Christianity, geographically is now the most practiced religion in the world, with more than 2 billion followers. The Christian faith is based on the beliefs regarding the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Long ago, it may have started with a small group of adherents. Still, many historians regard the religion spread and adoption of Christianity throughout the world as one of the most successful spiritual missions in human history.
- Founder: Ministry of Jesus
- How old: More than 2,000 years
- Holy Book: Holy Bible
- Population: Over 2.4 billion followers (31.4% of global population)
- Origin: Jerusalem
- Symbol: The cross is a symbol of Christianity.
- Holy Place: Old City of Jerusalem
- Celebrations: Christmas, Good Friday and Easter
What does Christian mean?
The word Christian is derived from the Koine Greek title Christós, which means followers of Jesus. Being a Christian is all about friendship with Jesus Christ, and not about going to church or performing any rituals. According to Christianity, knowing Jesus Christ is the gateway to a special relationship with God.
Who is the founder of Christianity?
Christianity is originated from Jesus, a Jewish teacher who declared the forthcoming kingdom of God. Jesus Christ was crucified in AD 30-33 in Jerusalem in the Roman province of Judea. His followers think that he was the Son of God. It is also believed that he died for the forgiveness of sins.
How did Christianity spread?
Christianity was initially spread among the Aramaic-speaking people. It was spread in the regions such as Mediterranean coast, inland parts of the Roman Empire, Parthian Empire, Sasanian Empire, Mesopotamia and so on. The Kingdom of Armenia is the first state to announce Christianity as its state religion.
By the latter half of the second century, Christianity had spread east among the regions such as Media, Bactria, Persia, Parthia and so on.
There are various theories trying to explain how Christianity was able to distribute so effectively.
Rodney Stark in “The Rise of Christianity”, claims that Christianity replaced Paganism as it improved the quality of life in various ways.
Will Durant claims that the Christian spread so quickly replacing Paganism as the church leaders gave more importance to human needs. According to Bart D. Ehrman, the stories of miracles indicated that the one Christian God was more powerful than the many Roman gods.
What is Christmas?
Christmas is the Christian festival celebrated on 25th of December every year, on the birth of Jesus. The word Christmas means mass on Christ’s day. The earlier term Yule derived from the Germanic jōl refers to the feast of the winter solstice. Navidad in Spanish, Natale in Italian, Noël in French all refers to nativity.
Christmas as a festival is observed among Christians and non-Christians alike. The festival is celebrated by decorating their homes with lights and stars, visiting family or friends and exchanging gifts. A mythical character named Santa Claus plays an important role in the festival.
Christians are considered to be monotheistic. Monotheistic means that there is only one God. According to Christianity, the divine Godhead consists of three parts: the father (God himself), the son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit.
Christianity’s main essence revolves around life, death, and Christian beliefs on the resurrection of Jesus.
Christians believe that God sent his son Jesus, otherwise known as the Messiah, to save the world. There is a belief that Jesus was crucified on a cross to offer the forgiveness of sins and was later resurrected after three days of his death before ascending to heaven.
The second coming is what the Christians contend that Jesus will return to earth again.
Both Christians and Jews follow the Old Testament of the Bible; Christians also embark on the New Testament.
The cross is a symbol of Christianity.
The major and the most important Christian holidays are Christmas (which celebrates the birth of Jesus) and Easter (which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus).
Types of Christianity
Christianity is broadly split into three branches: Catholic, Protestant and (Eastern) Orthodox.
Islam – Second Largest Religion in the World
Islam has the second largest religious group in the world. According to a study in 2015, Islam has 1.8 billion supporters which is 24.1% of the world population.
- Founder: The rise of Islam is intrinsically linked with the Prophet Muhammad
- How old: Nearly 1400 years old
- Holy Book: The Quran
- Population: 1.8 billion people worldwide (24% of global population)
- Origin: Mecca, in modern-day Saudi Arabia,
- Symbol: The crescent moon and star
- Holy Place: Mecca
- Celebrations: Eid-ul-Adha, Maulid Al-Nabi, and Ramadan
What does Islam mean?
The word “Islam” literally means submission to the will of God. Muslims is the term used to represent followers of Islam. Muslims are monotheistic, which means there is only one God, who in Arabic is known as Allah.
Who is the founder of Islam?
Prophet Muhammad is the founder of Islam. He was an Arab religious, social, and political leader. According to Muslims, he is the final prophet of God. Muhammad was born approximately 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca. He was orphaned at the age of six and was raised by his grandfather Abd al-Muttalib.
He would frequently isolate himself in a mountain cave named Hira for prayers. When he was 40, he received his first revelation from God. Later on, Muhammad started his revelations publicly. He claimed that God is One, and the complete submission to God is the right way of life. He also claimed that he is a messenger of God, similar to the other prophets in Islam.
What are the five pillars of Islam?
