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Top 10 Organized Religions and their Core Beliefs - The List Universe

ThislistisSourcedfromtheEncylopaediaBritannica,Wikipedia,Beliefnet,andAdherents.com(acollection of43,870adherentstatisticsandreligiousgeographycitations).Thelistisbasedonnumberofmembers. Foracompletelist(whichalsoincludesatheismandagnosticism,seetheWikipediaarticleorthe EncylopaediaBritannicachart). 1.Christianity[Abrahamic,27AD]2.1billionadherents[Wikipedia|Britannica|Beliefnet]

ChristianityisamonotheisticreligionwhichisbasedontheteachingsoftheOldTestamentandJesusof Nazareth.ChristiansbelievethatJesus,astheSonofGodispartoftheTrinity(Godasthreepersonsin one),theothersbeingGodtheFatherandGodtheHolySpirit.ChristiansbelievethatChristianityfulfils Judaism.MostChristiansbelievethatthedeathandresurrectionofJesustobethecornerstoneoftheirfaith. ProtestantofshootsofChristianitybelievethatsalvationcomesfromthebeliefinGodalone,whereas CatholicandOrthodoxChristiansbeliefthatfaith,combinedwithgoodworksisrequiredforsalvation. TheChristianscripturesarecalledtheBiblecomprisingtwobooks,theOldTestament(basedonthe Septuagint)andtheNewTestament.ProtestantsandCatholicshavethesamebooksintheNewTestament, butMartinLutherremoved7booksfromtheOldTestamentduringtheProtestantreformation,considering themtobeapocryphal.HealsoremovedfourbooksfromtheNewTestamentbutwaslaterpersuadedtoput thembacktheywereHebrews,James,Jude,andRevelation. ChristiansbelieveinSacraments(CatholicsandOrthodoxandsomeAnglicansbelievein7:Baptism, Confirmation,HolyCommunion,Confession,LastRites,HolyOrders,andMatrimony;someProtestants (followingMartinLuther)believeinthesacramentalnatureofBaptismandHolyCommunion,whileothers rejectoutrighttheconceptofsacramentaltheology. Christianityisgenerallybrokenintothreebranches:RomanCatholicism,EasternOrthodoxy,and Protestantism.Catholicismisthelargestwithover1billionadherents.TheOrthodoxandCatholicChurches splitinthe11thcenturyinaneventcalledtheGreatSchism.ProtestantismsplitfromRomanCatholicismin inthe16thcenturyinaneventcalledtheProtestantReformation. 2.Islam[Abrahamic,610AD]1.3billionadherents[Wikipedia|Britannica|Beliefnet]

IslamisamonotheisticreligionoriginatingwiththeteachingsofMuhammad,a7thcenturyArabreligious andpoliticalfigure.MuslimsbelievethatGodrevealedtheQur'antoMuhammad,God'sfinalprophet,and regardtheQur'anandtheSunnah(thewordsanddeedsofMuhammad)asthefundamentalsourcesof Islam.TheydonotregardMuhammadasthefounderofanewreligion,butastherestoreroftheoriginal monotheisticfaithofAbraham,Moses,Jesus,andotherprophets.IslamictraditionholdsthatJudaismand Christianitydistortedthemessagesoftheseprophetsovertimeeitherininterpretation,intext,orboth. AlmostallMuslimsbelongtooneoftwomajordenominations,theSunniandShi'a.Theschismdevelopedin thelate7thcenturyfollowingdisagreementsoverthereligiousandpoliticalleadershipoftheMuslim community.Roughly85percentofMuslimsareSunniand15percentareShi'a.MuslimsconsidertheQur'an tobetheliteralwordofGod;itisthecentralreligioustextofIslam.Muslimsbelievethattheversesofthe Qur'anwererevealedtoMuhammadbyGodthroughtheangelGabrielonmanyoccasionsbetweenthe years610andhisdeathonJuly6,632. IslamconsidersitselftobethesupremereligionandthereforeMuslimsmustnotplacethemselvesina positioninferiortothatofthefollowersofotherreligions.Pursuanttothisprinciple,Muslimwomenmaynot marrynonMuslimmen,nonMuslimsmaynotinheritfromtheirMuslimrelatives,andatestimonyofanon MuslimisinadmissibleagainstaMuslim.AnonMuslimwhoinsultsIslammustbeputtodeath,accordingto mostschoolsofIslamicjurisprudence,orfloggedandimprisoned,accordingtoothers. Thisitemhascausedsomedebateinthecommentsbelow.Seehereforthecomplaint,andhereforthe reply. 3.Hinduism[Dharmic,1500BC]1billionadherents[Wikipedia|Britannica|Beliefnet]

