A list of the world’s religions

Sunday January 10 2010

By John K. Abimanyi

Christianity

Also a monotheistic religion, it is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. It believes that Jesus is the son of God and that he became man to come to earth, died, and rose again to save mankind. It also believes that he will return to commit judgment on all beings, dead or alive at the end of time. Its teachings are based on the Hebrew Bible. It’s estimated to have 2.1 billion followers worldwide. Its divisions include the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant Church, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Orthodox Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter Day Saint Movement, and Independent Christian Church among others.

Islam
This is a monotheistic religion rooted in the teachings of the Qur’an. Its major personality is the prophet Mohammed and is based on the total submission to the will of Allah, or God. It has a following of 1.5 billion believers world over, according to Wikipedia.

Secular/ Atheist
A religion based on the belief that there is no God or any spiritual being apart from what is physically visible. Followers here do not believe in supernatural happenings or miracles for that matter and seem to live by the creed that requires the presence of empirical evidence. It’s estimated to have over 1.1 billion followers worldwide.

Hinduism
A religion formed of various traditions in India and not having any one single founder. It’s estimated to have 900 million followers, with most of them in the Indian subcontinent.

Buddhism
It also has a variety of traditions but is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who was known as the “Buddha”. His teachings toured a series of insights on how to avoid suffering. Its belief in Karma asserts that when one dies, their conduct on earth determines what they will become in the afterlife or rebirth. It has over 350 million followers.

African Traditional Religion
This is a description of all indigenous religions from Africa. They are as divergent as the societies in Africa are divergent, and are still largely practiced today. God is worshipped through consultation with a lesser spirit and these very spirits are perpetually appeased through the sacrifice of animals and plants. Estimated to have more than 100 million followers.

Sikhism
It is based in Punjab, India, on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev. Its main belief is in the waheguru, which means universal God. It attributes both human and non human attributes to God, with one able to interpret God as the universe itself. Estimated to have 23 million followers.

Judaism
It’s a set of beliefs originating from the Hebrew Bible. It is based on the covenant between God and Abraham and does not follow any specific human figure. Estimated to have 14 million followers.

Baha’i
Based in Haifa, Israel, it’s a faith that believes in the unity of God, unity of mankind, and unity of religion. Estimated to have 7 million followers.

Rastafarian
Its believers worship Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia and it encompasses the use of drugs like cannabis. It rejects western society as Babylon and proclaims Africa as Zion. It has spread through reggae music and is estimated to have 600,000 followers.

— Compiled from Internet sources

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