Religions worldwide

World Religions

Christianity and Islam are, without doubt, on top of every comparison. The enormous distribution of Hinduism based almost entirely on the high population in India.

Surprising: In the last few decades, the popularity of Buddhism and people unaffiliated with any religion has been rising constantly.

Also remarkable: Minor but independent religions, which are not based on Christianity or Islam, can almost only be found in the eastern and southern parts of Asia.
ReligionDistributionWorldwide percentageTotal worldwide
Christianityworldwide29.4 %2,321,990,000
Islamworldwide24.1 %1,901,550,000
Hinduismworldwide15.1 %1,189,060,000
nondenominationalworldwide13.9 %1,097,840,000
Buddhismworldwide4.9 %390,450,000
Local chinese beliefsChina (18%), Hong Kong (49%)3.2 %250,800,000
ShintoJapan (79%)1.3 %99,540,000
TaoismEast Asia, Southeast Asia0.9 %74,190,000
Sikhismworldwide0.4 %30,420,000
Chuch'eNorth Korea (64%)0.2 %16,700,000
Jewryworldwide0.2 %15,830,000
AnimismAfrica, Asia0.1 %9,482,000
JainismIndia (0%)0.1 %5,630,000
SpiritualismBrazil (2%), Tokelau (0%)0.1 %4,715,000
CaodaismVietnam (5%)0.1 %4,678,000
ShamanismMongolia (3%), North Korea (16%)0.1 %4,253,000
ChondoismNorth Korea (14%)0.0 %3,506,000
BahaismAsia, Oceania0.0 %3,341,000
VoodooBenin (17%), Haiti (2%)0.0 %2,489,000
MayansGuatemala (9%)0.0 %1,540,000
HoahaoismVietnam (1%)0.0 %1,365,000
YazidismWestern Asia, Western Europe0.0 %1,063,000
KirantsNepal (3%)0.0 %931,000
BadimoBotswana (6%)0.0 %155,000
MaoriNew Zealand (1%)0.0 %67,000
RastafariCaribbean0.0 %40,000
ManaSao Tome and Principe (2%)0.0 %6,000
ModekngeiPalau (9%)0.0 %2,000
InuitsGreenland (1%)0.0 %1,000

Definition of "world religions"

Religions worldwide The term is not clearly defined. Roughly speaking, it divides different faiths into independent religions. But this already raises the question as to what one regards as an independent religion. For example, the gods of Greek and Roman mythology have many things in common. Also, in today's Christianity, there are striking similarities with Islam, Judaism and Yazidism. In fact, all four religions go back to the monotheistic faith in progenitor Abraham. Here the concept of the world religion is used as subdivision into separately directed or interpreted religions, where the origins clearly differ from others.

Characteristics of Deities

Religion is a collective term that at first only states that its followers believe in something supernatural and supersensual. In most religions, these are one or more gods or at least holy beings, like souls, ancestors or spirits. Prophets or shamans often act as mediators or "diplomats" between humans and supernatural beings. The worship of a deity is not important here. For example, Buddhism does not know a god, but orients itself towards an "awakened" human being by trying to awaken oneself through meditation and ethical behavior. Also, numerous other Asian religions are based on such a philosophical teaching. Due to their lack of deity, these religions are often also called worldviews.

The oldest religions date back to the Middle Paleolithic, which dates back about 120,000 years. Grave goods and cave paintings were found from this time period that suggest the worship of the supernatural.

Decline in religious affiliations

In the course of secularization, there are increasingly stronger counter-movements and withdrawals from religious communities. In Europe in particular, this trend has increased noticeably over the last 30 years. Churches and synagogues in many countries complain of declining membership numbers. According to surveys, however, many of those who have resigned do not turn their backs on religion as such, but on the authority of the religious community. With increasing freedom of religion and weakening social consequences, one renounces the institutionalization of the faith, which is often also occupied with church taxes or other obligatory levies. At the same time, however, one retains the principles of one's former religion.