Hinduismhasnofounder,beingitselfaconglomerateofdiversebeliefsandtraditions.Itistheworld'soldest existentreligion,andhasapproximatelyabillionadherents,ofwhomabout905millionliveinIndiaand Nepal.Hinduismcontainsavastbodyofscriptures.Dividedasrevealedandrememberedanddeveloped overmillennia,thesescripturesexpoundontheology,philosophyandmythology,providingspiritualinsights andguidanceonthepracticeofdharma(religiousliving).Amongsuchtexts,theVedasandtheUpanishads aretheforemostinauthority,importanceandantiquity.OthermajorscripturesincludetheTantras,the sectarianAgamas,thePurasandtheepicsMahbhrataandRmyaa.TheBhagavadGt,atreatise excerptedfromtheMahbhrata,issometimescalledasummaryofthespiritualteachingsoftheVedas. ProminentthemesinHindubeliefsincludeDharma(ethics/duties),Samsra(Thecontinuingcycleofbirth, life,deathandrebirth),Karma(actionandsubsequentreaction),Moksha(liberationfromsamsara),andthe variousyogas(pathsorpractices).Hinduismisadiversesystemofthoughtwithbeliefsspanning monotheism,polytheism,pantheism,monismandevenatheism.Itissometimesconsideredashenotheistic (devotiontoasingle"God"whileacceptingtheexistenceofothergods),butsuchaviewmaybeconsidered anoversimplificationofthecomplexitiesandvariationsofbelief.

4.Buddhism[Dharmic,600BC]376millionadherents[Wikipedia|Britannica|Beliefnet]

BuddhismisalsoknownasBuddhaDharmaorDhamma,whichmeansroughlythe"teachingsofthe AwakenedOne"inSanskritandPali,languagesofancientBuddhisttexts.Buddhismwasfoundedaround thefifthcenturyBCEbySiddharthaGautamamostcommonlyreferredtoasTheBuddha.InBuddhism, anypersonwhohasawakenedfromthe"sleepofignorance"(bydirectlyrealizingthetruenatureofreality), withoutinstruction,andteachesittoothersiscalledabuddha.AlltraditionalBuddhistsagreethat ShakyamuniorGotamaBuddhawasnottheonlyBuddha:itisgenerallytaughtthattherehavebeenmany pastBuddhasandthattherewillbefutureBuddhastoo. WhiletherearenowmanysectsofBuddhism,theyallholdtofourfundamentalpoints:1,Allacceptthe Buddhaastheirteacher;2,allaccepttheMiddleWay(nonextremism),DependantOrigination,theFour NobleTruths,andtheNobleEightfoldPath;3,allacceptthatbothmonksandthelaitycanpursuethepath toenglightenment;and4,allconsiderBuddahoodtobethehighestattainment. 5.Sikhism[Dharmic,1469AD]23millionadherents[Wikipedia|Britannica|Beliefnet]

