Religion plays a big part in the daily lives of billions of people around the world. Still, most people are only familiar with the teachings and traditions of the religions they belong to. Understanding how other religions operate can be helpful when it comes to showing respect and tolerance for the beliefs of others. Review these facts to learn a little bit more about the most popular world religions. 

The World’s Largest Religions 

According to statistics from recent years, there are currently over 4200 religions being practiced around the world. Of these, five stand out as being the most popular. The largest religions are Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism. It is estimated that there are roughly 2.5 billion followers of Christianity, while Islam has somewhere around 2 billion followers and Hinduism has 1.5 billion followers. Though not in the billions, Buddhism is said to have 540 million followers globally, whereas Sikhism has 25 million followers. 

The Sacred Books

Sacred texts are crucial to almost every religion. Christians follow the teachings of God, Jesus, and a number of significant prophets who are all recorded in both the New and Old Testaments of the Holy Bible. Muslims follow the teachings of Muhammad, which are collected in the Quran. Hinduism and Buddhism also have several important books and scriptures attached to the religions. However, Hindus don’t tend to follow the Vedas with the same fervor as Christians and Muslims adhere to their texts. Buddhists are also more lax when it comes to following the teachings in their hallowed book: the Tripitaka. 

The Consequences of Actions

A vast majority of world religions focus on teaching followers morality and ethics. A theme found across most spiritual groups is the fact that actions have consequences. The nature of these outcomes tends to vary from one religion to the next. For example, Christians believe many choices made by humans lead to sin. The more a person sins, the less likely it is that he or she will enjoy a blissful afterlife beside God in heaven. 

For followers of Hinduism and Buddhism, actions have a direct impact on how karma dictates a person’s life. If someone consistently makes selfish choices in his or her life, then karma may shape how this individual is reincarnated in the next life. This, in turn, prolongs the person from attaining true peace and nirvana. 

The Impact on Daily Life

Quite often, a person’s religious affiliation will dictate how he or she goes about daily life. Everything from what followers are allowed to eat to what they can wear is determined by their spiritual beliefs. For example, many female followers of Islam will wear articles of clothing like a hijab in order to meet modesty standards. In a similar vein, plenty of followers of Judaism will avoid a plethora of foods so that they can keep kosher. 

Typically, these rules and regulations are dictated in the holy texts of the religion. However, there are many unfortunate examples of humans creating the rules to exert control over groups of followers. 

The Quiet Meditation

Though there are different names for the action in different groups, most religions feature some type of meditative practice. It is most obvious in religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, where followers will spend hours meditating in order to clear their minds or achieve a higher state of being. Still, the practice can easily be found in Christianity and Islam. For those who identify as Muslim or Christian, prayer is a type of meditation. The concept of sitting with oneself and connecting to a higher power while saying sacred words is as much prayer as it is meditation.

The Flow of History

Religion has dictated the flow of human history for thousands of years. Whether you consider yourself a religious person or not, learning about these spiritual groups can shed a lot of light on the nature of humanity.

Category: Religion

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