Major religions ranked by number of adherents.

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by DKSuddeth, Aug 15, 2004.

  1. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
    top religions by size

    Christianity: 2 billion

    Islam: 1.3 billion

    Hinduism: 900 million

    Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 850 million

    Buddhism: 360 million

    Chinese traditional religion: 225 million

    primal-indigenous: 150 million

    African Traditional & Diasporic: 95 million

    Sikhism: 23 million

    Juche: 19 million

    Spiritism: 14 million

    Judaism: 14 million

    Baha'i: 6 million

    Jainism: 4 million

    Shinto: 4 million

    Cao Dai: 3 million

    Tenrikyo: 2.4 million

    Neo-Paganism: 1 million

    Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand

    Rastafarianism: 700 thousand

    Scientology: 600 thousand

    Zoroastrianism: 150 thousand
     
  2. Zhukov
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    Zhukov VIP Member

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    Wow. I didn't realize there were so many secularist. That number could however be inflated due to communist countries like China.

    Not many people would have confessed to being Eastern Orthodox or Catholic in the Soviet Union and it's satellite states back before '91. The situation has since changed a bit.
     
  3. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    Chinese traditional religion: In older world religion books the estimates of the total number of adherents of Confucianism range up to 350 million. Other books, including older versions of the Encyclopedia Britannica, have listed Chinese religionists under "Taoism," with adherent estimates up to about 200 million. But these figures are all based on counts of the same segment of Chinese people throughout the world -- people practicing what is, sociologically, more accurately called Chinese traditional religion, and often called Chinese folk religion. The word "traditional" is preferable to "folk" because "folk" might imply only the local, tribal customs and beliefs such as ancestor worship and nature beliefs. But "Chinese traditional religion" is meant to categorize the common religion of the majority Chinese culture: a combination of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, as well as the traditional non-scriptural/local practices and beliefs. For most religious Chinese who do not explicitly follow a different religion such as Islam or Christianity, these different ancient Chinese philosophies and traditions form a single, seamless composite religious culture and worldview.

    Communist laws banning most religion and recent rapid changes introducing increasing openness make accurate estimates difficult to obtain. Recent figures for the number of "Chinese religionists" include 220 and 225 million.

    In comparative religion texts Confucianism, Taoism and Chinese Buddhism are sometimes addressed in three separate chapters, and sometimes treated in one chapter as "Chinese religion." Even today there are very valid reasons for distinguishing Taoism from Confucianism, and distinguishing both from Chinese Buddhism and non-scriptural Chinese folk religion. For religious, philosophical, historical and scriptural purposes, distinguishing between these separate traditions is quite manageable. There are a number of people who identify themselves specifically as "Taoist" (In 1990-1991 there were 23,000 in the U.S., 1,720 in Canada, and 324 in New Zealand, for example.) There are a smaller number of people, including non-Chinese, who consciously practice a "pure" form of Taoist religion (often Tao-Te-Ching-based), unconcerned with Confucianism, Chinese folk practices, ancestor devotion, etc.

    Fifty years ago religious Taoism was one of the largest, strongest institutions in China. Since the Cultural Revolution and the government's campaign to destroy non-Communist religion, Taoism lost, for the most part, the main mechanism through which it remained distinct from the larger Chinese religious environment: its large numbers of temples and Taoist clergy. Although Islam, Buddhism and Christianity have bounced back and even surpassed pre-Communist levels in China, Taoism has not. Today, despite the existence of some self-identified Taoists and pure Taoists in the West, Taoism is difficult to isolate as a large, independent religion from a statistical and sociological perspective. Hence, in this list, which is explicitly statistical and sociological in perspective, Taoism should be thought of as a major branch of Chinese traditional religion.

    The situation is similar with Confucianism. In the latest edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica lists over 5 million Confucianists in its summary table of world religions. Their note explains that these are Confucianists outside of China, mostly in Korea. (The Encyclopedia lists "Chinese folk religion" separately.) It is true that recent census data show about five million Koreans name Confucianism as their religion, and there are even some Confucian schools and institutes in Korea. But the Adherents.com list leaves these Confucianists under the "Chinese traditional religion" grouping, rather than separating them based only on what country they live in.
     
  4. freeandfun1
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    freeandfun1 VIP Member

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    Frankly, most Asians I know (both in the USA and in Asia) are Christians, but they also continue to practice a lot of their old beliefs (even my wife, while going to church, still uses Feng Shui and Budhist symbols around the house).

    My wife (who is Korean) doesn't view Confucianism as a religion. It is just a way of life according to her. I really don't know though.
     
  5. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Didn't see Mormonism or Jehovah's Witnesses in there... are they wrapped up under the Christianity banner?
     
  6. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    would be my guess, they are christian religions like baptist or methodist, right? at least I think so.
     
  7. freeandfun1
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    Mormons = Latter Day Saints

    LDS and Jeh are mentioned as being in with Christianity.
     
  8. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Neither Mormonism or Jehovah's Witnesses are considered to be Christian denominations by Christians, though their theologies are based on Christian teachings.

    Mormon theology clearly contradicts Christian theology. First, it is somewhat polytheistic, in that they believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three seperate beings. Moreover, Mormonism teaches that God was once a human being on another planet (in another universe) who, through the disciplines of Mormonism, became a god. He and his goddess-wife procreated a finite number of "spirit children" which are now humans on earth (this is why Mormons have so many children; the sooner all the spirit children are born into human form, the sooner the end of the world comes). Jesus and Lucifer are literally brothers who both presented redemption plans to God; when Jesus' plan won, Lucifer turned evil. There are three levels of heaven, which most people (including non-believers) will enter. Hell is reserved for murderers and those who convert out of Mormonism. Mormonism also uses books besides the Bible as their primary scriptures, though they say that the Bible is correct "insofar as it is translated correctly." They also believe that the current head of the Mormon church is a living prophet whose word carries the weight of Scripture; in this sense, there is never any end to Mormon scripture, as there is to the Christian Bible.

    Jehovah's Witnesses believe that there will only be 144,000 people saved out of the whole world, and that people must work to earn their place among the 144,000. They also believe that Jesus is not God, but that they are two separate gods. They have their own Bible translation (the New World Translation) that supports this theology. While they look very Christian, their doctrines of salvation by works and the denial of the Trinity place them solidly outside Christian beliefs.
     
  9. KLSuddeth
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    KLSuddeth Guest

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    This is one time that Im truly not being a smart ass in asking the following question.....

    DK, what in the world is your point in posting this? Im just curious - the wheels in your head tend to spin oddly as it is (lol) but generally you have a 'point' to your posts. what is this one, please?

    thanks
     
  10. KLSuddeth
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    exactly - so it would be my thought that if they (meaning whomever came up with the circle chart) lumped religions that are in misalignment with Chritiantiy, then it would lead me to question the validity of said chart.

    But hey....thats just me
     

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