Saturday, June 12, 2010

Major Religions in the World

First, lets understand what are the major religions in the world. One of the distinguishing features of our civilisation is the presence of a large number of religions and ethical systems. According to Oxford dictionary, Religion means, "the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods, or a particular system of faith and worship".

Religions can be classified in to two types, Semitic religions and Non Semitic religions

Semitic Religion :
Semitic religions are originated among semites. The word  is derived form  "Shem", one of the three sons of  Prophet Noah (pbuh) in the Bible (Genesis 5.32, 6.10, 10.21), the noun form referring to a person is semite. Therefore, Semitic religions are originated among the Jews, Arabs, Assyrians, Phoenicians etc. The major Semitic religions are Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These religions are also called as Abrahamic religions. All these religions are prophetic religions that believe in divine message or guidance sent through prophets of God.

Non Semitic Religion:
Non Semitic Religions are divide in to two types, Aryan and non Aryan religions.

Aryan Religions
Aryan religions are the religions that originated among Aryans, a powerful group of Indo-European speaking people that spread through Iran and Northern India in the first half of second millenium BC (2000 to 1500 BC)

The Aryan religions are further divided in to Vedic and non-Vedic religions. Hunduism or Brahminism is called as a Vedic religion. The non-Vedic religions are Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism etc. Almost all Aryan religions are non-Prophetic religions. (Zoroastrianism is an Aryan, non-Vedic religion which claims to be a prophetic religion).

Non Aryan Religions
The non Aryan religions have different origins. For example, Confucianism and Taoism are of Chinese origin while Shintoism is of Japanese origin. Many of these non Aryan religions do not have a concept of God.  We can referred these as ethical systems rather than calling it as religions.


  1. hi aftab
    i guess u forgot the greek relegion which is as old as our ancient indian relegions, if not older,
    you may also consider various pagan and satanic relegion as well.


  2. Very Nice post, giving a basic understanding between well known religions and its relationships.

  3. Hi anarchy,

    Thanks for your valuable comments. i know there are religions like paganism and ancient greek religions in the world. Actually what i tried to covey here was dividing these all religions in to groups and given some examples of those by mentioning the major religions from it. Like i have not mentioned the christian groups (catholicism, protastantism, Jehovah's Witnesses etc.) and religions which came from Islam (Bahai faith, Ahmadiyya etc.)in Semitic religion group, eventhough they are part of Abrahamic religion and has large number of followers.

    Thank you again for posting such a valuable comment which is very knowledgeable for the visitors.