Religion

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A religion is a system of beliefs that asserts the existence of at least one of:

  1. a human soul or spirit,
  2. a deity or "higher being", or
  3. the continuation of the self after the death of one's body.

As an uncountable noun, religion is a "way of living" or the set of customs or rituals that follows from such beliefs.

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It is notoriously difficult to define what does and does not constitute a religion, due to the sheer variety of human religious beliefs and practices. Taoism and Confucianism, for instance, are sometimes described as philosophies rather than religions.

Contents

Classification

Many religions are subdivided into sects or denominations, resulting in a huge number of labels for the religious to choose from. The major world religions are typically, however, divided into three large groups:

  1. Abrahamic religions
  2. Dharmic religions
  3. Taoic religions

Major approaches to religion

Belief systems

(this list will be pared down and merged with the previous one, as necessary...)

Largest world religions

The religious traditions with the most adherents around the world (according to 2005 data) are:

  1. Christianity (2.1 billion)
  2. Islam (1.3 billion)
  3. Non-religious, including secularism, atheism, agnosticism and nontheism (1.1 billion)
  4. Hinduism (900 million)
  5. Chinese folk religion (394 million)
  6. Buddhism (376 million)
  7. Primal indigenous or "pagan" (300 million)
  8. African traditional and diasporic (100 million)
  9. Sikhism (23 million)
  10. Juche (19 million)
  11. Spiritism (15 million)
  12. Judaism (14 million)
  13. Bahá'í Faith (7 million)
  14. Jehovah's Witnesses (6.5 million)
  15. Jainism (4.2 million)
  16. Shinto {4 million)
  17. Cao Dai (4 million)
  18. Zoroastrianism (2.6 million)
  19. Tenrikyo (2 million)
  20. Neo-Paganism (1 million)
  21. Unitarian Universalism (800,000)
  22. Rastafari movement (600,000)

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