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Top 10 Religions and What They Believe

Updated on November 18, 2016

Top World Religions

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7.5 Billion beliefs (and growing)

The results are a bit surprising. With the current world population at 7.5 billion people, the rate at which some religions are growing and declining give good indication of how the attitudes and influences of countries can change the course of the world. Everything is affected by the power of religions (or the lack of it).

To start, lets find out what you currently may think of what is the top religion.

Top Dog

Which of the listed religions have the most members

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The Top Ten

Even the most scientific study can not accurately determine the exact number of people for each religion, but most are within an assumable range. Below are the top 10 religions grouped as a composite including all sects, denominations, orders, etc. within each.

Rank
Religion
No. of Members
1
Christianity
2.1 billion
2
Islam
1.3 billion
3
Hinduism
851 million
4
Buddhism
375 million
5
Sikhism
25 million
6
Judaism
15 million
7
Baha'ism
7.5 million
8
Confucianism
6.4 million
9
Jainism
4.5 million
10
Shintoism
2.8 million
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1. Christianity

Christianity is comprised of huge denominational and other hugely seperational differences. It is based on the writings of the Old Testament and of Jesus who Christians believe is the Son of God and that he is party of a three in one Godhead; The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost. Most Christians within the religion believe that the death of Jesus is the very cornerstone of their faith. Some within the Christian Faith also believe that faith plus good works is required for salvation and to go to Heaven when they die.

Christianity is basically broken down into three distinct branches: Catholicism, Orthodox, and Protestant. The largest of the three is Catholicism with 1 billion members followed by Protestant.


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2. Islam

The followers of Islam are called Muslims. They follow the teachings of Muhammad. They believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad. Muslims claim that Muhammad is the last of the prophets. They do not claim that Muhammad started a new religion but he restored the original faith brought by Moses, Jesus and the prophets before them.

There are two primary denominations within Islam; the Sunni and the Shl'a. About 85% of all muslims are Sunni. Most believe that the angel Gabriel spoke directly to Muhammad giving him the verses for the Qur'an.

Islam considers itself to be the supreme religion and therefore never become subject to any other religion.

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3. Hinduism

There is no one founder of Hinduism. It is a mix of very diverse traditions and beliefs. Hinduism is the oldest known existent religion. It is approaching close to 1 billion members, most of which live in India and Nepal.

Hinduism religious dharma (religious living) is based on a huge collection of scriptures that were remembered and developed over millennia. The range of subjects cover theology, philosophy, and mythology.

Some of the written texts a re known as, the Vedas, the Upanishads, Tantras, the Agamas, to name a few. The Bhagavad is regarded sometimes thought of as a summary of the Vedas.

Hindus believe in the continuing cycle of birth, death, life, and rebirth. They also believe in Karma, yogas, They believe parts of many other religions including atheism.

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4. Buddhism

Buddhism, or as also known, Buddha Dharma, or Dhamma. which is approximately translated as "the teachings of the Awakened One".

In Buddhism, any one who achieves an understanding and awakes from "the sleep of ignorance" (meaning understanding the true nature of reality) and then teaches it to others, is known as a true buddha. There is not one buddha, there have been many and will be future buddhas also.

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5. Sikhism

Sikhism originated in India by Guru Nanak and was followed subsequently by a lineage of ten more Gurus. These ten are thought of as the mediators of divine grace. It has a combination of elements that are drawn from Islamic Sufism and Bhakti Hinduism and in turn, created a religion of their own. Breaking away from the karmic cycle of rebirth has become a merging of the human spirit with the very spirit of God himself. They believe that by contemplating the divine Name, that a person can conquer the ego and unite with God.

The compilation of all of the Sikh scriptures and the writings of the ten gurus, is now regarded as their sacred book.


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6. Judaism

Judaism is the religion that is practiced by the Jewish people. It is primarily based on the Old Testament and the Talmud. Tradition states that it is based on a Covenant between God and Abraham. It is thought of as the oldest religion of the world that is still practiced today.

Jews believe in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, transcendent God, who created the universe and continues to watch over and interact with it. Many Jews believe that, although current priest are more symbolic, when the time comes, and when the new "third temple" arises, these priest will be actively part of it



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7. Baha'ism

Baha’i began in Iran in the 1800's by Mirza Husayn Ali. He believed that he was the prophet foretold by the Bab, who was believed to be a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad. Mirza Husayn Ali was persecuted and he died as a prisoner in Palestine.

Baha’i believe that all religions teach the same truth. They reject prejudice–racial, political,and otherwise. They teach ethical teachings such as world peace, education, and sexual equality. They believe that God is unknowable. They believe that one God created the earth.

Prophets recognized by Baha'i include Adam, all the Jewish prophets, Jesus, and Muhammed. Their holy book is called Kitab al-Aqdas which gives instructions for living.


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8. Confucianism

Confucianism is a Chinese set of beliefs that were taught by Confucius. philosphical and ethical beliefs that were taught by the sage Confucius. It was used as a way of governing the political system until it was upset by the Cultural Revolution in the People’s Republic of China.

Confucianism aims at making not simply the man of virtue, but the man of learning and of good manners. The perfect man must combine the qualities of a saint, a scholar, and agentleman. Confucianism is a religion that doesn't necessarily reveal new revelations, does not have a lot of dogmatic teaching, and where worship is centered around respect for the dead.

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9. Jainism

Jainism has co-existed alongside Hinduism even though it is a minority of the population. The religion was started by Mahavira. who is thought to be the most recent of a long line of twenty-four teachers It teaches a belief in enlightenment through rejection of the world. Jains do not believe in a god and they try to end reincarnations by strict self-denial and self control.

Jainism also place great emphasis on not harming of living things . Many Jains often use a small brush to sweep the ground in front of them so they don’t step on bugs or small insects.

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10. Shintoism

Shinto is a belief that started in Japan and is greatly influenced by Buddhism and othe Chinese religions. Shinto does not believe in one all powerful god. It practices a large set of rituals and ceremonies rather that specific beliefs. It believes in many gods such as seperate gods of animals, trees, mountains, springs, boulders, the sun, and sometimes even ancestors. Offerings for each are made and then eaten.

Most of the ceremonies involve dance and they use branches dipped in holy water. The women many time will fall into trances and then speak on behalf of the gods.


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Athesim

Athesims, although not listed as a religion also has a great following. If it were ranked, it would be ranked right around number four with an estimated number of practioners at just over 500 million.

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