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The Big Religion Chart: Comparison Chart

The Religion Facts "Big Religion Chart" is an attempt to summarize the major religions of the world - Buddhism, url=/big-
Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and dozens more - into a quick-reference comparison chart. It is not

intended to be a substitute for advanced religious study and exploration, but a fast overview, with links to articles
of greater depth. It is our hope that this chart becomes a useful tool for you to compare basic religious beliefs and (
practices of the world's religions and belief systems. u=
Big Big subject=The+
Over 30 religions and belief systems are currently listed. We have been very inclusive with what is regarded as a religion-
"religion." If a group does not appear, it doesn't mean it's not a religion or doesn't matter; the chart is not chart)
comprehensive and will continue to grow. Links go to more in-depth ReligionFacts articles (see also the list of
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History Adherents Gods Meaning of Life Aerlife Practices Texts

Various prophet- 1 million Generally monotheistic; Strong emphasis on healing and Not emphasized; views vary. Spiritual healing is central. Mix of none
Aladura healing churches a mix of Anglican, salvation in this life. Anglican and African rituals; a
(/aladura) founded since c.1918, Pentecostal and prophet plays a prominent role.
West Nigeria. traditional African
Revival of Norse and Polytheistic, Norse gods Salvation or redemption not Valhalla (heaven) for death in battle; Hel Sacrifice of food or drink, toast to Eddas (Norse epics); the
Asatru (/asatru) Germanic paganism, and goddesses, Norse emphasized. Fatalistic outlook. (peaceful place) for most; Hifhel (hell) for the the gods, shamanism (less Havamal (proverbs
1970s Scandinavia creation myths. very evil. frequently), celebration of solstice attributed to Odin)
and USA. holidays. Nine Noble Virtues is
moral code.
Founded by 5-7 million One God, who has The soul is eternal and essentially Soul separates from the body and begins a Daily prayer, avoidance of Writings of Bah'u'llh
Bah' Faith Bah'u'llh, 1863, revealed himself good. Purpose of life is to develop journey towards or away from God. Heaven intoxicants, scripture reading, hard and other Bah' leaders.
(/bahai) Tehran, Iran. progressively through spiritually and draw closer to God. and hell are states of being. work, education, work for social
major world religions. justice and equality.
Indigenous religion of 100,000 Nontheistic Buddhism, Purpose is to gain enlightenment. Reincarnation until gain enlightenment Meditation on mandalas and Bonpo canon
Bon (/bon) Tibet. but meditation on Tibetan deities, astrology, monastic
peaceful and wrathful life.
Based on teachings of 360 million Varies: Theravada Avoid su ering and gain enlightenment The Buddha said of death: Life is a journey. Meditation, mantras, devotion to Tripitaka (Pali Canon);
Buddhism Siddharta Gautama atheistic; Mahayana and release from cycle of rebirth, or at Death is a return to earth. The universe is like deities (in some sects), mandalas Mahayana sutras like the
(/buddhism) (the Buddha) in c. 520 more polytheistic. least attain a better rebirth by gaining an inn. The passing years are like dust. Regard (Tibetan) Lotus Sutra; others.
BC, NE India. Buddha taught nothing merit. this phantom world As a star at dawn, a bubble
is permanent. in a stream, A flash of lightning in a summer
cloud, A flickering lamp - a phantom - and a
History Adherents Gods Meaning of Life Aerlife Practices Texts
Founded in 1926, 4-6 million God represented by Goal is peace and harmony in each reincarnation until Nirvana/Heaven Hierarchy similar to Roman Caodai canon
Cao Dai (/cao- Vietnam by Ngo Van Divine Eye. Founders of person and in the world. Salvation by Catholicism. Daily prayer.
dai) Chieu and others Buddhism, Taoism, "cultivating self and finding God in Meditation. Communication with
based on a sance. Hinduism, Islam, and self." spirit world (now outlawed in
Christianity venerated, Vietnam).
and saints including
Victor Hugo.
Indigenous folk 394 million Dualistic yin and yang; A favorable life and peaceful aerlife, reincarnation Ancestor worship, prayer, longevity none
Chinese Religion religion of China. mythological beings and attained through rituals and honoring practices, divination, prophecy and
(/chinese- folk deities. of ancestors. astrology, feng shui.
based on life and 2 billion Holy Trinity = God the All have sinned and are thereby Eternal heaven or hell (most denominations); Prayer, Bible study, baptism, Bible (Hebrew Bible +
Christianity teachings of Jesus of Father + God the Son + separated from God. Salvation is temporary purgatory (Catholicism) Eucharist (Communion), church on New Testament)
(/christianity) Nazareth (born c. 4 God the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ and, for some, Sundays, numerous holidays.
BCE), a Jew from sacraments and good works.
Palestine under
Roman rule
Founded by Confucius 5-6 million Not addressed To fulfill one's role in society with Honesty, politeness, propriety, Analects
Confucianism (551479 BC), China propriety, honor, and loyalty. humaneness, perform correct role
(/confucianism) in society, loyalty to family, nation

