There are more than 4,300 religions in the word. This number is constantly growing every decade. According to Adherents, this is an independent and non-religiously affiliated organisation that monitors the numbers and sizes of the world’s religions. It has over, 43,870 adherent statistics and religious geography citations.
In this article we will cover 7 most influential religions in the world. Almost 75% of the world’s population practices Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.
Islam and Christianity are the most widely spread religions in the word. Interesting fact is that if all non-religious people formed a single religion it would be the world’s 3rd largest religion.
Below you will find top 7 largest religions in the world with numbers by believers and top areas where these religions are practiced.
The world’s 7 largest religions and their number of believers are:
1. Christianity (2.17Billion believers)
Christianity is the most widely practiced religion in the world, with more than 2 billion believers. The Christian faith focuses on beliefs regarding the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This religion started with a small group of supporters, many historians regard the spread and adoption of Christianity throughout the world as one of the most successful spiritual missions in human history. Learn more about Christians.
Key Jesus’s teachings:
- Love God.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Ask God for forgiveness of your sins.
- Repentance of sins is essential.
- Don’t be hypocritical.
- Don’t kill.
- Don’t judge others.
- The Kingdom of God is near. It’s not the rich and powerful—but the weak and poor—who will inherit this kingdom.
2. Muslims (1.6Billion believers)
Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity. Islam is making it the youngest of the major world religions, because scholars typically date the creation of Islam to the 7th century. Islam started in Mecca, in modern-day Saudi Arabia, during the time of the prophet Muhammad’s life. Today, the faith is spreading rapidly throughout the world.
Five Pillars of Islam:
Muslims follow five basic pillars that are essential to Islam:
- Zakat: to give to those who are in need
- Shahada: to declare one’s faith in God and belief in Muhammad
- Salat: to pray five times during a day (at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening)
- Sawm: to fast during Ramadan
- Hajj: to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during a person’s lifetime if the person is able
3. Irreligious (1.13Billion believers)
Irreligion, or nonreligion, is the lack or rejection of religion, or higher power. According to the Pew Research Center‘s 2012 global study of 230 countries and territories, 16% of the world’s population is not affiliated with any religion. The population of religiously unidentified people, grew significantly in recent years, though its future growth is uncertain and can’t be predicted.
4. Hinduism (1.03Billion believers)
Hinduism is not an organized or structured religion and has no single, systematic approach to teaching its value system. Nor do Hindus have a simple set of rules to follow like the Ten Commandments as Christians have . Local, regional, caste, and community-driven practices influence the interpretation and practice of beliefs throughout the Hindu world.
Key beliefs shared among Hindus:
- Truth is eternal
- Brahman is Truth and Reality
- The Vedas are the ultimate authority
- Everyone should strive to achieve dharma
- Individual souls are immortal
- The goal of the individual soul is moksha
5. Buddhism (488Million believers)
Buddhism is a religion that was founded more than 2,500 years ago in India by Siddhartha Gautama (“Buddha”). Buddhism belief movement has historically been most known in East and Southeast Asia, but its influence is growing in the West in last decade. A lot of Buddhist ideas and philosophies overlap with other faiths covered in this article.
Key Buddha’s teachings:
- Don’t killing living things
- Don’t taking what is not given
- Don’t sexually misconduct
- Don’t lie
- Don’t use drugs or alcohol
6. Folk religion (405Million believers)
Folk religion is mix which was made of certain ethnic or regional religious traditions that practice under the guise of an established religion, but is outside the range of official belief practice. Folk religion’s local or native beliefs are held all over the world, particularly in specific parts of South America, Africa, China, and Southeast Asia. The largest folk religion in the world is the Chinese folk religion which has an estimated 400 million believers worldwide.
7. Jewish (13Million believers)
Judaism is the world’s oldest monotheistic religion developed by the ancient Hebrews, dating back nearly 4,000 years. Followers of Judaism believe in one God who revealed himself through ancient prophets. The history of Judaism is essential to understanding the Jewish faith, which has the complex phenomenon of a total way of life for the Jewish people, comprising theology, law, and innumerable cultural traditions.
Key Jews teachings:
- There is only one God
- There are no other gods
- God can’t be subdivided into different persons (unlike the Christian view of God)
- God is above and beyond all earthly things
- God doesn’t have a body which means that God is neither female nor male.
- God created the universe without help
- God is everywhere, all the time
- God has always existed
- God punishes the bad
- God rewards the good
- God is personal and accessible
- God is interested in each individual
- God sometimes speaks to individuals, but in unexpected ways