10. Confucianism (6-7 million followers)
We are not going to get into the debate if it is a religion or not. Many people say that it is not a religion, and it is just a philosophy, but the followers consider it as their religion, and they follow it with all their hearts. The great Chinese philosopher Confucius laid the foundation of Confucianism. The main focus of Confucianism is the respect of elders, parents, and ancestors. So basically, we can say that it is highly moralistic. People say that it came into existence to save China from the fall. After the Zhou Dynasty’s fall, this religion or philosophy brought social order among the people and taught them about the importance of relationships. A son needs to fulfill the wishes of his parents and respect them. It is all about love, care, harmony, and respect. Learning is also an essential principle of Confucianism, and it says that a person never stops learning.
9. Judaism (14.5 million followers)
When it comes to monotheistic religions, Judaism is considered one of the world’s oldest religions. Falling in the category of Abrahamic faiths, it is a significant religion in the Middle East as it has its roots there since the Bronze age. Jews, followers of Judaism fall into three different categories. Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Orthodox Judaism, listed from least conservative to most. But they have the same belief system. The only difference in some practices and interpretations of their holy scriptures. Their religious books are the Torah, consisting of five books of Moses, and the oral tradition called Talmud. 43% of Jews can be found in Israel, while the same number of people reside in the USA and Canada combined.
8. Sikhism (30 million followers)
Sikhism is not as old as Judaism; it is a young religion. Sikhism came into existence in the 1500s CE by Guru Nanak in Punjab. Guru Nanak grew up as a Hindu, and at that time, Mughals (Muslims) ruled India, but he didn’t choose any of the two religions. He started preaching a religion of his own and gained many followers. The Sikh people follow the principle of helping everyone, and they are known for their helpful nature. Even though most of the Sikh community is found in India, many Sikhs immigrated to other countries around the globe, such as Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, etc.
7. Falun Gong (80-100 million followers)
Falun Gong or Falun Dafa is a system of beliefs and spiritual practices, an amalgamation of meditation and moral philosophy. The founder of the religion is Li Hongzhi, and it gained a lot of popularity in 1992, starting from Changchun (a northeastern city in China). It also had support from the government, and it also attracted people because of the philosophical and moral teachings and health benefits. However, tensions escalated between the Falun Gong practitioners and the Communist party. When the followers protested for official recognition, authorities ordered to crush Falun Gong. Today Falun Gong has become an essential voice against one-party rule.
6. Shinto (100 million followers)
The meaning of the word Shinto is “the way of the Gods.” Shintoism and Japanese culture go hand in hand, and this religion is limited to Japan. The traditions of Japan were collected and described as Shinto in 800 CE. The followers believe in many gods, and almost 80 percent of the Japanese follow Shintoism. A unique quality of Shintoism is that people do not need to declare that they follow Shintoism officially. Calculating the precise number of people who practice this religion is complicated, but almost eighty percent of people make Shinto prayers and keep shrines. Even those who declare that they don’t follow any religion).
5. Taoism (12-173 million followers)
It is complicated to calculate the number of Taoism followers because of the many factors that define Taoism. Some say that Taoism or Daoism is not a unified religion, and it is a combination of various teachings. A survey noted that in 2010 almost 950 million, 70 percent of the Chinese population, follow one or other Chinese folk religions. Out of these 950 million, 173 million said they practice Taoism. And 12 million claims that they are Taoists (priests or experts of Taoism). Taoism is also supported by the Chinese communist party and officially approved it in 1957. Other than China, people of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore also follow Taoism.
4. Buddhism (520 million followers)
Siddharth Gautam founded Buddhism almost 2500 ago. Siddharth Gautam, also known as Buddha, was born in Nepal as a warrior prince’s son. He had a pampered life, but all the sufferings of people troubled him, and left the kingdom and went to India in search of the solution of human sufferings. He denied all the luxuries, and lastly, he reached conclusions and taught what he found to his followers. His teachings were different from what people believed in India at that time. He believed that not only the Brahmin caste should be allowed to perform religious functions. He thought it is everyone’s right to be enlightened.
3. Hinduism ( 1.2 billion followers)
We can say that Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion because its history can be traced back to 1500 BCE. Out of 1.2 billion, many Hindus reside in Southern Asian countries, including India, Indonesia, and Nepal. It is highly geographically concentrated, with 1.07 billion Hindus Living in Nepal and India out of 1.2 billion. It is a religion of many Gods, and Visas are holy scriptures of Hinduism that discuss the Universe, God’s, and the creation. Bhagavad Gita is one of spirtual book of hindus. Hinduism is gradually becoming popular worldwide as some Hinduism’s foundings are becoming popular, such as Yoga and the knowledge of the body’s Chakra system.
2. Islam (1.8 billion followers)
Followers of Islam are known as Muslims, and they believe that there is only one God (Allah) who created the universe. Muslims consider Qur’an as their holy book, and they believe that it is the word of God. Islam is also one of the most significant monotheistic religions of the world, and it has many similarities with Christianity. In Islam, people believe that Prophet Muhammad was the last messenger of Allah, and he played a significant role in spreading Islam. Muslims believe that Qur’an contains the answer to every question of humanity, and it gives them instructions on how to live their life. Islam is currently the fastest-growing religion.
1. Christianity (2.4 billion followers)
Christianity, with almost 2.4 billion followers, is the world’s largest religion. Christianity revolves around the teachings and life of Jesus Christ, who is considered the only son of God. Christians hold around 33 percent of the total population of the world. If we put it in other words, every third person on earth is a Christian. According to Pew research, Christianity will remain the largest religion, and in the upcoming four decades, and according to calculations, followers of Christianity will reach 3 billion.
Every religion is beautiful in itself, and we should respect the beliefs of others.