SikhismwasfoundedbyGuruNanak(14691539AD)whowasthefirstofSikhism's10Gurus,alineageof holyteachersthatcontinueduntiltheendofthe17thcentury.TheGurusareunderstoodtobethemediators ofdivinegrace.SikhismoriginatedinthePunjabregionofnorthwestIndia,whereitdrewonelementsfrom BhaktiHinduismandIslamicSufismtodevelopintoadistinctivereligioustraditioninitsownright.Sikhs believethatliberationfromthekarmiccycleofrebirthsoccursinthemergingofthehumanspiritwiththeall embracingspiritofGod.Sikhmalesarerecognisablebytheirlongbeardsandturbansworntocoverthe hairthattraditionalsaystheyshouldnotcut. TheirreligiousworshipinvolvescontemplationofthedivineName.Theultimatedeityisknownbyseveral names:Sat(truth),SatGuru(trueGuru),AkalPurakh(timelessbeing),Kartar(creator),andWahiGuru ("praisetotheGuru").ByconcentratingonGod'sName(ormanytitles),Sikhsbelievethatoneconquersthe egoanduniteswithGod. ThecompilationoftheSikhscriptures,theAdiGranth,wasbegunin1604bytheFifthGuru.Thelastofthe tenGurus,GuruGobindSingh,announcedthathewouldbethelastpersonalGuruandthatthereafter, SikhsweretoregardtheAdiGranth(GuruGranthSahib)astheirteacher.Thissacredbookisconsidered thelivingembodimentofalltenGurusandisthereforethefocusofworshipinallSikhtemplesandlocal gurudwaras,orsanctuaries.

6.Judaism[Abrahamic,1300BC]14millionadherents[Wikipedia|Britannica|Beliefnet]

JudaismisthereligionoftheJewishpeople,basedonprinciplesandethicsembodiedintheBible(Tanakh) andtheTalmud(Rabbinicaldiscussionsonethics,customs,andlaw).AccordingtoJewishtradition,the historyofJudaismbeginswiththeCovenantbetweenGodandAbraham,thepatriarchandprogenitorofthe Jewishpeople.Judaismisamongtheoldestreligioustraditionsstillinpracticetoday. Throughouttheages,Judaismhasclungtoanumberofreligiousprinciples,themostimportantofwhichis thebeliefinasingle,omniscient,omnipotent,benevolent,transcendentGod,whocreatedtheuniverseand continuestogovernit.OriginallyJudaismhadpriestsandatempleinwhichsacrificesweremadetoGod. Thepriesthoodisaninheritedposition,andalthoughpriestsnolongerhaveanybutceremonialduties,they arestillhonoredinmanyJewishcommunities.ManyOrthodoxJewishcommunitiesbelievethattheywillbe neededagainforafutureThirdTempleandneedtoremaininreadinessforfutureduty. FollowingthedestructionofJerusalemandtheexpulsionoftheJews,Jewishworshipstoppedbeing centrallyorganizedaroundtheTemple,prayertooktheplaceofsacrifice,andworshipwasrebuiltaround rabbiswhoactedasteachersandleadersofindividualcommunities.ModernJudaismisgenerallysplitinto threegroups:Orthodox,Conservative,andLiberal. 7.Baha'iFaith[Abrahamic,1900AD]7millionadherents[Wikipedia|Britannica|Beliefnet]

Baha'iwasfoundedinIraninthemidnineteenthcenturybyMirzaHusaynAli(18171892).Betterknownas Baha'ullah,hebelievedthathewastheprophetforetoldbytheBab,areligiousleaderwhowasbelievedto beadirectdescendentoftheprophetMuhammad.Baha'ullahwaspersecutedandbanishedseveraltimes duringhislife,andhediedasaprisonerinPalestine.Babism(fromwhichBaha'ioriginates)wasa breakawayfromshi'aIslam. ImportantBaha'iprophetsincludeAdam,theJewishprophets,Jesus,andMuhammed,allofwhomhave beensucceededbyBaha'ullah.TheclosestthingtoareligioustexttheBaha'ihaveisBaha'ullah'sKitabal Aqdas(TheMostHolyBook)whichcontainsdetailedinstructionsforBaha'iliving. TheBaha'ibelievethatallreligionsteachthesametruth.Theythereforerejectprejudiceracial,political,or otherwiseandstressethicalteachingssuchasworldpeace,education,andsexualequality.Althoughthey believethatGodiscompletelyunknowable,theyholdthatGod'spresenceandworksareevidentinthe creationoftheworldandtheexistenceoftheprophets,amongotherthings.

