son of God and Messiah who has returned to Earth to save God’s followers. The texts for the religion vary depending on different sects among the religion; while others follow the Book of Mormon, others follow the Bible. There are three significant types of sub-religions or branches under Christianity: Roman Catholicism, or Catholics, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. It is the largest in the world, with around 33 per cent across the globe following Monotheism.
Buddhism is less of a religion and more of a philosophy. It falls under types of non-religious spirituality. The faith is found in certain traditions and beliefs tracked back to the thinker, Gautama Buddha, who founded it. He has lived in the 4-6th centuries around BCE and found the religion in India’s eastern part after learning and teaching principles such as freedom from desire and material attachment, achievement of peace, mediation, a life dedicated to wisdom and kindness, humans, and nature. Buddhism, as a result, has increased in and around the Asia continent for centuries. There are two branches in this religion, namely Theravada, to achieve freedom from worldly attachment and anger and attain Nirvana. Mahayana, to aspire Buddhahood by practicing and following self-control and mediation to achieve bodhisattva.
Around 7 per cent of the globe practice wholly or partly Buddhism principles, and it is the fourth-largest religion in the world. Most of the followers are around Asia.
Do you know Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion? It is dated back to the Indus River Valley around 4500 years ago, around the North West of India and today’s Pakistan. The Vedic age has given rise to Hinduism based on three main deities’ incarnations: Vishnu, Brahma, and Siva. Multiple sects within Hinduism follow multiple sacred texts too. The concepts overall for the religion include four purusarthas, namely, Dharma (the ethics and truth), Artha (work and prosperity), Kama (Desires and Passion), and Moksha (Salvation). Today, it is the third-largest religion globally, with around 15 per cent population following the culture and worshipping the deities. This is also the largest in types of Indian religions.
Islam falls under the Monotheistic religion, just like Christianity. Tracing the roots of Islam is better understood when we see back to Adam and the Prophet of Abraham. Islam believes that Allah is the God and that God’s messenger is Muhammed. The code of Islam, Sharia, and the Quran inform aspects of life, worship, and ethics in life, family, and work to its beliefs. The Islamic faith and religion are heavily present around the Middle East, South East Asia, and the Northern part of Africa. They have three holiest sites for their worship and faith, which they believe every person who believes in the faith must visit – including Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. There are two dominant sects within Islam, namely Sunni and Shia. Approximately 1.6 billion people in the world follow Islam, which is the second-largest religion next to Christianity.
Jainism is the oldest and most ancient Indian religion. Among types of Jainism and spiritual beliefs in God, it has its principles based on its true beliefs, namely, nonviolence, nonattachment, abstinence from pleasure, and many-sidedness. As a result of being born in the Indian subcontinent, Jainism has parts of culture that originated from Hinduism and Buddhism. It also believes in doctrines of Karma and rebirth. As a result, most Jains and worshippers reside in India, and the entire population in the world is around four to five million.
Types of Confucianism emerged around 551 BCE from Chinese scholar and philosopher Confucius in the old part of China. It follows a philosophical orientation and believes in family harmony and social embeddedness than religious and secular beliefs. The philosophy also engaged with Buddhism and Taoism in China; however, as Buddhism’s spiritual religion has gained popularity, Confucianism has declined. Overall, Confucianism is still seen as an ideological force in the Chinese people and contributes to scholarly and philosophical pursuits.
The presence of Sikhism is limited to regions in the Asian continent, Northern India and Eastern Pakistan. It is the seventh most prominent religion globally, and around 28 million people follow the faith all across. Sikhism came into origin back in the 15th century from Guru Granth Sahib. Religion believes in principles of social justice, human equality, faith, and meditation. The first of the leaders of the religion, Guru Nanak, is worshipped mainly by them, after which nine gurus have succeeded him.
Zoroastrianism is among the oldest religion across the globe too. The belief is present in Iran’s areas (back then, Persia), Iraq, and India, and around 190,000 people follow the faith across the globe. The founder is Zoroaster, a religious teacher and thinker in 700-500 BCE. According to the faith, the religion believes in heaven and hell, messianism, which evolved from Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The sacred text of the religion is Avesta, which has writings of Zoroaster and other scriptural philosophy. After the Islam domination of Iran, the religion has witnessed a decline. However, there are still followers of the faith around the region to date.
