List of religions and spiritual traditions

While the word religion is difficult to define, one standard model of religion used in religious studies courses defines it as

[a] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.[1]

Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, or ultimate concerns.[2]

The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with the words "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a God or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, liturgies, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.[3][4]

Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; Indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths.[5] One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings,[6] and thus believes that religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.

Eastern religions Edit

Indian religions Edit

The four main religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them.

Buddhism Edit

Dharmic philosophy schools Edit

Hinduism Edit

Syncretic Hinduism

Jainism Edit

Sikhism Edit

Sects such as the Nirankari, Ramraiya and Namdhari are not accepted within the Sikh Rehat Maryada (Sikh Code of Conduct) as they believe in a current human Satguru which goes against Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Dohra in Ardaas.

Yoga Edit

East Asian religions Edit

Religions that originated in East Asia, also known as Taoic religions; namely Taoism, Confucianism, Muism and Shinto, and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them.

Chinese folk religion Edit

Chinese philosophy schools Edit

Confucianism Edit

Japanese religions Edit

Korean religions Edit

Taoism Edit

Syncretic Taoism

Southeast Asian religions Edit

Religions that originated in Southeast Asia, namely Vietnamese folk religion, Muong ethnic religion, Philippine folk religions, and animistic indigenous religions.

Filipinos religions Edit

Vietnamese religions Edit

Middle Eastern religions Edit

Religions that originated in the Middle East; namely Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them.

Abrahamic religions Edit

Christianity Edit

Early Christianity

Eastern Christianity

Western Christianity



Islam Edit


Shia Islam


Sunni Islam



Judaism Edit


Non-Rabbinic Judaism

Rabbinic Judaism

Historical Judaism

Other Abrahamic Edit

Iranian religions Edit

Manichaeism Edit

Yazdânism Edit

Zoroastrianism Edit

Indigenous (ethnic, folk) religions Edit

Religions that consist of the traditional customs and beliefs of particular ethnic groups, refined and expanded upon for thousands of years, often lacking formal doctrine. Some adherents do not consider their ways to be "religion", preferring other cultural terms.

African Edit

Traditional African Edit

Diasporic African Edit

Altaic Edit

American Edit

Austroasiatic Edit

Austronesian Edit

Caucasian Edit

Dravidian Edit

Indo-European Edit

Melanesian and Aboriginal Edit

Negrito Edit

Paleosiberian Edit

Sino-Tibetan Edit

Tai and Miao Edit

Uralic Edit

Other Edit

New religious movements Edit

Religions that cannot be classed as either world religions or traditional folk religions, and are usually recent in their inception.[12]

Cargo cults Edit

New ethnic religions Edit

Black Edit

Black Hebrew Israelites


White Edit

Native American Edit

World Religion-derived new religions Edit

Abrahamic-derived Edit

Chinese salvationist religions Edit

Hindu reform movements Edit

Muist-derived Edit

Neo-Buddhism Edit

Perennial and interfaith Edit

Shinshukyo Edit

Sikh-derived Edit

Modern paganism Edit

Ethnic neopaganism Edit

Syncretic neopaganism Edit

Entheogenic religions Edit

New Age Movement Edit

New Thought Edit

Parody religions and fiction-based religions Edit

Post-theistic and naturalistic religions Edit

UFO religions Edit

Western esotericism Edit

Historical religions Edit

Prehistoric Religion Edit

Bronze Age Edit

Classical antiquity Edit

Medieval Period Edit

Other categorisations Edit

By demographics Edit

By area Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ (Clifford Geertz, Religion as a Cultural System, 1973)
  2. ^ "World Religions Religion Statistics Geography Church Statistics". Archived from the original on April 22, 1999. Retrieved 5 March 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ "About - the Parapsychological Association".
  4. ^ "Key Facts about Near-Death Experiences". Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  5. ^ Harvey, Graham (2000). Indigenous Religions: A Companion. (Ed: Graham Harvey). London and New York: Cassell. Page 06.
  6. ^ Vergote, Antoine, Religion, belief and unbelief: a psychological study, Leuven University Press, 1997, p. 89
  7. ^ Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli. Vol. 1-2. Indian Philosophy (1923) Vol. 1, 738 p. (1927) Vol. 2, 807 p. Oxford University Press.
  8. ^ a b c Tattwananda, Swami (1984). Vaisnava Sects, Saiva Sects, Mother Worship (1st rev. ed.). Calcutta: Firma KLM Private Ltd.
  9. ^ Dandekar, R. N. (1987). "Vaiṣṇavism: An Overview". In Eliade, Mircea (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol. 14. New York: MacMillan.
  10. ^ "Welcome to Jainworld – Jain Sects – tirthankaras, jina, sadhus, sadhvis, 24 tirthankaras, digambara sect, svetambar sect, Shraman Dharma, Nirgranth Dharma". Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
  11. ^ Melton 2003, p. 611.
  12. ^ Clarke 2006.
  13. ^ Melton 2003, p. 1001.
  14. ^ Melton 2003, p. 1004.
  15. ^ Melton 2003, p. 997.
  16. ^ Melton 2003, p. 1112.
  17. ^ Clarke 2006, pp. 507–509, Radhasoami movements.
  18. ^ Laycock, Joseph P. Reitman (2012). "We Are Spirits of Another Sort". Nova Religio. 15 (3): 65–90. doi:10.1525/nr.2012.15.3.65. JSTOR 10.1525/nr.2012.15.3.65.

Sources Edit

External links Edit