Religions can be divided into Abrahamic religions, Indian religions, Iranian religions, Folk religion, and new religious movements.
Currently, of the world population of 6.8 billion people:
- 2 billion, or 29.4% are Christian
- 1.5 billion, or 22.1% are Muslim
- 1 billion, or 14.7% are Folk (including Chinese folk) religion
- 800 million, or 11.8% are Hindu
- 400 million, or 5.9% are Buddhist
- Other religions (beginning with Shinto, Sikhism, Judaism, Jainism, Baha’i faith, Cao Dai, Cheondoism, Tenrikyo, Wicca), which all register below 0.3%, therefore negligible on the given scale
- Remaining 13.4% are non-religious
“What is what type of religion?” Mandy asked.
“Judaism, Christianity and Islam is Abrahamic,” Jamie replied.
“So lopping together, Abraham religions account for 51.4% of the world’s population,” Mandy replied.
“Hinduism and Buddhism is Indian,” Jamie said.
“So lopping together, Indian religions account for 17.7% of the world’s population,” Mandy replied.
“So the world’s major religions are roughly split into Abrahamic (51.4%), Indian (17.7%), folk (14.7%),” Joe commented, “with approximately 13.4% with no religion.”
“But that is just an estimation because those figures don’t actually add up to 100%,” Mandy added, “the remaining 2.8% considered negligible, some of which should have actually fallen in to the major religions.”
Abrahamic religions are monotheistic religions (believe in a singular God) which descend from the Jewish patriarch Father Abraham.
Judaism includes the adherence to the Torah commandments (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). Although some see belonging to the Jewish people simply as social rather than religions, orthodox jews believe God as creator, to unite people, lacking physical appearance, to pray to, that the words of prophets are true, that Moses was a prophet who was given Torah which never changes, that God knows all the deeds of humans and their thoughts, rewards those who keeps His commandments and punishes those who transgress them, the Messiah will come, and the dead will be resurrected.
Christianity has a strong emphasis on belief (more so than other religions), and as such, from early in its development, has a set creed. The Apostle’s Creed was drafted around 390AD, and asserts a belief in God (the Father, creator of heaven and earth), Jesus Christ (God’s Son, and our Lord), that He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of Virgin Mary, that he was crucified, died and buried under Pontious Pilate, that He descended to the dead but rose agin on the third day, that He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, that He will come again to judge the living and the dead, a belief in the Holy Spirit, in a holy catholic church which is the communion of saints, that God forgives sins, that our bodies will be resurrected, and that believers live forever.
“So Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah of the Jewish religion,” Mandy said.
“Like Jews,” Joe commented, “Christians believe God is creator, that He unites people, that we should pray to, that the words of prophets are true, that Moses was a prophet who was given Torah, that God knows the deeds of humans and their thoughts, and that the dead will be resurrected.”
“The difference,” Mandy adds, “is that they believe that the Messiah has come in the form of Jesus (whereas Jews are still awaiting the Messiah), that the Messiah (Jesus) is God (and therefore God is no longer abstract but has made His physical appearance), and that through Jesus we are given grace, which therefore means whether or not we keep His commandments, we have been spared punishment.”
“This emphasizes the dominant themes in Christianity of Jesus Christ as Messiah, and the grace that comes thereof,” Joe replied.
Islam differs from Christianity because they believe Muhammad (570AD) was the last prophet. They maintain that the Jewish Torah and Christian Bible has been changed or corrupted over time, and that the Qu’ran is the unaltered final revelation of God.
“They believe Jesus is not God, and like Muhammad, is only a prophet,” Mandy commented, “and that Jesus never claimed to be God, and that He wasn’t crucified, but one of the disciples in lieu of Him.”
Indian religions are practiced or founded on the Indian subcontinent, of which share common themes including dharma, karma, reincarnation, mantras, yantras and darsana. Indian religions are diverse in the number of gods, but it is generally understood Hindus have 330 million gods, whereas Buddhists do not believe in a god.
Folk religions are less-organized local practices, which often integrate Abrahamic and Indian religions, with local traditions.