Summaries of World Religions

There are thousands of different world religions. Some of the main religions of the world are described below.

Baha’i was founded in 19th century Persia, and emphasizes the spiritual unity of all mankind. There are over five million people in the world who practice this faith, and it is most widespread in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, also known as “the Buddha”. Hisaim was to help people escape suffering. Buddhism originated in Nepal and is one of the major religions of the world with approximately 500 million followers.

Confucianism was developed from the teachings of Chinese philosopher Confucius, and is primarily an ethical system. There are about six million Confucians in the world, mainly in Asia.

Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam. There are about 837 million Hindus in the world, primarily in India and Nepal.

Islam originated with the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. Those who practice the teachings of Islam are known as Muslims. There are approximately 1 billion Muslims in the world.

Judaism is one of the oldest religions. There are about 13 million Jews, most reside in Israel and the U.S.

Taoism has influenced Eastern Asia for over two thousand years. It is widespread in China and Asia.

Christianity is divided into thousands of different denominations:

  • Catholicism is strongly committed to tradition, and was the original Christian church. There are more than a billion Catholics in the world, and about half the world’s Christians are Catholic.
  • Eastern Orthodox is the second largest Christian church in the world with about 225 million members worldwide.
  • Baptists practice believer’s baptism by immersion. There are about 110 million Baptists worldwide.
  • The Church of Christ follows a doctrine based on the Bible alone and has about 5 million members worldwide.
  • Lutheranism identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, who launched the Protestant reformation.
  • Methodists have about 70 million members worldwide.
  • Presbyterians place emphasis on life long learning and have about 2.3 million members worldwide.
  • Pentecostals emphasize direct personal experience with God through the Holy Spirit. There are about 250 million members worldwide.
  • Seventh Day Adventists observe Saturday as the Sabbath and have about 15 million members worldwide.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses are well-known for door to door preaching and have about 7 million members worldwide.

Some religions that have been influenced by Christianity include the following:

  • Mormons believe in the Book of Mormon and have about 12 million members.
  • Quakers believe in a direct experience with God and have about 360,000 members
  • Episcopalism is considered midway between Catholicism and Protestantism. There are over 2 million members worldwide.
  • Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion characterized by a responsible search for truth and meaning.

Some smaller religious groups include the Rosicrucian Order, Shinto, and Sikhism. Each religion offers its followers away to develop a philosophy of life and make sense of the universe.

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