There are many religions currently in the world, and most have subsets within them. The goal of religion is to help men and women of all ages try and understand their life’s purpose in the world in which they live. Religions attempt to explain what happens after life is over as well as the reasonable proposition of a deity who is in control of not only our lives but the universe as a whole. There are five main religions which make up 90 plus percent of those who have faith in the world.
Catholicism and Protestantism
There roughly 1 billion Roman Catholics in the world. Although identified with Christianity, there are some notable differences with what is generally termed Catholics and non-Catholics, both of which identify themselves as Christians, or “little Christs.” All we will note for this short post is that Christians, both Catholic and Protestant are followers of Jesus of Nazareth, or the “Anointed One” – who they claim is the Son of God sent into the world to bring eternal salvation for all who follow him, as predicted in the Old Testament Bible. There are many denominations, or subsets of Christianity such as Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals and the list goes on.
Islam is founded on the various writings of the prophet Mohammad, called the Qur’an. The word Islam means “submission.” Or, one who submits his or her life to God. As with Christianity, there is just over one billion Muslims globally, although it was originally founded in the Middle East. There are also large populations of Muslims in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Asia.
The word Hinduism was thought up by the West to represent the major social and religious systems in India. However, those who practice their faith call it “the way,” a simple term for the dharma. There are around 900 million people following the dharma in the world today. The majority of Hindus reside in India. However, they’ve migrated all across the world since its ancient beginnings.
Buddha, or “enlightened one” is the basis for the teachings of Buddhism. There are also branches or subsets in this religion. However, all the adherents are happy to call themselves Buddhists no matter the differences. There are more than 350 million followers, and it is placed fourth in the size and scope of world religions. Most Buddhists reside in the Far Eastern regions such as China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and Korea. The teaching is comprised of the “Four Noble Truths” which is primarily about suffering, and the way to deal with it in all humanity.
There are about 15 million Jews today in our world. The people of this faith were originally named after those who were of the tribe of Judah, one of the ancient 12 tribes in the land of Israel. The English term for those who came from Judah is referred to as the Jews or Jewish people. They believe they are the chosen people of the One True God and have been set aside as an example to other nations to live out His commands that have been passed down through their teachings in the “Torah,” or the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures.