The cultures of these people and indigenous inhabitants then blended to give rise to a new faith. Only time will tell whether this happens or newer, dynamic religions emerge to captivate even the “nones.”, All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 worldatlas.com, African Countries Where Christianity is the Largest Religion, African Countries With Islam As The Religion Of The Majority, What Is The Yoruba Religion? It was founded in approximately 2300 BC. The Epic, Puranic, and Classic Period followed and lasted from 500 B.C. According to scriptures, God communicated the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mount Sinai, an important pilgrimage site for Jews today. photo source: Wikimedia Commons Rastafari is one of the most misunderstood religions in the world. Most research points to Hinduism as the oldest form of religion. A lack of written records results in most of the knowledge of pre-historic religion being derived from archaeological records and other indirect sources, and from suppositions. However, in the later years of British Raj, Christian missionaries attempted to convert Hindus and westernize the Indian society. Judaism formally started roughly around 690 BC but events leading to its establishment started much earlier. Today, the faith is a unified account of ancient Japanese mythology, marked strongly by Buddhist influences, and followed by the vast majority of the country’s population (though only a small minority identify it as an organized religion). The intense mingling of cultures has diluted the stringent and conservative religious beliefs of the younger generations across the world. Based in the northernmost regions of the Indian subcontinent (most likely in present-day Nepal) roughly between the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, he was the founder and leader of his own monastic order, one of many sects (known as Śramana) that existed across the region at the time. During this time, the Indo-Aryans migrated to the Indus Valley. However, all of these things are symbolic, and followers of the religion, which are close to 1,000,000 people, also believe that Haile Selassie, the former Ethiopian emperor, is the Second Coming of … Not included, then, are the various animistic and shamanistic traditions (counting the Chinese folk religion, which lacks consistency and is partly constructed on Taoist and Confucian beliefs), as well as the modern revival of ancient religions such as Neopaganism or Mexicayotl (both traditions that were for a long time eradicated, and may differ in important ways from their original conception). If it is today followed by an estimated 11–14 million people, its two successor faiths – Christianity (1st century CE) and Islam (7th century CE) – are the world’s most popular, with a combined 3.8 billion adherents. Several major religions of the world like Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism are linked to a prominent spiritual leader or prophet who laid the framework of the faith. The first and foremost of these is a belief in the Vedas – four texts compiled between the 15th and 5th centuries BCE on the Indian subcontinent, and the faith’s oldest scriptures – which make Hinduism without doubt the oldest religion in existence. Hinduism suffered a setback during the Muslim Period from about 1200 to 1757. However, it is the oldest of the monotheistic religions. The religion morphed into its current form in the 6th century BCE, evolving from the worship of a state god based in a polytheistic worldview into that of a one ‘true’ God, codified in the Bible. It has no single founder. Today, the world has around 14 million Jews. A note on methodology: Before getting into it, it is worth mentioning that determining a religion’s age depends entirely on how one defines what a religion is. Since the teachings were first compiled in the Analects a generation or two after Confucius’s death, the tradition has gone through various periods of popularity and unpopularity in China, and remains one of the leading influences on modern Chinese folk religion.
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