A set of beliefs that is followed by a group of people is considered as a religion. There are more than 4000 religions in the world according to Adherents, an independent organisation which monitors all the religions and their followers in the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world’s population practices one of the five most influential religions of the world. In the following article we are going to talk about The 5 Most Widely Practiced Religions in The World.
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These are The 5 Most Widely Practiced Religions in The World.
Buddhism is a religion that is based on the teachings of Gautam Buddha. ‘Buddha’ means ‘The Enlightened One’. It began over 2,500 years ago in India. Buddhism is based on the belief that it is necessary to understand human nature in order to eradicate suffering from this world. It rejects the idea of God, the universe and the afterlife and urges its followers to focus on the four Noble Truths of life – Dukha(Painful and Unsatisfactory), Samudaya(Thirst), Nirodha(End of Dukha) and Magga(Path to Nirodha). One can escape suffering by following the Noble Eightfold Path – Right knowledge, Right intention, Right speech, Right action, Right livelihood , Right effort, Right Mindfulness , Right concentration. Buddhism is a religion different from any other religion as it teaches us to be practical in life rather than believe in a higher power.
04 Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion is a religious practice in which people share religious practices and beliefs including veneration of forces of nature and ancestors, exorcism of harmful forces, and a belief in the rational order of nature which can be influenced by human beings and their rulers. Chinese folk religion pervades all aspects of social life. Many scholars see Chinese religion deeply embedded in family and civic life, rather than an organisational structure like a “church,” as in the West. It has four spiritual, cosmological, and moral concepts: Tian, Heaven, the source of moral meaning; Qi, the breath or substance of which all things are made; Jingzu, the veneration of ancestors and Bao Ying, moral reciprocity. It is followed by 394 million people in the world.
Hinduism is the oldest religion of the world that originated in India and many scholars refer to it as ‘Sanatana Dharma’ or ‘the eternal law’. It is a fusion of many Indian traditions and cultures. It does not have a particular founder. There are various sacred texts of Hinduism that throw light on theology, mythology, philosophy etc such as The Vedas, The Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita etc. Beliefs in Hinduism consist of the four Purusarthas – Dharma (ethics/duties), Artha (prosperity/work), Kama (desires/passions) and Moksha (liberation/freedom/salvation). Practices of Hinduism include Vedic rituals, Bhakti(Worship), Festivals and Pilgrimage. According to the Supreme Court of India – “Unlike other religions in the World, the Hindu religion does not claim any one Prophet, it does not worship any one God, it does not believe in any one philosophic concept, it does not follow any one act of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not satisfy the traditional features of a religion or creed. It is a way of life and nothing more.”
Islam originated in Mecca in the early 7th century. It teaches that there is only one God(Allah) who is powerful and merciful. The main texts of Islam are the Quran, the Sunnah and the Hadith. The five pillars of Islam are Shahada(Faith), Salat(Prayer), Zakat(Charity), Sawm(Fasting) and Hajj(Pilgrimage to Mecca). Most Muslims are of two denominations – Sunni and Shia while many others are of Ibadi, Sufism, Quranism etc. Muslims follow their own set of laws known as the Sharia. It covers all aspects of life from matters of the state to matters of daily life. The Quran has punishments known as Hudud for five specific crimes: unlawful intercourse, false accusation of unlawful intercourse, consumption of alcohol, theft and highway robbery. Islam is the dominant religion in the Middle-East, North Africa and Central Asia. They are found in almost every country in the world.
Christianity is the word’s dominant religion that is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. It has over 2.4 billion followers. Christian theology states that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, descended into hell, and rose from the dead for the people who believed and trusted in him. It originated in Judea, from where it spread to Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia etc. After the Age of Discovery, it spread to the Americas, Australasia and Africa through missionaries and colonization. The three main branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Protestantism. The Christian text – The Holy Bible is based on the foundations of the Old Testament and the New Testament.