Religion has existed for at least as long as there have been records of human history. It’s hard to imagine when religion or spirituality wasn’t part of human culture. Our religious beliefs may be seen in everything we do, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. It has changed societies, freed many, enslaved others, and sparked and ended wars.
Numerous faiths and philosophies coexist in modern society. New adherents join the ranks of the world’s many faiths and nonbeliefs daily. The following religions and beliefs are the most rapidly growing today.
photo source: Vox
According to projections, the percentage of the world’s Buddhist population is expected to decline from around 7% in 2010 to 5% in 2050. The expected reduction in the proportion of the world’s Buddhist population is a result of the Buddhist population’s age and low reproductive rate compared to other religious groups.
Buddhism was established in India by Siddhartha Gautama (“the Buddha”) more than 2,500 years ago. Experts regard Buddhism as one of the main global religions. Its presence is mostly in Asia; nonetheless, its influence is increasingly seen in Western countries.
Buddhist concepts and philosophies sometimes coincide with those of other religions. Buddhism is a religion that rejects the idea that there is a supreme god or divine being. They are intent on achieving a state of complete inner peace and enlightenment. When they reach this spiritual level, it is considered that they have attained nirvana.
Buddha, the founder of the faith, is regarded as an exceptional being but not a god. The term “Buddha” translates to “enlightened.” Buddhism contains several ideologies and interpretations, making it a tolerant and progressive religion. Some academics do not consider Buddhism an organized religion but rather a “way of life” or “spiritual tradition.”
Did You Know:
The three major Buddhist schools are Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana.
7. Other Religions
photo source: Encyclopedia Brittanica
In 2010, 0.8% of the world’s population belonged to unclassified religious groupings. As a percentage of the global population, believers of other religions are anticipated to fall below 0.7% by 2050.
This “other religions” group includes the Baha’i faith, Taoism, Jainism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Tenrikyo, Wicca, Zoroastrianism, and others that are not officially recorded in surveys and censuses in the majority of nations.
Did You Know:
89% of other religions lived in Asia-Pacific in 2010, and 79% are estimated to live there in 2050.
photo source: World Religion News
In terms of absolute numbers, it looks like irreligion is on the rise (i.e., agnosticism and atheism). Between 2010 and 2015, an estimated 68 million infants were born to religiously unaffiliated mothers, while about 42 million religiously unaffiliated died, resulting in a natural increase of 26 million in the religiously unaffiliated population.
Over the next four decades, however, the world population will grow substantially. As a result, the percentage of the world’s unaffiliated population is projected to decrease from 16% in 2010 to 13% in 2050, from 16% of the world’s total population in 2010.
Did You Know:
China will remain home to the majority (54%) of the world’s unaffiliated people in 2050.
5. Folk Religions
photo source: Earth.com
Around 405 million individuals, or around 6% of the global population, adhere to folk or traditional religions, and this figure is projected to rise to 450 million by 2050. This expansion will not maintain pace with overall population growth. The folk religion population is anticipated to decline to around 5% of the world’s total population in the coming decades.
Traditional religions, often called “folk religions,” have strong ties to a specific community via shared history or geographical proximity. Frequently, they lack official creeds or sacred scriptures. African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, Native American religions, and Australian aboriginal faiths are examples of folk religions.
Did You Know:
Nigeria and Brazil are anticipated to have the largest gains in folk and traditional religion adherents among the 10 nations having the most in 2010.
photo source: History Channel
In 2050, the global Jewish population is projected to increase by 16%, from a little under 14 million in 2010 to 16.1 million. Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion in the world, stretching back over 4,000 years. Jewish people believe in a single God who has revealed himself via ancient prophets. The Torah, the first five books of the Bible, is where Jewish law comes from.
Abraham is regarded as the founding figure of Judaism by the Torah. Approximately 4,000 years ago, he was born when many gods were worshiped, but he believed in just one. Judaism originated from a covenant between God, Abraham, Abraham’s descendants, and Abraham’s offspring. Moses, presumably born in the late 14th century B.C., led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, received the Torah from God, and taught the people the commandments of God.
