The Top 5 Religions In The World
The crucial question underlying the identity of each human being on Planet Earth concerns religion. Indeed, before your family background, your educational qualification, or your monetary status, the faith you follow is seen as your unique recognition. And interestingly, this might be the very reason why some people ask you your name, just to gauge whether your appearance is similar to that of the followers of a certain belief. Our faith is a characteristic which we obtain with our birth, or it may also be one that a person can adopt during the course of lifetime. Religions are seen as the medium of upliftment of the human race. While they aren’t the epitome of supreme power, they sure are regarded as means to reach the power. In today’s world, where crime and stress has taken a toll on our lives, religions act as a compass to help people take the right direction, both morally and socially. There are lots of beliefs in the whole wide world; while some of them are new, others are quite ancient.
Going by the statistics, about 60% of the world’s population believe in religions, whereas 35% are non-religious, who don’t really practice rituals to appease the deities. The rest 5% are considered atheists who don’t believe in any supreme power at all.
Considering the everyday hype around beliefs, we have presented you with a rundown of the top 5 religions of the world, ranked on the basis of popularity as well as follower count.
Christianity tops the list of the most popular religions in the world. As of 2016, around 30% of population spanning the globe are Christians. Followers of Christianity are spread everywhere, from west to east, though they are more specifically clustered in the Occident. In concrete numbers, Christians have reached a whopping 2.2 billion worldwide. There are three major branches of Christianity, namely, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic. Among the 2.2 billion followers of Christianity, approximately 50% of them are Roman Catholics, 240 million comprise the Orthodox Christians and a smaller percentage of them are Protestants. The religion, Christianity was founded approximately 2000 years ago, in the middle of the first century. Christians believe in a supreme being, better known as God. They opine that God exists in three different forms- the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son. Christianity was apparently founded by Jesus Christ. Since his stepped the summit of Earth, history has been divided into two broad eras, B.C (Before Christ) and A.D (anno Domini). Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. They follow the religious text, Bible and visit the church for all their religious gatherings, commonly known as masses.
Established way back in the 1400s, Islam is one of the most ancient religions on Earth and stands second in the list of the top 5 most popular religions. Founded by Prophet Muhammad, Islam has a little over 1.5 billion followers that are categorized in two different communities called Shiites and the Sunnis. Their holy book is Qur’an, and they carry out all their religious proceedings in mosques. The followers of Islam are known as Muslims. They are pretty diverse in distribution, and scattered in many different countries of the world like India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arab, as well as other states of the middle east Asian country. The Muslims believe in an omnipotent being, Allah, who is their supreme creator and from whom all living things have come from. Their major festival is Eid-Ul-Fitr, which falls every year on the first day of “shawaal”, or the tenth month of Muslim year and following the month of fasting or Ramadan. Muslims celebrate Eid with much fervor and gaiety by donating food and clothes to the poor and feasting on delicacies to mark the end of the arduous month of fasting. The Kaaba, in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) is considered the epicenter of Islam. Muslims gather from far and wide to pray in unity and pay their respects to the Kabba. In recent years Islam has been the focal point of extremist sect’s which is extensively reported on by alternative news sites. These sites can bring an info alternative that most of the times goes against the grain of the main stream media.
Hinduism is undoubtedly the most ancient religion in the world. At present it has approximately about 900 million followers clustered primarily in the Orient and an occasional few living as expats in the Western countries. In fact, Hinduism is the most popular religion practiced in the East. Founded way back in 1500 BC, it’s believed that Hinduism has a non-human founder. As a matter of fact, there is no single founder of Hinduism, as founders hailing from almost every part of the world have contributed in its development. The followers of Hinduism are known as Hindus. Their sacred book is the Bhagwad Gita. Hinduism exists primarily in two main countries- India and Nepal. It preaches the importance of thoughts and attitudes on the control of one’s life. While the religions discussed above entail the worship of a single God, Hinduism begs to differ. Their has umpteen Gods and Goddess associated with this religion.
Buddhism is the religion of oneness. The name is derived from Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, who sacrificed his princely comforts and life of luxury for an ascetic life replete with struggles and a constant need of surviving the extreme in a bid to experience extreme purging and gain complete liberation from worldly desires and sins. Buddhism has its roots in India and in the recent date, it has over 380 million followers worldwide, with a predominant distribution in the South-East Asian countries. There are two main branches of Buddhism-Mahayana and Theravada. While Mahayana is found all throughout East Asia, Theravada has followers in Sri-Lanka and certain parts of South-East Asia. Buddhism preaches about the transient nature of materialism and the fact that the prime goal of every individual should be to perfect themselves over the course of their lifetime. Buddhism goes beyond behind just a sect; rather it is a set of doctrines that dictate a disciplined way of life, one that is bound to bring forth personal satisfaction and freedom from the chains of desires.
Sikhism stands fifth in the list of top 5 popular religions in the world. Globally, it has more than 20 million followers. Sikhism was founded in India by Guru Nanak more than 500 years ago. India, being a secular country welcomes several religions with open arms. Thus it is not surprising that the main center for Sikhism is India. Sikhism preaches about equality, discipline and compassion and shuns the age-old superstitions and blind rituals that cloud the minds of people, thereby preventing them for progressing. It also preaches in the message of devotion, as well as remembrance of the Almighty at all times.
It is said that religions can be explained in various ways. Irrespective of the founder, the place of origin or the age, each and every aforementioned religion preaches the same basic doctrines of peace, equality, compassion and control over self. They outline the victory of good over evil, and in doing so act as a reliable anchor against the turmoil and unpredictability of our fast-paced life.