Number of adherents of world religions:

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RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD:
Numbers of adherents;
names of houses of worship;
names of leaders;
rates of growth…

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Number of adherents of world religions:

According to David Barrett et al, editors of the “World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions – AD 30 to 2200,” there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. 34,000 separate Christian groups have been identified in the world. “Over half of them are independent churches that are not interested in linking with the big denominations.” 13 Most people in the world follow one of the religions listed in the table below. Included is the name of the religion, the approximate date of its origin, its main sacred or ethical texts (if any) and its estimated numerical strength (both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the world’s population.)

These data are based on census or public opinion data.1Thus, a person is considered to be of a particular religion if they say that they are of that faith. Thus, about 75% of the adults in both the U.S. and Canada are Christians. Many individuals and religious groups have much more strict definitions for membership. Many conservative Christians believe that one has to be “born again” in order to be counted as a Christian. Using this definition, only about 35% of Americans would be counted as Christians. This difference in definitions between conservative Christians and the rest of the population causes much confusion. Some of the approximately 1,000 Christian faith groups in the U.S. and Canada believe themselves to be the only true Christian denomination. Thus, depending on the definition used, the percentage of Christians in the U.S. are between 0.1 and 75% of the total population.
Pie-chart

Image from the U.S. Center for World Mission Mission Frontiers.org

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Basic information on various religions:
Religion Date Founded Sacred Texts Membership 5 % of World 6
Christianity 30 CE The Bible 2,039 million 32% (dropping)
Islam 622 CE Qur’an & Hadith 1,226 million 19% (growing)
Hinduism 1,500 BCE with truly ancient roots Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, & Rig Veda 828 million 13% (stable)
No religion
(Note 1)


None 775 million 12% (dropping)
Chinese folk rel. 270 BCE None 390 million 6%
Buddhism 523 BCE The Tripitaka & Sutras 364 million 6% (stable)
Tribal Religions, Shamanism, Animism Prehistory Oral tradition 232 million 4%
Atheists No date None 150 million 2%
New religions. Various Various 103 million 2%
Sikhism 1500 CE Guru Granth Sahib 23.8 million <1%
Judaism Note 3 Torah, Tanach, & Talmud 14.5 million <1%
Spiritism 12.6 million <1%
Baha’i Faith 1863 CE Alkitab Alaqdas 7.4 million <1%
Confucianism 520 BCE Lun Yu 6.3 million <1%
Jainism 570 BCE Siddhanta, Pakrit 4.3 million <1%
Zoroastrianism 600 to 6000 BCE Avesta 2.7 million <1%
Shinto 500 CE Kojiki, Nohon Shoki 2.7 million <1%
Taoism 550 BCE Tao-te-Ching 2.7 million <1%
Other Various Various 1.1 million <1%
Wicca 800 BCE, 1940 CE None 0.5 million? Religious information > Basic info > here

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Copyright � 1997 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2007-JUL-19
Author: B.A. Robinson
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