Identifying most named ‘Religions’ is an easy process; however, recording accurate data is a most difficult thing to do. And reporting on global religious adherents or members of various religions to the point of within margins of one or two percent error borders on impossible. Nevertheless, i begin by offering a portion of another page on TheTruthSource website call Quantitative Analysis: the World (under Moral Compass heading), which states:
“A 2012 poll by WIN/Gallup International surveyed over 50,000 people in 40 countries whether they considered themselves ‘religious’, ‘not religious’ or ‘convinced atheist’. The 2012 poll found that ‘nearly 47% of people living in China describe themselves as atheists compared to an average of 13% across the world… One of the most surprising figures is in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia where 5% of the population described themselves as atheists, despite this is considered a crime…’ The poll reported 31% of Japan’s population consider themselves ‘atheists,’ as did more than 30% French and Czech Republic citizens.
In a 2015 WIN/Gallop article called Losing our religion? Two thirds of people still claim to be religious, reported China with 61% atheists, Japan (31%), Czech Republic (30%), and Spain (20%). Their research states, 22% of the world’s people say explicitly that they are ‘not religious.’ The survey covered 65 countries, surveying about 64,000 people. The study found that ‘the most religious regions are Africa and MENA (Middle East and N. Africa) where 86% and 82% of the people consider themselves to be religious.’
…The 2015 study also stated, ‘Western Europe (51%) and Oceania (49%) are the only regions where approximately half of the population is either not religious or convinced atheists.’ …A better indicator of the non-Christian and even proof of those ‘practicing’ their religion can be seen in a WIN-GALLOP with Global Barometer Study. In 2012 they released Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism. They found 36% of the people surveyed across the world considered themselves ‘Not a religious person’ or ‘a convinced atheist.’
Yet, these do not include those who did not respond or ‘don’t know,’ which in itself says something. Nor did the study examine practices of those surveyed. Thus, to say 31% of the Japanese call themselves atheist, falls well short of saying 85% of the people in Japan are atheist, non-religious, don’t know their religious condition or would not response when surveyed. Moreover, of the 15% that call themselves religious; a very small percent are practicing Christians.
Additionally, when the Global Study says that Austria, Czech Republic, Iceland and Ireland are among the top ten Atheist populations by percentage tells of trends in those countries, but says little to what that means on a global scale; together the four nations only makeup .33 of 1% of the world’s population. Other problems are the difficulty of getting current statistics. So the World Factbook put out by the CIA may say 2011 on the cover, but notes under India (2001). According to India’s Ministry of Statistics in 2001 they had 1.028 billion people of which 828 million Hindu; 4.29 billion males and 3.99 females. They also had at that time 138 million Muslims, 71.4 million males and 66.8 million females; and 24.1 million Christians, 12 million males and 12.1 million females; and 19.2 million Sikh. Therefore, if the 2011 official census is not available, numbers could be a decade old. And estimates will be off. For example, the 2011 India Census show a 24% increase in Muslims from the previous 2001 census. Additionally, through the number of non-religious people in India rose by 6% from 2005 to 2012, it is hard to guess the nature of their Hindu population, which has been reported to be vastly secular, agnostic and/or non-practicing. The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) had India at about 1,300 million people June 2015.
…For example, those in China who stated they were Buddhist, Christian and Muslim in their census and surveys totaled about 25%, but in the WIN-Gallop Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism Poll only 14% identified themselves as ‘a religious person.’
In the last few years WIN/Gallup International stated China was 86% non-religious. However, a more recent survey by Gallup International and the WI Network of Market Research, based on 64,000 interviews, found ‘although China’s society has deep religious traditions, decades of Communist rule have installed a widespread atheistic materialism’ which has resulted about 90% of all Chinese considering themselves to be atheists or non-religious…
The 2010 census, the CIA World Factbook and Pew Research Center studies, shows the United States has about 73% ‘professing’ Christians, including about 50% Protestants and 23% Catholics; yet, when asked 32% recently identified themselves as non-religious. Although Sweden and China rank significantly high in non-religious, even nations such as Israel are very secular. By certain studies, Israel has 50% to 65% of their citizens identified as non-religious or atheists. According to the U. S. Census Bureau International Data Base (IDB), the world population was 7.25 billion in mid-2015 or 7.3 by the PRB. Sources list the world Christian population at 33%; yet 23% is more accurate. About 5.6 billion or 77% of all people are non-Christians. Between 3.7 and 4.2 billion are non-religious in that they do not practice a religion at all, or do not attend a religious service once a month.”
PEW RESEARCH CENTER: The Global Religious Landscape (Dec. 2012): “A comprehensive demographic study of more than 230 countries and territories conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life estimates that there are 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84% of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.