Founded by Al-Darazi 500,000 Universal Intelligence Live a good life for a favorable Reincarnation. Heaven is a spiritual existence Modest lifestyles, fasting before Eid Al-Naqd al-Khafi (Copy of
Druze (/druze) in 11th century, Cairo, (al-Aql al-Kulli) or Divine reincarnation. Await the re-appearance when one has escaped reincarnation. Hell is al-Adha. Beliefs and practices are the Secret); Al-Juz'al-
Egypt. Roots in the Essence (akin to of al-Hakim (a Fatimid caliph who distance from God in lifetime aer lifetime. hidden for protection from Awwal (Essence of the
Isma'iliyya sect of Shia Neoplatonism), of which disappeared in 1021), who will usher in persecution. Special group of First)
Islam. al-Hakim is believed to a Golden Age for true believers. initiates called uqqal.
be an incarnation.
Founded by Paul 50-500,000 The Divine Spirit, called "Each of us is Soul, a spark of God sent Reincarnation. The Soul is eternal by nature Spiritual Exercises of ECK: mantras, Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad and
Eckankar Twitchell in Las Vegas, "ECK." to this world to gain spiritual and on a spiritual journey. Liberation possible meditation, and dreams. These books by Harold Klemp.
(/eckankar) 1965 experience." Salvation is liberation and in a single lifetime. enable Soul travel and spiritual
God-realization. growth.
Based on the unknown A deistic sort of Materialism: everything is made of No aerlife. The soul dissolves when the body Pursue the highest pleasures Letters and Principal
Epicureanism teachings of Epicurus, polytheism: the gods atoms, including gods and the soul. dies. (friendship and tranquility) and Doctrines of Epicurus
(/epicureanism) c. 300 BCE, Athens. exist, but take no notice avoid pain.
of humans.
Li Hongzhi in 1992 in 10 million Countless gods and The Falun (wheel) is an energy source Not addressed Five exercises to strengthen the Zhuan Falun and other
Falun Gong China spiritual beings. located in the navel. Goal is spritual Falun. Cultivation of truthfulness, writings by Master Li
(/falun-gong) Demonic aliens. transcendence, achieved by practicing benevolence and forbearance. Meat
Falun Gong. eating discouraged.
Various teachers ancient form extinct; The supreme God is Humans can return to the spiritual Return to the spiritual world. Asceticism, celibacy Gnostic scriptures
Gnosticism including Valentinus, small modern revival unknowable; the creator world through secret knowledge of the including various Gospels
(/gnosticism) 1st-2nd cents. AD groups god is evil and matter is universe. and Acts attributed to
evil. apostles.
Various indigenous ancient form extinct Olympic pantheon Human life is subject to the whim of the Beliefs varied from no aerlife to shadowy Animal sacrifice, harvest o erings, Epic poems of Homer and
Greco-Roman religions of the (Zeus, etc.) mixed with gods and to Fate; these can be existence in the underworld to a paradise-like festivals, games, processions, Hesiod.
religion (/greco- ancient Greeks and eastern deities like Isis controlled through sacrifice and aerlife (mainly in mystery religions). dance, plays, in honor of the gods.
roman-religion) Romans, c. 500 BCE to and Cybele divination. Secret initiations and rituals in
400 CE. mystery religions.
Bhaktivedanta Swami 250,000-1 million Krishna is the Supreme Salvation from this Age of Kali is by a Reincarnation until unite with the Godhead. Chanting, dancing, evangelism, The Bhagavad-Gita As It Is
Hare Krishna Prabhupada, 1966, God. return to Godhead, accomplished vegetarianism, temple worship,
(/hare-krishna) USA (with roots in through Krishna-Consciousness. monastic-style living
15th-century Hindu
History Adherents Gods Meaning of Life Aerlife Practices Texts
Indigenous religion of 900 million One Supreme Reality Humans are in bondage to ignorance Reincarnation until gain enlightenment. Yoga, meditation, worship (puja), The Vedas, Upanishads,
Hinduism India as developed to (Brahman) manifested and illusion, but are able to escape. devotion to a god or goddess, Bhagavad Gita,
