Brief atlas of the religions in the world

Religiuos symbols

The world is huge place. Concerns and goals are different depending on where you live. In many ways our environment leads most of our daily decisions and religions play an important role in the thinking and habits of the society, even in the way we face our work and problems. Visit a new country is a good opportunity to go over the religious roots and try to figure out how that impact in the lifestyle of people.

This Flash animation is a good starting point. The animation shows the evolution of the main religions in the world along history (from 3000 B.C. to our present days). In 90 seconds you can refresh where the main religions were born and a brief idea of their expansions in the last 5000 years.

Although the animation is a begining to realize what happened in the past and get a global idea of the current status. Nevertheless, within each religion a wide range of issues led to a enormous fragmentation. Next picture shows the actual main religion by country.

atlas of faith in the world
By spiegel.de (click on the picture to enlarge)

Let’s start with the three religions of the book: Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

Christianity
The long history of the European countries (the initial center of the Christianity) characterized for continuos wars and merges, split of countries sometimes and the mix between power and religion led to some decisions in order to keep both the religious power and the political power, i.e. the East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively.

Branches of the christianity church
By Wikipedia (click on the picture to enlarge)

The Protestant Reformation of the early 16th century was an attempt to reform the Catholic Church. German theologian Martin Luther wrote his Ninety-Five Theses on the sale of indulgences in 1517. Parallel to events in Germany, a movement began in Switzerland under the leadership of Ulrich Zwingli. The political separation of the Church of England from Rome under Henry VIII, beginning in 1529 and completed in 1536, brought England alongside this broad Reformed movement.

The term Protestant is often used loosely to denote all non-Roman Catholic varieties of Western Christianity, rather than to refer to those churches adhering to the principles. Trinitarian Protestant denominations are divided according to the position taken on baptism:”Mainline Protestants“, a North American phrase, are Christians who trace their tradition’s lineage to Lutheranism, Calvinism or Anglicanism (are those Protestant churches that comprised the vast majority of American Christians from the colonial era until the early 20th century), Anabaptists (lit. “baptized twice”) were so named from the fact that they re-baptised converts and Baptists was a name used to refer to any English Separatists that did not practice Infant Baptism.

Islam
Is the monotheistic religion articulated by the Qur’an, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Arabic: الله‎ Allāh), and by the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah and composed of Hadith) of Muhammad, considered by them to be the last prophet of God. Most Muslims belong to one of two denominations; with 80-90% being Sunni and 10-20% being Shia. Muslims who believe that Abu Bakr should have been the Prophet’s successor have come to be known as Sunni Muslims. Those who believe Ali should have been the Prophet’s successor are now known as Shi’a Muslims.

About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country, 25% in South Asia, 20% in the Middle East, 2% in Central Asia, 4% in the remaining South East Asian countries, and 15% in Sub-saharan Africa. Sizable communities are also found in China and Russia, and part

Muslim world
By Wikipedia (click on the picture to enlarge)

Judaism
More or less, everybody knows the history behind the Jewish people. Its history is plenty of migrations which led to spread the Jews worldwide.
Jewish population over the world
By Wikipedia (click on the picture to enlarge)

Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism
The major religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and the moral philosophy of Confucianism evolved in Asia. The eastern religions also extend to Shinto in Japan, Zen Buddhism and, in outlying regions, natural religions with Shamanist features.

The roots of Hinduism can be traced back to the third millennium B.C.E. Around 1500 B.C.E., nomadic Aryan people entered northwestern India from Persia. Buddhism was created around 528 B.C.E. in northern India. Founded by Siddharta Gautama (563-483 B.C.E.), whom his supporters later called the Buddha (the Enlightened One).

Taoism is both a folk religion and a philosophy. It can be regarded as China’s original religion. Founded in the 6th century B.C.E. by Lao Tzu, the putative author of the classic text Tao Te Ching, Taoism has no deity. “Tao” means “way,” i.e. the cosmic order of the polar forces yin (female) and yang (male); it is viewed as a universal principle not accessible through mere human reason. As a school of thought, Taoism is the antithesis of Confucianism.

Confucianism, founded by Confucius (551-479 B.C.E.), is a moral and state philosophy. In a time characterized by particularism and frequent war, it promoted the model of an idealized antiquity, where rulers transmitted responsibility for the empire to the most worthy rather than to their own offspring

Buddhism and Hinduism
By spiegel.de (click on the picture to enlarge)

Shinto (believers in Japan: about 107 million) roots in animism. Gods (kami) inhabit certain mountains, trees, stones and the sun, hence these are to be worshipped. There is no founder or sacred scripture. The kami cult evolved from the 6th to the 8th centuries to strengthen Japanese identification with the myth of the sun goddess Amaterasu (main shrine in Ise) as the ancestress of Japan’s emperors.

Sikhism (Believers worldwide: about 24 million) was founded by Guru Nanak (1469-1539) in northwestern India. Nanak taught that there is only one God, who is both infinite and omnipresent. His teachings were continued by nine successive gurus.

Jainism (Believers in India: about 4.4 million). In the middle of the 1st millennium B.C.E., the authority of Hindu priests was called into question by, among others, Mahavira (circa 599-527 B.C.E.), the founder of Jainism. His followers reject the Vedas, the idea of a creator god and the caste system. They venerate 24 Teachers.

Asian religions
Font (worldreligions.psu.edu)

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