Pillars of Islam, means the five duties of every Muslim. They are,
Shahada: the Muslim profession of faith
Salat:, performed in a prescribed manner five times each day
Zakat: the alms tax levied to benefit the poor and the needy
Sawm: fasting during the month of Ramadan
Hajj: the major holy pilgrimage to Mecca, if financial and physical conditions permit.
How did Islam spread?
Many of those countries, such as Nigeria and Ethiopia, are situated between the predominantly Muslim Maghreb of North Africa. The more solid Christian countries are in the southern part of the continent.
Followers of Islamic religions are the largest religious group in just three countries: Macau, Taiwan, and Vietnam. More importantly, Islam is the second-largest group in 23 nations, including China (where “nones” are the biggest group). Notably, Pakistan has the largest followers of Islam.
Military conquest, trade, pilgrimage, and missionaries are the major reason for the spread of Islam religion. Most of the expansion occurred during 632 to 661 CE, during the reign of the Rashidun.
Types of Islam
The main division in Islam is between Sunnis and Shias, where roughly 90% of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are Sunni, and roughly 10% are Shia. The word Sunni comes from the word Sunnah which refers to examples of Muhammad whereas the word Shia comes from shi’atu ‘Ali which means followers of Ali or party of Ali.
The general division is about the successor of Muhammad, as the leader of the Muslim community. Shias believe it should be members of Muhammad’s family and especially descendants of Muhammad, while the Sunnis believe that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that.
Hinduism – Third Largest Religion in the World
Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world, practiced by over a billion people and it’s interesting for several reasons. It is considered to be one of the oldest religions that is still practiced, with elements from Indus Valley civilization. Some historians would place the origins of Hinduism at 5,000 years into the past with the elements that may have been practiced in the Indus Valley civilization. It also has significant elements that come from the Vedic period.
- Founder: Hinduism has no one founder but is instead a fusion of various beliefs.
- How old: 5,000 years
- Holy Book: The Vedas
- Population: About 900 million followers
- Origin: Indus Valley, near modern-day Pakistan.
- Symbol: Aum ( 🕉 )
- Holy Place: Varanasi, India, is the holiest of the seven sacred cities.
- Celebrations: Diwali, Dussera, Ganesha Chaturthi, Holi, and Navratri.
What does Hindu mean?
The Hindu being someone who practices Hinduism. The name of the Indus River in Sanskrit was Sindhu, the version that the Persians said was Hindus, which later got converted to Indus in Latin. So, Hinduism is the term for the cultural and religious practices of people beyond the Indus River.
Who is the founder of Hinduism?
Unlike other religions around the world, Hinduism has no one founder. The Indo-Aryan people migrated to the Indus Valley around 1500 B.C, their language and culture blended with that of the indigenous people gradually became the religion.
How many Hindu Gods are there?
Hinduism is a polytheistic religion which means belief in or worship of more than one god. Many even believe that there are more than 33 million gods in the Hindu religion. But a series of research has derived that the existence of 33 million gods is a misconception from people with wrong information about the whole Hindu religion.
According to the Vedic it is also derived that there is only one supreme God that exists in two different levels of reality. They are “Parabraham” and “Paramatma”, the two existence named after Braham, which should not be confused with the god Brahma.
The Vedas – Principal texts of Hinduism
The Vedas are from an Indo-Aryan people that many historians believe came from Central Asia and were related to many of the people who colonized Europe. The Vedas are earliest surviving texts, dating from approximately 2000 to 1500 B.C. These principal texts are made up of hymns and ritual treatises that are instructional in nature.
The Vedas often refer to certain gods such as Indra, the thunder god. It is a belief that the god Indra carries messages between humans and the gods. Some of these gods were preserved in later Hinduism, while others are transformed into other deities over time. The Vedas are considered as the source of unchanging knowledge that underlies much of present-day Hindu practices.
Types of Hinduism
The four main castes (in order of prominence) include:
Brahmin: the intellectual and spiritual leaders
Kshatriyas: the protectors and public servants of society
Vaisyas: the skillful producers
Shudras: the unskilled laborers
Top 5 Biggest Religion in the World
Besides Christianity, few other popular religions followed worldwide, which are mentioned below with up to date stats.
|Atheist||500 to 750 million||14%|
Frequently Asked Questions
Hinduism is the largest religion in India with 966 million Hindus which is 79.8% of the population, as per the National Census of India in 2011. 94% of global Hindu population is concentrated in India making it the world’s largest Hindu populated country.
The Hindu symbol Aum ( 🕉 ) represents the sacred sound and icon of Om. It is the symbol of oneness in Hinduism and other world religions. As appropriated in the West, the Om symbol indicates the content dealing with spirituality, yoga, and feelings of inner peace.
Latest studies suggest that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.
Hinduism is considered to be the oldest religion in the world. Many practitioners refer to Hinduism as Sanātana Dharma or the eternal way, referring to the idea that its roots lie beyond human history.