The demographic study – based on analysis of more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers – finds 2.2 billion Christians (32% of the world’s population), 1.6 billion Muslims (23%), 1 billion Hindus (15%), nearly 500 million Buddhists (7%) and 14 million Jews (0.2%) around the world as of 2010. In addition, more than 400 million people (6%) practice various folk or traditional religions, including African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, Native American religions and Australian aboriginal religions. An estimated 58 million people – slightly less than 1% of the global population – belong to other religions, including the Baha’i faith, Jainism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Tenrikyo, Wicca and Zoroastrianism, to mention just a few.
At the same time, the new study by the Pew Forum also finds that roughly one-in-six people around the globe (1.1 billion, or 16%) have no religious affiliation. This makes the unaffiliated the third-largest religious group worldwide, behind Christians and Muslims…”
WORLD POPULATION: 1850/1.2 billion; 1950/2.5 billion; 1987/5 billion; 1917/7.5 billion
“Jesus …asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ They said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah… or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (Matt. 16:13-16).”
I. Christianity: Approximately 2 billion or 27% of the world’s population.
Christian adherents (members) by sources:
Pew Research Center: 2010 – 2.17 billion; median age 30; 31.4 % of world pop.
Operation World (c.2010): 2008-10 – 2.23 billion; 32.3 % of world population
CIA World Factbook (website 2016): 2010 – 2.17; 31.4% (used by ARDA, etc.)
CARNEGIE Endowment for International Peace; 6/13 article: ‘On Power and World Religions,’ states: “…For instance, the 1970 census in Brazil showed 90% of the population identifying as Catholic. In 2010, this figure dropped to 65%. The trend is occurring in Guatemala, the Philippines, and Nigeria…”
TheTruthSource (adjusted for nonpracticing): 2017: 1.7 billion; 23 % of world pop.
[from The Epidemic of Dying Christianity; a servant (publish date expected 2018) Notes: “The 2010 census, the the CIA World Factbook and Pew Research Center studies, shows the United States has about 73% ‘professing’ Christians, including about 50% Protestants and 23% Catholics; yet, when asked 32% recently identified themselves as non-religious. Although Sweden and China rank significantly high in non-religious, even nations such as Israel are very secular. By certain studies, Israel has 50% to 65% of their citizens identified as non-religious or atheists. According to the U. S. Census Bureau International Data Base (IDB), the world population was 7.25 billion in mid-2015 or 7.3 by the PRB. Sources list the world Christian population at 33%; yet 23% is more accurate. About 5.6 billion or 77% of all people are non-Christians. Between 3.7 and 4.2 billion are non-religious in that they do not practice a religion at all, or do not attend a religious service once a month.”]
World Christian Denominations (2010-15)
(Claimed members according to Denominations, Operation World, CIA Factbook)
Catholic (Roman): 1.1 billion; likely less than 20% practicing.
Eastern Orthodoxy: 210 million
Baptist (all Southern, National, etc.): 105 million
Anglican/Episcopalian: 80 million
Oriental Orthodoxy: 75 million
Assemblies of God: 60 million
Other Pentecostal (New Apostolic Church, Church of God, etc.): 70 million
Lutheran (all 30+ Evangelical, Missouri Synod, etc.): 87 million
Methodist (all): 75 million
Reformed Churches (Presbyterian -24m; etc.): 75 million
Non-denominational: Calvary Chapel: 25 million
Non-denominational: Vineyard: 15 million
Non-denominational (other): 40 million
Brethren (incl. Plymouth): 2.4 million
Latter Day Saints (Mormons): 14 million
Jehovah’s Witnesses: 7 million
ISLAM – MUSLIMS
“Truly, my prayer and service of sacrifice, my life and my death are for Allah the Cherisher of the Universe (Qur’an; 6:162)”
II. Islam: 1.7 billion
Islam adherents (members) by sources:
Pew Research Center: 2010 – 1.6 billion; median age 23; 23 % of world pop.
Operation World (c.2010): 2008-10 – 1.58 billion; 22.9 % of world population
CIA World Factbook (website 2016): 2010 – 1.6; 23.2% (used by ARDA, etc.)
TheTruthSource: from unpublished researched copyrighted as The Epidemic of Dying Christianity: 2016: approximately 1.85 professing; 24% (however, through required by law to practice in most Muslim nations, likely 15% or more of these do not practice or believe).
An NPR (National Public Radio) online article (April 2015) stated, “Islam is growing more rapidly than any other religion in the world, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center that says the religion will nearly equal Christianity by 2050 before eclipsing it around 2070, if current trends continue. ‘The main reason Muslims are growing not only in number but in share worldwide is because of where they live,’ Alan Cooperman, Pew’s director of religion research, tells NPR’s Tom Gjelten. ‘Muslim populations are concentrated in some of the fastest-growing parts of the world.’ The finding is part of the center’s report on the future of the world’s religions. You can see the full report at the Pew site, which has also published an interactive tool to help readers drill down by geography and religion. ‘As of 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth,’ the Pew report says. ‘Islam was second, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent of the global population’.”