(/hinduism) present day. in many gods and Purpose is to gain release from rebirth, pilgrimage to holy cities, live Ramayana, etc.
goddesses or at least a better rebirth. according to one's dharma
(purpose/ role).
Based on teachings of 1.3 billion One God (Allah in Humans must submit (islam) to the will Paradise or Hell. Five Pillars: Faith, Prayer, Alms, Qur'an (sacred text);
Islam (/islam) the Prophet Arabic); the same God of God to gain Paradise aer death. Pilgrimage, Fasting. Mosque Hadith (tradition)
Muhammad; founded revealed (imperfectly) in services on Fridays. Ablutions
622 CE in Mecca, the Jewish and Christian before prayer. No alcohol or pork.
Saudi Arabia. Bibles Holidays related to the pilgrimage
and fast of Ramadan.
Founded by Mahavira, 4 million The universe is eternal; Gain liberation from cycle of rebirth, by Reincarnation until liberation. Monasticism under the Five Great The teachings of
Jainism c. 550 BCE, eastern many gods exist. Gods, avoiding all bad karma, especially by Vows (Non-Violence, Truth, Mahavira in various
(/jainism) India humans and all living causing no harm to any sentient being. Celibacy, Non-Stealing, Non- collections.
things are classified in a Possessiveness); worship at
complex hierarchy. temples and at home. Meditation
and mantras.
Founded by Charles 6.5 million One God: Jehovah. No Salvation is through faith in Christ and Heaven for 144,000 chosen Witnesses, eternity No blood transfusions, no New World Translation of
Jehovah's Taze Russell, 1879, Trinity. Christ is the first obeying Jehovah's laws. The End of the on new earth for other Witnesses. All others celebration of holidays, no use of the Scriptures
Witnesses Pittsburgh creation of God; the Holy World is soon. annihilated. No hell. crosses or religious images.
(/jehovahs- Spirit is a force. Baptism, Sunday service at
Kingdom Hall, strong emphasis on
witnesses) evangelism.
The religion of the 14 million One God: Yahweh Obey God's commandments, live Not historically emphasized. Beliefs vary from Circumcision at birth, bar/bat Hebrew Bible (Tanakh);
Judaism Hebrews (c. 1300 BC), (YHVH) ethically. Focus is more on this life than no aerlife to shadowy existence to the World mitzvah at adulthood. Synagogue Talmud
(/judaism) especially aer the the next. to Come (similar to heaven). services on Saturdays. No pork or
destruction of the other non-kosher foods. Holidays
Second Temple in 70 related to historical events.
Began c.250 CE (rise of At one time up to 2 Many gods, including Appease and nourish the gods; The soul journeys through dark and Astronomy, divination, human Dresden Codex; Madrid
Mayan religion the Mayan civilization) million. Today, several Itzamn, Kukulcn, determine luckiest dates for various threatening underworld; but sacrificial victims sacrifice, elaborate burial for Codex; Paris codex;
(/mayan- million Maya practice a Bolon Tzacab, and Chac activities. and women who die in childbirth go to heaven. royalty, worship in stone pyramid- Books of Chilam Balam;
religion) Roman Catholicism temples Popol Vuh; The Ritual of
that retains many the Bacabs
elements of traditional
Mayan religion.
Founded by Joseph 12.2 million God the Father, the Son Return to God by faith in Christ, good All return to spirit world for period of Abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, Christian Bible, Book of
Mormonism Smith, 1830, New Jesus Christ, and the works, ordinances, and evangelism. instruction before resurrection. Mormons to co ee and tea; baptism for the Mormon, Doctrine and
(/mormonism) York. Holy Ghost are three heaven with God and families; others rewarded dead; eternal marriage; temple Covenants, and Pearl of
separate individual but not with God; hell for those who reject God garments under daily clothes; Great Price
beings aer death. active evangelism.
Founded by Wallace Estimates range from "One God whose proper "The Blackman is the original man." Mental resurrection of the righteous. Black Prayer five times a day. Work for Qur'an and "Scriptures of
