Religion today influences and forms some of the most sacred, essential values commonly shared across the globe. In cultures that exist all over the world, it is the forms one of the most dominant institutions of society. For many, it explains individual suffering and social virtues, helping people find the meaning and purpose of life.
The collective message of all religions, which is social welfare, is another aspect of why religious beliefs can be very important to the world that strives to move towards more equity and harmony. Although there are many beliefs and rituals that influence religious practice across the globe, the most followed include Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Here’s a look at how powerful each of these religions is and what their beliefs and history mainly entails.
The most powerful religion in the world is Christianity with 2.4 billion adherents. This religion is followed by 33% of the world’s population which is bigger than any other number on this list. Christian beliefs, though slightly varied mostly among three main sects, believe in the father, the son and the Holy Spirit as one God or the Holy Trinity. These sects are mainly Protestantism, Catholic Christianity and Orthodox Christianity.
Islam is the second most powerful religion in the world with adherents of 1.8 billion. It is also the fastest growing religion despite being relatively newer to religions like Christianity and Judaism. The religion Islam believes in one sovereign God with Muhammad(PBUH) as His last Prophet. The teachings of Islam come from the Quran, the holy scripture of Islam. The adherents of Islam comprise 24.1% of the world’s population.
With 1.15 billion adherents all over the world who make 15% of the world’s population. While Hinduism has multiple deities whose importance can vary from person to person, most Hindus believe that Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu is the preserver and Shiva or Maheshwar is the destroyer. The goal of the religion is to break the cycle of life and death which can be attained through “moksha” or salvation.
Buddism has 521 million adherents in the world which compromise 7% of the world’s population. The founder of the religion was Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, who was the son of Śuddhodana, the King of Shakya. He raised his son in a sheltered life of luxury which Buddha rejected after seeing the harsh realities of life. The prince started a spiritual journey renouncing worldly pleasures and fasting to elevate his mind. His later life comprised of teaching the world the importance of self-discipline and how to enlighten one’s mind which continues to inspire the world to date.
Chinese traditional religion
With a number of adherents that tops 394 million, Chinese traditional religion is the fifth strongest religion in the world. Although there is difficulty in clearly defining the religious form, it has been considered a fusion of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism in the past. Chinese folk religion is a modern idea conceived by contemporary scholars. A collection of beliefs in Chinese culture are also referred to as “traditional Chinese folk religion.” These beliefs also include shamanism, ancestor worship, magic, ghosts and other spirits, and aspects of animism.
African traditional religions
The African traditional religion has an adherence of 100 million who compromise 1.40% of the world’s population. African traditional religion is the indigenous religions of the African people. African traditional religion includes beliefs in cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, and society. The Africans believe religion is a way of life, which should relate to culture and society.
Followers of Sikhism are Sikhs who are 30 million who make 0.32% of the world’s population. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion meaning that it believes in one God and started around 1500 by Guru Nanak Dev. The Holy book of Sikhism is the Guru Granth Sahib which has the Sikh teachings ninth largest religion in the world. Sikhism is most popular in Asia whose adherents can be identified by the Turban that they wear, but not all wear turbans.
Spiritism has 15 million adherents worldwide that comprise 0.21% of the world’s population. As defined by its founder, Allen Kardec, Spiritism is “a science dedicated to the relationship between incorporeal beings and human beings.” Kardec was a French educator who codified the Kardecist Spiritualism Doctrine, which aims to study spirits, their origin, nature, and destiny. It later became a popular religion which is now represented in over 30 countries.
Judaism is one of the oldest monotheistic religions with 14 million adherents. The religion was founded over 3500 years ago in the Middle East. Jews believe that God has appointed them to a precedence of holiness and ethical behavior in this world. It is a dominant religion in Israel and makes 0.20% of the world’s population.
With an adherence of 7.0 million who make 0.10% of the world, is the tenth strongest religion in the world. Bahai believes God is transcendent which cannot be known directly. The knowledge of God comes from prophets, most recent prophets of which they consider Bahá’u’lláh. The Bahai religion considers a soul that lives forever and all human beings a single global community beyond races or sexes who are unique, but equal. The religion also believes that all religions same spiritual message, despite their apparent differences and accepts the message of Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, the Buddha, Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad.