19 June 2008

Religious Beliefs: Religion by Ranking

By Vicki Gaia

Haven't we heard, again and again, the advice never to discuss politics and religion at a social gathering? It's bound to stir up bad feelings, and, frankly, you can never win the argument. Yet religion is a subject that's fascinated people through history. Wars are fought in the name of religion, lovers scorned, and countries divided.

I've searched the web for the top religions. The rankings I found are from around 2001. Here's the top 13 religions list by number of adherents, according to this website. There are challenges to this ranking, of course, and this is one list out of many.

1. Christianity: 2.1 billion

2. Islam: 1.5 billion

3. Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion

4. Hinduism: 900 million

5. Chinese traditional religion: 394 million

6. Buddhism: 376 million

7. Primal/Indigenous: 300 million

8. African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million

9. Sikhism: 23 million

10. Juche: 19 million

11. Spiritism: 15 million

12. Judaism: 14 million

13. Baha'i: 7 million

Here's another interesting list from the same website:

Top Religions in the U.S. (2001)

1. Christianity
2. Nonreligious/Secular
3. Judaism
4. Islam
5. Buddhism
6. Agnostic
7. Atheist
8. Hinduism
9. Unitarian Universalist
10. Wiccan/Pagan/Druid
11. Spiritualist
12. Native American Religion
13. Baha'i

According to another website, the growth rate of religions in the U.S. from the same time period shows an unusual tread:

Religions in the U.S. Based on Growth Rate (1990-2001)

1. Wiccan
2. Deist
3. Sikhism
4. New Age
5. Hindu
6. Baha'i
7. Buddhism
8. Congregational/UCC
9. Native American religions
10. Nonreligious/Secular
11. Muslim/Islamic
12. Christian
13. Taoist

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