Nation of Islam Fard Muhammad, 10,000 to 100,000 name is Allah." Wallace Live righteously and worship Allah. people will be mentally resurrected first. the equality of the African race. all the Prophets of God"
(/nation-of- 1930, Detroit, USA. Fard Muhammad Respect laws of the land, don't are holy texts. Influential
islam) became the divine carry arms, don't make war. writings include Elijah
messiah and incarnation Healthy living and abstinence from Muhammad's Message to
of Allah in 1930. alcohol, smoking and substance the Blackman in America
abuse. Modest dress. (1965)
Helena Petrovna 5 million The Divine is an Dawning of a New Age of heightened Reincarnation Astrology; mysticism; use of Works of a variety of New
New Age (/new- Blavatsky and Annie impersonal life force consciousness and international peace. crystals; yoga; tarot readings; Age writers
age) Besant in the 19th C, that pervades all things Individuals can obtain a foretaste of the holistic medicine; psychic abilities;
Alice A. Bailey (1880- New Age through spiritual angelic communications;
1949), flourished in transformation ("Ascension"). More channeling; amulets; fortune-
1970s and 80s emphasis on the latter now. Evil comes telling
from ignorance.
History Adherents Gods Meaning of Life Aerlife Practices Texts
Phineas Parkhurst 160,000 Generally monism (all is Man is divine, essentially spirit, and has "Life is eternal in the invisible kingdom of Emphasis on spiritual and mental Writings of Quimby (such
New Thought Quimby (1802-66) and One), but members infinite possibility. Mind can control the God." healing, but without rejection of as the The Quimby
(/new-thought) others, late 19th might be theists, body. Sin and sickness caused by modern medicine. Worship Manuscripts) and other
century, USA. pantheists or incorrect thinking. Man can live in services; prayer for the sick; New Thought authors
panentheists. God is oneness with God in love, truth, peace, discussion of New Thought authors
immanent; the universe health, and prosperity. and ideas.
is essentially spiritual.
mostly extinct Mostly unknown due to unknown, but art indicates importance sacrifices, large sculptures of none
Olmec Religion lack of written records. of fertility (rain, corn, etc.) human heads, cave rituals,
(/olmec-religion) Many gods represented pilgrimages, ball-courts, pyramids
in art, including the
Olmec Dragon, Maize
Deity, Bird Monster, and
Founded by Marcus 1 million God is Jah, who became Humans are temples of Jah. Salvation Some Rastas will experience "everliving" Many practices based on Jewish Holy Piby (the
Rastafarianism Garvey in the slums of incarnate in Jesus (who is primarily in this world and consists of (physical immortality). Heaven is a return to biblical Law. Abstinence from most "Blackman's Bible"). The
(/rastafarianism) Jamaica in the 1920s was black); Ethiopian liberation from oppression and return Eden, which is in Africa. or all meat, artificial foods, and Ethiopian epic Kebra
and 30s Emperor Haile Selassie I to Africa. alcohol. Use of marijuana in Negast also revered.
was messiah. religious rituals and for medicine.
Wearing of dreadlocks.
Founded by L. Ron 70,000 or several God(s) not specified; Human consists of body, mind and Reincarnation Auditing, progressing up various Writings of Hubbard, such
Scientology Hubbard, 1954, million, depending on reality explained in the thetan; capable of great things. Gain levels until "clear". Focus on as Dianetics and
(/scientology) California the source Eight Dynamics spiritual freedom by ridding mind of education and drug recovery Scientology
engrams. programs.
Rooted in Millerite 25 million (same as Christianity); Live in accordance with the Bible, A "peaceful pause" aer death until the 24-hour Sabbath observance Christian Bible; writings
Seventh-Day movement; founded Ellen G. White including the Old Testament. The coming of Christ, then resurrection to starting Friday at sunset; adult of Ellen G. White as
Adventist Church 1863 in New England; considered a prophet Second Coming will happen soon. judgment, followed by eternity in heaven or baptism by immersion; church helpful supplement
(/seventh-day- early leaders: Ellen nonexistence. No hell. services emphasizing sermon
White, Hiram Edson
adventist) and Joseph Bates
Indigenous religion of 3-4 million kami: ancient gods or Humans are pure by nature and can Death is bad and impure. Some humans Worship and o erings to kami at Kojiki (Records of Ancient
Shinto (/shinto) Japan spirits keep away evil through purification become kami aer death. shrines and at home. Purification Matters); Nihon-gi
rituals and attain good things by calling rituals. (Chronicles of Japan)
on the kami.
Founded by Guru 23 million one God: Ik Onkar Overcome the self, align life with will of Reincarnation until resolve karma and merge Prayer and meditation on God's Adi Granth (Sri Guru
Sikhism Nanak, c. 1500, God, and become a "saint soldier," with God. name, services at temple Granth Sahib)
(/sikhism) Punjab, India. fighting for good. (gurdwara), turban and five Ks.
Balance work, worship, and charity.
No monasticism or asceticism.
Modern movement: 11 million Generally based in a Body and spirit are separate entities. A spiritual existence with access to the living. Sunday services. Seances and other No authoritative texts.
spiritualism c.1850, USA, UK, Christian worldview. Morality and contact with spirits a ect Condition depends on morality of life and communication with departed Doctrine learned from
(/spiritualism) France Main focus is spirits of aerlife. advancement is possible. spirits. Spirit healing. spirit guides (advanced
deceased humans. departed spirits).
Based on teachings of 20 million (394 million Pantheism - the Tao Inner harmony, peace, and longevity. Revert back to state of non-being, which is General attitude of detachment Kojiki (Records of Ancient
Taoism (/taoism) Lao-Tzu, c. 550 BC, of Chinese religion in pervades all. Yin-yang - Acheived by living in accordance with simply the other side of being. and non-struggle, "go with the Matters); Nihon-gi
China. general) opposites make up a the Tao. flow" of the Tao. Tai-chi, (Chronicles of Japan)
unity. acupuncture, and alchemy to help
Founded by Sun Over 1 million (3 Monotheism, with the True love and world peace instead of Eternal life in a spirit world. Blessing Ceremony The Divine Principle
Unification Myung Moon, 1954, million acc. to o icial duality of God (esp. selfish love. True love and the kingdom (1954) by Rev. Moon.
Church South Korea. sources) masculine and feminine) of God on earth will be restored by the
(/unification- emphasized. No Trinity. creation of "true families."
History Adherents Gods Meaning of Life Aerlife Practices Texts
Based on ancient 1-3 million Polytheism, centered on "If it harms none, do what you will." reincarnation until reach the Summerland Prayer, casting a circle, Drawing No sacred text;
Wicca (/wicca) pagan beliefs, but the Goddess and God, Down the Moon, reciting spells, foundational texts
modern form founded each in various forms; dancing, singing, sharing cakes and include The Witch Cult in
early 1900s. Founder also a belief in a wine or beer Western Europe and The
generally said to be Supreme Being over all God of the Witches
Gerald Gardner.
Based on teachings of 200,000, mostly in One God, Ahura Mazda, Humans are free to do good or evil, Judgment followed by heaven or hell. Hell is Good deeds, charity, equality, hard Zend Avesta
Zoroastrianism Zoroaster in 6th cent. India but a dualistic must choose the side of good. temporary until final purgation and return to work.
(/zoroastrianism) BCE Persia. O icial worldview in which an Ahura Mazda.
religion of ancient evil spirit, Angra Mainyu,
Persia. May have is almost as powerful.
influenced Judaism
and Vedic religion.

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Article Info
Title The Big Religion Chart

URL (/big-religion-chart)

Short URL (

Published March 17, 2004

Updated November 12, 2015
MLA Citation The Big Religion Chart. 12 Nov. 2015. Web. Accessed 21 Sep. 2016. <>
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