List of religions by age

Posted in Religion

This is a list of various major religions and their effective statistics. 


Began: 2500 BCE or earlier. It is the oldest of the world's living religions.

Founder: None

Status: Polytheistic

Demographics: 900 million

Facts: Many Hindus, influenced by Advaita philosophy, venerate an array of deities, considering them manifestations of the one supreme monistic Cosmic Spirit, Brahman, while many others focus on a singular concept of Brahman (God), as in Vaishnavism, Saivism and Shaktism.


Began: ca. 1400 BCE-1000 BCE

Founder: Zoroaster Spitama

Status: Monotheistic/Dualistic

Demographics: 150 000 to under 2,5 millions (approximately)

Facts: The faith flourished through the rise and fall of many civilizations. For a thousand years (558 BCE to 651 CE) it was the court religion of three Iranian Empires, those of the Achaemenians, the Parthians and the Sasanians, and stretched across Asia from Greece in the west to the Hindu Kush in the east, up into southern Russia, and down into Egypt.


Began: ca. 1400 BCE-500 BCE

Founder: Abraham, son of Terah, who is often considered the first Jew, and Moses, son of Amram, who is believed to have received the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Status: Monotheistic

Demographics: 16 million

Facts: Judaism differs from many religions in that its central authority is not vested in any person or group but rather in its writings and traditions, the Torah and Tanakh as well as the Rabbinic literature that seeks to interpret the former's meaning.


Began: 550 BCE

Founder: Gautama Buddha, who passed through Enlightenment and began to teach it as a reform movement against Hinduism.

Status: Non-theistic

Demographics: 1465 million

Facts: The primary guiding principle of Buddhist practice is the Middle Way that was discovered by Gautama Buddha prior to his enlightenment. The Middle Way or Middle Path is often described as the practice of non-extremism; a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and opposing self-mortification.


Began: 520 BCE

Founder: Confucius

Status: Non-theistic

Demographics: unknow (common with Buddhist population)

Facts: Confucianism is a complex system of moral, social, political, and religious thought which has had tremendous influence on the history of Chinese civilization down to the 21st century.


Began: 500 BCE

Founder: Mahavira

Status: Non-theistic

Demographics: 4.2 million

Facts: Compassion for all life, human and non human, is central to Jainism. It is the only religion that requires monks and laity, from all its sects and traditions, to be vegetarian.


Began: Commented on in the Dao De Jing c. 500 BCE, but a continuiation of much earlier beliefs

Founder: Lao-Tze

Status: Non Theistic

Demographics: Unknow (common with Buddhist population)

Facts: The Vinegar Tasters (sometimes called Three Vinegar Tasters) is a popular painting (usually in scroll format) that explained Taoist ideals in relation to the Neo-Confucian school which began in the 10th century and gained prominence in the 12th century. The image depicts Lao-Tze together with The Buddha, and Confucius. In these paintings the three are gathered around a vat of vinegar and the motto associated with the grouping is "the three teachings are one."


Began: 27 CE

Founder: Jesus of Nazareth, called Christ

Status: Monothestic

Demographics: 2100 million

Facts: Virtually all Christian traditions affirm that Christian practice should include acts of personal piety such as prayer, Bible reading, and attempting to live a moral lifestyle. This lifestyle includes not only obedience to the Ten Commandments, as interpreted by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, but also love for one's neighbour, whether friend or enemy, Christian or non-Christian.


Began: 622 CE

Founder: Prophet Mohammed and earlier prophets

Status: Monotheistic

Demographics: 1330 million

Facts: Muslims believe that Jews read the first holy book, that Christians read both the first and the second, while they read the third and last that contains both the correct version of the first two and final revelations.


Began: formalised in 712 CE, although continuation of earlier beliefs

Founder: formalised by Empress Gemmei

Status: Polytheistic, although kami are not strictly considered deities

Demographics: 4 million

Facts: Shinto has no binding set of dogma, no holiest place for worshippers, no person or kami deemed holiest, and no defined set of prayers. Instead, Shinto is a collection of rituals and methods meant to mediate the relations of living humans to kami.


Began: 1495 CE

Founder: Nanak Dev Ji

Status: Monotheistic

Demographics: 23 million

Facts: Followers of Sikhism are ordained to follow the teachings of the ten Sikh Gurus, or enlightened leaders, as well as the holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib, which includes selected works of many authors from diverse socioeconomic and religious backgrounds.

Baha'i Faith

Began: 1863CE (also 1844)

Founder: Bah?'u'll?h, who said that the source of all religions is the same God

Status: Monotheistic

Demographics: 7 million

Facts: Bah?'? notions of progressive religious revelation result in their accepting the validity of most of the worlds' religions, whose founders and central figures are seen as manifestations of God.

List of pacifist faiths 

This is a list of faiths or religious groups that teach pacifism. Not all have historically practiced pacifism; however, their emphasis on peace is not denied.

  • Amish
  • Bruderhof Communities
  • Buddhism - contains a notable tradition, but not uniformally pacifist
  • Cathars (Assembly of Good Christians)
  • Doukhobors
  • Hinduism - contains a notable tradition, but not uniformally pacifist
  • Hutterites
  • Jainism
  • Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Mennonite
  • Molokans
  • Oomoto
  • Ra?lism
  • Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Schwarzenau Brethren - Church of the Brethren, The Brethren Church, Conservative Grace Brethren Churches, International, Dunkard Brethren, Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, Old German Baptist Brethren
  • Swedenborgianism
  • Unitarian Universalist
  • Unity Church - Charles Fillmore wrote that wars would not end until humans lost the mentality of killing animals for food.

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