There are well over 4,000 different types of religions in the world. Varies with location, beliefs, language and number of followers.
There is a staggering number of religions in the world. About 75% of the world population belong to one of these five religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism.
These are the five are considered the most influential in the world and are referred to as the World Religions do to there size and influence.
Islam and Christianity make up nearly half of the world’s population.
Christianity is the world’s largest religion with over 2 billion followers. Nearly 1/3 of the human population identifies as christians by far the dominant religion in the western world.
Christianity is growing in Africa and christians can be found in nearly every country in the world.
The Holy Book of christianity is the Holy Bible. This sacred scripture of the Lord is divided into two sections. The Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament consists of the creation of the world, God’s covenant with the Isrealites and the many struggles of the Isrealite people.
The New Testament is dominated by the birth, teachings and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ who christians believe was the Son of God and the savior of the world.
Islam is the second largest religion in the world and the faith that is growing fast. Followers of Islam, called Muslims, believe in a single all-power god called Allah.
Muslims believe that Allah sent numerous prophets to Earth over the centuries in order to teach humanity the correct way to live.
The last of the prophets was Muhammad who Muslims refer to as “the Seal of the Prophets.” While Muhammad was alive.
They believe Allah spoke through him and recited a number of teachings. These teachings were recorded in what would be called the holy book of Islam, the Quran.
Muslims believe that the Quran is the complete and unaltered word of Allah. The words are free from interpretations or mistakes and serves as the foundation for Muslim life.
The Quran, like the christian Bible, is comprised of two main sections which are associated with the city in which they were written, Medina and Mecca.
Judaism is the smallest of the world’s religions with alittle over 2 billion followers. These followers known as Jews, belong to the same “family” of religious as christianity and Islam, the Abrahamic religions. This religious family gets its name from the character of Abraham who is a central figure and model of good religious behavior in both Judaism and Islam.
Abraham is an important figure in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Abraham is known in the Christian Holy Bible as the father of the Jewish people and religion. Judaism, in turn, is recognized as the religious ancestor of christianity.
The holy book of Judaism is the Tora. There is an oral tradition that is made up of practical applications and other traditions that have been passed down over the generations. There is also Written Tora which is divided into three main parts, the Tora, Nevi’im refers to the writings of the Jewish prophets, and the Ketuvin contains other important writings such as the Book of Psalms and Proverbs.
Hinduism is the oldest of the major world religions. Early Hinduism was founded over 5,000 years ago in the Indus River Valley in India. The earliest writings from this region are extensive, but unfortunatly, scholars have yet to find away to translate the language of the writings, but until a way to translate the language is found this theory will remain unproven.
The sacred scriptures that are definitly definitively associated with Hinduism are all ancient. The Vedas, the best known Hindu sacred scripture, are some of the earliest religious writings in existence. These sacred “books” began as an oral tradition that was passed down unaltered for thousands of years before it was written on paper.
The other Hindu sacred writings includ the Puranas, which detail Hindu cosmology and the epic poems the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Buddhism is unique among the major world religions in that it is technically an atheistic religion. Buddhism do not believe in an all-powerful creator deity or group of all-powerful creator deities.
“Gods” in Buddhism live long and happy lives, but they are bound to samsara, the cycle of birth-death-rebirth, just like an animal or human.
This lack of what followers of the other world religious would deem to be a “God” also means that Buddhists do not have a text that is “sacred” in the same way as the other religions. The Abrahamic religions believe that their holy books were either are the divinely creator or devinely inspired.
The Vedas are belieed to be the literal sounds of creation. Buddhist “holy texts,” how ever, are not from the traditionally devine figure. Instead they are teachings of the teachings of the Budda and his enlightened desciplin. These teachings have been compiled in many volumes, but it is perhaps more accurate to call these works “revered texts” rather than “holy books,”
Among these books are the Tripitcha or Pali Canon, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Memorial Verses on the Middle Why, the Great Stages of Enlightenment and the various compiled volumes of the Buddha’s original sutras or teachings.
Which books are revered, however, also varies by school Mahayana Buddhists favor different teachings and interpretations than Theravada Buddhism while Zen Buddhists tends to reject texts entirely.
Despite the doom and gloom found in many centers of organized religion, studies have shown that the numbers of traditionally religious followers is actually growing around the world while atheistic faiths such as secularism and agnosticism are slowly declining diversification of society, it is becoming ever more likely that neighbors and even spouses will belong to different religions.
As such, it might be a good idea to head over to the library and take home a few extra holy books to learn about the beliefs that govern so many people lives.
If you need a bible you can choose a bible at American Bible Society, Bibles.com