8.Confucianism[Taoic,600BC]6.4millionadherents[Wikipedia|Britannica|Beliefnet]

ConfucianismisaChinesesetofphilosphicalandethicalbeliefsthatweretaughtbythesageConfucius.It hashadatremendouseffectonEastAsiarightuptothe21stcentury.DebatedduringtheWarringStates PeriodandforbiddenduringtheshortlivedQinDynasty,ConfucianismwaschosenbyEmperorWuofHan foruseasapoliticalsystemtogoverntheChinesestate.ThereisalargebodyofConfuciantextswhich includestheIChing(aseriesofdivinations)andaseriesofbooksonpoetry,rituals,music,andmore.You canviewacompletelistofthesetextsonWikipedia. ConfucianistdoctrineremainedamainstreamChineseorthodoxyfortwomillenniauntilthe20thcentury, whenitwasattackedbyradicalChinesethinkersasavanguardofapremodernsystemandanobstacleto China'smodernization,eventuallyculminatinginitsrepressionduringtheCulturalRevolutioninthePeople's RepublicofChina. Confucianismaimsatmakingnotsimplythemanofvirtue,butthemanoflearningandofgoodmanners. Theperfectmanmustcombinethequalitiesofsaint,scholar,andgentleman.Confucianismisareligion withoutpositiverevelation,withaminimumofdogmaticteaching,whosepopularworshipiscenteredin offeringstothedead,inwhichthenotionofdutyisextendedbeyondthesphereofmoralspropersoasto embracealmosteverydetailofdailylife. 9.Jainism[Dharmic,600BC]4.2millionadherents[Wikipedia|Britannica|Beliefnet]

JainismisoneoftheoldestreligionsinIndiaandithascoexistedalongsideHinduismdespitebeinga minorityoflessthan1%ofthepopulation.ThereligionwasfoundedbyMahavira("TheGreatHero")whois consideredtobethemostrecentinalonglineof24teacherswhohavebroughtJainismtotheworldduring variousepochs.Theseteacherspreachabeliefinenlightenmentthroughausterityandrejectionoftheworld. Jainsdonotbelieveinagodandtheyseekreleasefromendlessreincarnationsthroughstrictselfdenial. Jainismalsoplacesagreatemphasisonnonharmoflivingthingsandwilloftenhavetheirmouthscovered withmuslintopreventaccidentallyswallowinginsects.ManyJainsalsouseasmallbrushtosweepthe groundinfrontofthemwhiletravellingsotheydon'taccidentallysteponacreature. ThemainreligioustextofJainismiscalledAgamas.AnagamaisanancientJaintextbook.Therewere manyagamasinancienttimes,butastimepassed,manyofthemwerelostordestroyed.Atpresent,45

agamasareavailable.AgamasarewritteninthePrakritlanguage.ThesearereadandstudiedbyJain monks(sadhus)only.Thesacredliteraturewasnotwrittendownuntil500AD. TherearetwomaintypesofJain,theDigambarasandtheShvetambaras.TheDigambarashavemuch simplerritualsanddisdainearthlybelongingstoapointthatthemalemonkslivecompletelynaked. 10.Shinto[Taoic,300BC]4millionadherents[Wikipedia|Britannica|Beliefnet]

ShintoisareligioussystemthatoriginatesinJapanwhichhasinfluencesfromBuddhismandotherChinese religions.Shintorecognizesnoallpowerfuldeityandisadiversesetoftraditionalritualsandceremonies, ratherthanasystemofdogmaticbeliefsorethics.Shintorecognisesavarietyofgods(kami)whicharethe powersofnatureprimarilyassociatedwithsuchthingsasanimals,trees,mountains,springs,boulders,the sun,andsometimesancestors.Offeringsaremadetothesegodsandtheyarelatereaten. ShintoritualsinvolvedanceandShintopriestsblesstheofferingstothegodswithbranchesfromthesacred sakakitreedippedinholywater.InsomepartsofJapan,womenShamansfallintoatranceandspeakfor thegods. Shintodoesnothaveafounderorcanonofreligioustexts,butawrittenShintomythologyappearsinthe earlysectionsoftheeighthcenturybooks"Kojiki"("RecordsofAncientMatters,"completedin712AD)and "NihonShoki"("ChroniclesofJapan,"completedin720AD),whichrecordtheroleofthekamiincreating JapanandtheJapaneseimperiallineage