After the Jews have migrated from Egypt way back in the thirteenth century BCE, they began following one God based on Monotheism types, that is, Judaism. This religion is based on the sacred texts Torah, Talmud, and Midrash. There are around 14 million practitioners and believers of the Judaism faith to date, which constitute approximately 0.2 per cent of the entire world’s population. The United States of America and Israel have the highest population of Jews in the world.
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Rastafarianism is much of newer religion that originated as a movement against political oppression from the British in the Jamaican region. It is based on Monotheism, which believes in the deity Jah. Although they hold Bible as their scripture, the interpretation and beliefs differ widely given their day-to-day lives and realities in the region. It has emerged only around the 20th century, and around 700,000 people practice the religion.
Druze is heavily concentrated around the Southern Syrian region, and it is more of an ethnoreligious group that originated from the Druze mountain region. Around 800,000 people are practising Druze, and all of them are based in Middle Eastern areas. The Druze consider themselves direct descendants of Jethro, who is the father-in-law of Moses. Jethro, for Druzes, is the hidden prophet. They are Monotheistic and believe only in one God. They draw prayers and beliefs from Islam and have principles from philosophers such as Plato and faith in reincarnation as Hindus. Their worship and principles are hybrid and well-blend, as mentioned. Most of the Druze community is present in today’s Lebanon, Syria, and Israel.
Shinto is a popular tradition that is native to the Japanese country. Although it hasn’t started as a religion, the belief was more of mythology and a cultural entity. It was in place way back from the sixth century CE. The Shinto have public shrines, which help in the interaction with the spirits. They are artefacts that observe in the tradition. There are a whopping more than 80,000 Shinto Shrines in Japan. Overall, around 26 per cent of Japanese people visit the shrines and believe them.
The Bahá’í faith was founded by the Bahá’u’lláh way back in 1863 in Persia (today’s Iran). The belief is a hybrid of all the ideologies and religions that emphasizes and teaches the importance of universal religions, secular togetherness, unity, and equality. The faith has both teachings from Islam as well as Christianity. There are around six to seven million believers and followers of the religion today across the globe.
14. African Traditional Religions:
We all know that there was a European slave trace very long back in history in Africa. Colonization and related practices have had a significant impact on the African diaspora. As a result, in the subcontinent today, we see various religious groups with different spirituals, rituals, and customs influenced by their past geographic surroundings. Several African types of religions were born as a result that emerged from groups in other regions. The most prominent ones include the following:
Batuque; Candomblé; Dahomey mythology; Haitian mythology; Kumina; Macumba; Mami Wata; Obeah; Oyotunji; Palo; Ifa; Lucumi; Hudu; Quimbanda; Santería (Lukumi); Umbanda; Vodou
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15. Indigenous American Religions:
We also have various native American types of religions with different sets of customs, faiths, practices, and deities, along with multiple rituals followed by the continent’s indigenous population. These were dated way back. Even the region was occupied as colonies. The tribes and nomadic groups inhabited here believed in animistic, monotheistic, and polytheistic religions. To date, the descendants from the families of nomadic groups and tribes follow and practice and worship the customs of the ancestors of Native Americans. Although few of them faded away gradually after Europeans arrived and settled in the region, we still have several prevalent religions that include,
Earth Lodge religion; Indian Shaker religion; Longhouse religion; Mexicayoti; Peyote religion; Waashat religion.
We hope you have explored and learned something new today about the various types of religions across the globe. These are not the end and only religions that exist all across, but the dominant ones are still present around us.
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers:
1. Which countries in the whole world are most religious?
The European continent countries and others such as Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, and the Czech Republic are known to be the most religious ones in the entire world.
2. Which country has the highest population who are atheists?
According to a recent survey poll, China has the highest population who voted that they do not believe in God. There are around 200 million who are atheists there.
3. Which religion in the world is known to be the most non-violent one?
Jainism and Buddhism practice and follow ahimsa, nonviolence, as a core principle of their faith and religion.
4. Which countries in the world have the highest number of Hindu religious people?
India, Nepal, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia have the highest number of people from Hinduism.
5. Which religion is increasing fast in the world as of today?
According to research conducted by a center in America, Islam is the highest and fastest-growing religion given the demographic growth and trends globally.
All the information on different types of religions is only given from the sources found on the internet and educational websites. This information is to be used only for knowledge purposes solely. We are not responsible for any error.