The three major Jewish sects are Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. Synagogues are places of prayer for Jewish people, and any educated community member can lead services. However, typically a rabbi or cantor leads services.
Did You Know:
The two nations with the greatest Jewish populations are Israel and the United States.
photo source: AlightIndia
The Hindu population is anticipated to increase by 34%, from a little over 1 billion to almost 1.4 billion, substantially in line with the expansion of the global population. According to several historians, Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, with origins and rituals stretching back more than 4,000 years.
With around 900 million adherents, Hinduism is the third-largest religion after Christianity and Islam. More than ninety-five percent of all Hindus live in India. “Hinduism” derives from the Sanskrit term “Indus River inhabitants.”
Hinduism has no founder or foundational incident. It developed as a result of cultural and religious shifts in India. Hindus believe that gods and divinities can take on various forms, but they are all manifestations of Brahman, the universal spirit. Brahman’s three most significant manifestations are Brahma, the creator of the cosmos; Vishnu, the preserver of the universe; and Shiva, the destroyer of the universe.
Hindus believe in the rebirth of the soul after death or reincarnation. Hindus believe that the circumstances of one’s current life result from karma or the accumulation of good or bad actions from previous lifetimes.
There are several sects, theologies, and beliefs in Hinduism, and there is no unified book of doctrine. It is a religious community that welcomes people from various backgrounds and practices.
Did You Know:
Food is an essential component of the Hindu way of life. Many do not consume beef or pork, and the majority are vegetarians.
photo source: St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church
Christianity is currently the largest religion in the world, with an estimated 2.2 billion believers, or about a third (31%) of all 6.9 billion people on the planet. In the next four decades, Christianity will continue to be the largest religion in the world. Assuming present trends continue, the number of Christians will exceed 3 billion (or 31.4%) by 2050.
The life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ form the foundation of Christian beliefs. Christians believe that a single God created the heavens, earth, and cosmos. Christians regard Jesus as the “Messiah,” which means the savior of the world. Additionally, they think he is the son of God. Jesus was born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary and Joseph, her husband. Gabriel visited Mary and informed her that she would conceive a boy who would become the Messiah.
Jesus was executed by crucifixion. His death made redemption and the forgiveness of sins available to everyone. Jesus was resurrected from the grave on the third day following his crucifixion. His resurrection is commemorated on Easter, the most important holiday in Christianity.
It is now the largest of the world’s religions and the most geographically widespread of all faiths. It has a membership of almost two billion believers. Its main denominations are the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant churches.
Did You Know:
Despite popular belief, the Bible is not a single work but an anthology of 66 books written by many authors. The first printed bible was the 1455 Gutenberg Bible, the first book ever printed.
photo source: NPR
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, with a growth rate of 73% and an estimated 2,761,480,000 population by 2050.
If current population trends continue, by the middle of the 21st century, Islam will have nearly caught up to Christianity. Between 2010 and 2050, the global population is projected to expand by 35% to 9.3 billion. The Muslim population, which is very young and has strong birth rates, is anticipated to expand by 73% during the same time span.
Islam is among the Abrahamic faiths. It follows some of the same concepts as Christianity and Judaism and has a monotheistic (belief in one God) doctrine. Muslims believe that Muhammad was Allah’s prophet and that there is only one God, Allah.
In addition, they believe that Adam, mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible, was the very first prophet. Muslims adhere to the five “pillars of Islam”: the Shahadah, the Salat or Salah, Zakat, Sawm, and Hajj. Muslims consider the Quran the divine revelations or words upon which they rest their beliefs. They believe Muhammad received the concepts in the Quran from the angel Gabriel. Mecca and Medina are considered to be the two holiest cities in Islam.
Did You Know:
Indonesia has the highest percentage of Muslims, at 12.6%. Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh also have substantial populations of Muslims.