Religion – some basic facts and figures

As of 2015, there are an estimated 4,200 different religions in the world. Listed below are the largest and best-known religions by the date each was formed:

                                              Start date       Membership

Judaism                                   2000BC               17 million

Hinduism                                1500BC          1,000 million

Buddhism                                 523BC              500 million

Chinese Folk Religion             270BC              400 million

Christianity                                 30AD            1,900 million

Islam                                          622AD            1,600 million

No Religion                                                           775 million

Atheists                                                                 150 million

All others – including Tribal religions, Shikhism, Taoism, Baha’I, and Shinto etc. have approximately 150 million followers.

One really interesting data point is that there are only 17 million Jews in the world. Six million live in Israel, six million live in the USA and the remaining 5 million are spread throughout the world.

Many of the major religions noted above are subdivided into separate sub-groups (eg. there are 34,000 different forms of Christianity). Many religious sub-groups have long-term disagreements with each other which has led to violence and war (eg: in Islam there are on-going wars between the Sunni and Shia; in Christianity there were many wars between Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox Catholics, Protestants, and Lutherans).

 

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