Religion is actually a cultural system which integrates humanity with a pre-determined set of beliefs and values. Sometimes the word “faith” is also used for religion but it differs in a way that faith is used to depict anyone’s private belief and religion refers to public as a whole. Some religions are solely composed of beliefs and there are some which emphasize the need to practice the faith and beliefs. As Jibran Khalil put it “Faith is the knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.”
Top 10 most organized religions in the world are:
The beliefs and practices of the Japanese people are well portrayed by this religion of Shintoism. It actually connects the modern day Japan with that of the ancient one. The spirit of Japan lies in this religion. The interesting fact about this is it has no founder or official scriptures but even then its beliefs are preserved and practiced in true letter and spirit by around 4 million members. Their practices include worship and offerings to kami at shrines and at home. Shinto kami were considered as protectors of Buddhism.
This is an Indian religion which began in the sixth century, the same time when Buddhism was developing. It stresses on the need of non-violence and spreads the message of mutual cooperation among the humans. The jinas, after which the name of the religion is assigned, were the spiritual conquerors who achieved liberation. The estimated members of this religion are 4.2 million.
It is a system which is mixture of philosophy and ethics and is prevalent in China. It is the brainchild of a Chinese philosopher, Confucius. This is not circumscribed to ethics and beliefs only but extends to social, political and moral thoughts. The roots of Confucianism are deeply entrenched in China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. It has around 6.3 million followers.
This religion was founded by Mirza Hoseyn ‘Ali Nuri, also known as Baha’ Ullah, in the middle of 19th century in Iran. The followers of this religion believe that Baha ‘Ullah and his forerunner, who was known as the Bab, are the reflection of God. It has around 7 million followers.
It is the religion of nation of Hebrews and is a very ancient religion still in existence. The followers of Judaism call themselves as Jews. It has around 14 million followers.
Some of the important elements of Sikhism are belief on one God; the ten Gurus and the teachings of Granth Sahib. It emerges in India at the time when the Hindu-Muslim were enduring a very contentious ambience among themselves. Its founder teacher was Guru Nanak Dev and born in 1469 to a Hindu family. It has around 23 million followers.
I would like to start this by a quotation of Buddha “ Do not dwell in the past, don’t dream of the future, concentrate your mind on the present moment.” Buddha is called the “The Enlightened One” and all followers of this religion believe strongly in meditation. There are primarily two groups in Buddhism; one that concentrate mostly in rituals and the other one who have a propensity towards meditation and ignore rituals. It has around 376 million followers.
Hindus call their religion sanatama dharma meaning eternal religion. It was founded in India and there is no founder of this religion. The major sects of this religion are Saivism, Vaisnavism and Saktism. The purpose of life as defined by this religion is to attain liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. It has around 900 million followers.
It is the second largest religion in the world and spreading by thick and fast. The Holy Book of this religion is Quran and it was received by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) at intervals. The Arabic word means “submission” which reflects the core point in this religion of succumbing to the will of God (Allah). The teachings of Islam are mainly banked upon five pillars if Islam; faith, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and alms. It has around 1.5 billion followers.
It is the world’s largest religion with around 2 billion followers. It is more dominant and widespread in Western countries and is the basic of this religion is the faith in Jesus Christ. It was found in the early 1st century A.D. There is a lot about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth in this religion.