In 2009, ‘Year 2050, 20% of European are Muslim,’ the “… Daily Telegraph UK, said, reported the Muslim in Europe in the year 2050 is estimated to be 20% of the continent’s population is increasing because of immigration and the birth of the reduced number of European native. According to experts demographic data gathered by the newspaper, the Muslim population of the total population of 27 countries in Europe will increase to 20%, in the year 2050. From 27 countries who have indicated will be higher proportion of Muslims in the near future is English, Spanish, and Dutch. UK, which currently has a population of 20 million fewer than Germany, also projected the state will be the most populous in Europe in the year 2060 with a population of 77 million.”
Sunnis: ‘traditionalists’ are the most dominant sect of Islam. They have four divisions: Hanabalites, Malikhites, Hanafites and Shafiities. Sunnis follow the line of the first three caliphs (leader successors to Muhammad): Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman.
Shi’ites: Primarily located in Iran and Lebanon, and less than 15% of all Muslims. They believe that the successors to Muhammad came through Ali, the husband of his daughter Fatima (note: Fatima in the Catholic religion, and her visions of Mary – perhaps appealing to the Muslims). One of the divisions are called the Twelvers and believe the 12th Iman was taken and hidden by God to return in the last days as the Mahdi – which some call the Antichrist.
III. Hinduism: less than 800 million (could be less than 500 million practicing)
CIA WORLD FACTBOOK: 2010: 1 billion; 15% of world population
Pew Research used same numbers and percentages as Factbook in their The Global Religious Landscape (Dec. 2012).
Operation World (2010): 958 million; 13.9%
[from The Epidemic of Dying Christianity; a servant (publish date expected 2018) Notes: “…the World Factbook put out by the CIA may say 2011 on the cover, but notes under India (2001). According to India’s Ministry of Statistics in 2001 they had 1.028 billion people of which 828 million Hindu; 429 million males and 399 females. They also had at that time 138 million Muslims, 71.4 million males and 66.8 million females; and 24.1 million Christians, 12 million males and 12.1 million females; and 19.2 million Sikh. Therefore, if the 2011 official census is not available, numbers could be a decade old. And estimates will be off. For example, the 2011 India Census show a 24% increase in Muslims from the previous 2001 census. Additionally, through the number of non-religious people in India rose by 6% from 2005 to 2012, it is hard to guess the nature of their Hindu population, which has been reported to be vastly secular, agnostic and/or non-practicing. The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) had India at about 1,300 million people June 2015.”] What is even more problematic is that many ‘Hindu’ are atheist practicing a philosophy and not a religion; they may practice yoga and peace, but not chant hymns to false deities.
Because Hinduism is ‘a way of life’ as much as a religion, it is very difficult to get accurate statistics. Someone that practices Yoga and chants (Mantras) may call themselves a Hindu, and not believe in India’s traditional gods. In an article “Decline of Hinduism… (Oct. 2013),” Dr. Ambedkar explains that, “…after complete demolition of Buddhism and suppression of Jainism, a new religion from Arabia entered India. A major part of Hindu community started to convert to Islam. A large portion of people in western parts of Indian subcontinent – present day Afghanistan and Pakistan became Muslims. Same thing happened in Eastern parts of India, in Bengal and present day Bangla Desh. After 15th century, Europeans entered India with their religion: Christianity. Again another large part of Hindus started to adopt Christianity. In Goa the Portuguese rulers succeeded to convert more and more people to Christianity. In 16th Century, Guru Nanak formed a new religion, Sikhism. A large portion of Hindu warrior communities like Jaat, Khatri etc. renounced Hinduism and joined this new faith. In 20th Century a major part of downtrodden people in India was attracted towards Buddhism. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar joined Buddhism with millions of his followers. Now more and more people from Dalit-Adivasi communities and Nomadic Tribes are adopting Buddhism. In last 100 years millions of people from Tribal communities and backward classes has become Jains. In last few years, the number of converts to Jainism is increased rapidly. Today the percentage of Hindus in Indian community is said to be 79. But in actual, Hindus are not more than 65 %, and when we think of entire Indian subcontinent, they are less than 40%. More and more people from this remaining portion have been attracted to other religions and converting to them.”
The term Hindu 2,000 years ago simply implied being from the Indus River area. By the 1500s when Christians in Europe were having their reformations, Turks and Muslims were becoming a significant share of the India population; and the term Hindu came to mean an India not Muslim or Turk. By the 18th century, Hindu (Hindu dharma – as opposed to Turaka dharma – Muslim) became a religious term and Hinduism ‘a way of life’ in or from India dharma, Sanatana Dharma (law, duty) and philosophy (as opposed to Buddha Dharma or Jain Dharma – Jainism).
The first major written influence on Hinduism is from the Vedas (about 1000 BC). The Veda (wise or knowledgeable) poets and sagas handed down texts of Indian mythology, prayers, hymns and chants, ceremonies, ethics and philosophies that spoke of sacrifices and gods (devas). They had gods for most everything and everywhere, such as a sky god Dyaus (as the Greek’s Zeus). They developed there system of mantras (hymns and chants) and of major and minor deities. The universe was divided into earth, sky and atmosphere – all having there gods/goddesses. Later by 450BC Siddhartha Gautama Buddha (Buddhism) had significant influence in India, and their caste system developed farther.
By this time Hindu’s had their temples and Brahmin – priests and teachers (gurus) of their religious rituals (including 40 sacramental rites) and beliefs. It was the duty also of these priests to never hurt any living creature – which give notice to their diets. Also around these time 5th century BC – Yoga is said to have been practiced and taught by Hindu, Buddhist and Jains (Mahatma Gandhi was influenced by Jainism (love to others and self-control).
Through many of their ethical and moral teaches were noble, the Hindu did not believe in Jesus Christ and our one God – Creator of the Universe. They teach Brahma as the Creator, Vishnu the Sustainer, Shiva the Destroyer, Krishna (incarnation of Vishnu) and several other major and numerous minor devas (gods). The Hindu do not have any major Prophets as does Judaism, Christianity and Islam (claims); moreover, many Hindus are actually atheists – viewing Hinduism as a philosophy and not a religion.
Nevertheless, there are still million of Hindus that believe in sacred rivers and the devout Hindu seeks to visit ‘holy Banaras’ at least once, if possible to die there – then be transported spiritually to meet Shiva in Himalayan paradise. There is no permanent heaven or hell in Hinduism. Traditionally they believe one’s karma (actions, deeds, works) determine their outcome (the Bible likewise teaches on ‘word and deed’ – thus the effects of good and bad works; and of course on God, Christ and the Holy Spirit). Hindus traditionally believe one’s karma will determine their reincarnation and believe their soul will be reincarnated into a human or animal repeatedly until they attain nirvana or moksha – a transcendent timeless state where one is free from death, pain, disease and suffering through extinction of all desires (a state of liberation in eternal bliss). [Note: not sure how one is bliss when are desires have been extinction – more of state of nothingness (which is what Jainism seeks) – for how can one worship God with joy – without a desire to do so? It is paradoxical to say liberation is a state of non-beingness; there is no freedom without existence. Thus, one can not be free or freed, if there is not one to free. They only would be left with preach annihilation of the soul and being as taught by some false cults.]
IV. Buddhism: 430 million
CIA WORLD FACTBOOK: 2010: 450 million; 7.1% of world population
Pew Research used same numbers and percentages as Factbook in their The Global Religious Landscape (Dec. 2012).
Operation World (2010): 478 million; 6.9%
V. Judaism: 14 million
Pew Research Center: The Global Religious Landscape (Dec. 2012): .2%; 14 million.
VI. Asia traditional religions: 400+ million
VII. African traditional religions: 100 million
VIII. Ethic/Folk religions: 200+ million
Pew Research Center: The Global Religious Landscape (Dec. 2012).
CIA WORLD FACTBOOK: 2010: approximately 6%
Pew Research Center – projects Islam reaching about 30% of world population by 2050 and Christianity remaining flat at 31%; statistically even about 2050. Various studies equally show the nonreligious increasing significantly. In the opening of this page was discussed numbers and percentages. It is difficult to know the actual ‘non-nonreligious’ in the world, which obviously have an effect of ‘religious’ numbers. Also, what is truly the definition of ‘non-religious;’ as oppose to religious or agnostic or atheist. If we agree that at least a third of the world’s population is Non-religious than over 2 billion people fall into that category, making most reported numbers untrue and unreliable, for that would mean more than 5 billion people are not actually religious.
IX. Agnosticism: 650 million
X. Atheism: 150 million
XI. Other Nonreligious: 1 billion?
Pew Research in The Global Religious Landscape (Dec. 2012) listed the ‘Unaffiliated’ at 16.3% or over 1.1 billion. This does not account for nonpracticing or those ‘affiliated’ or that admit religion by association or family tradition. I had heard many times on the mission field, when asking ‘Are you a Christian,’ the response, ‘no; i am a Catholic.’ Obviously truly not practicing their religion.