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Major World Religions

The essence of any religion lies solely in the answer to the question: why do I exist, and what is my relationship to the infinite universe that surrounds me? .. It is impossible for there to be a person with no religion (i.e. without any kind of relationship to the world) as it is for there to be a person without a heart. He may not know that he has a religion, just as a person may not know that he has a heart, but it is no more possible for a person to exist without a religion than without a heart. (Leo Tolstoy, 1879)

The principles are very simple, comprehensible and uncomplicated. They are as follows:
that there is a God who is the origin of everything;
that there is an element of this divine origin in every person, which he can diminish or increase through his way of living;
that in order for someone to increase this source he must suppress his passions and increase the love within himself;
that the practical means of achieving this consist in doing to others as you would wish to do to you.
All these principles are common to Brahmanism, Hebraism, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity and Mohammedanism. (If Buddhism does not provide a definition of God, it nevertheless recognises that with which man unites and merges as he reaches Nirvana. And that something is the same origin which the other religions recognise as God.)

Religion is the definition of man’s relationship to the origin of everything, and of the purpose acquired as a result of this relationship, and of the rules of conduct that follow from this purpose. And the religion common to all, the basic principles of which are alike in all practices, fully satisfies these demands. It defines man’s relationship to God as of a part to a whole. From this relationship follows man’s purpose, which lies in increasing his spiritual qualities, and man’s purpose leads to the practical rules of the law: do to others as you would have them do unto you. (Leo Tolstoy, 1879)

Theology: Major World Religions defined by Population

Theology is the study of God. It can be understood as a rational inquiry into questions of religion.

One way to define a major world religion is by the current number of current adherents. Population numbers by religion are computed by combination of census reports and population surveys (in countries where religion data is not collected in census, for example USA or France), but results can vary widely depending on the way questions are phrased, the definitions of religion used, and the bias of the agencies or organizations conducting the survey. Informal or unorganized religions are especially difficult to count.

This listing does not draw distinctions between organized world religions, which has a single belief code and religious hierarchies, and informal world religions, such as Chinese traditional religions, which are a mix of different informal religious ideas.

Christianity 2 billion
Roman Catholicism: 1.1 billion
Protestantism: 360 million
Eastern Orthodoxy: 220 million
Anglican: 84 million
Other Christians: 280 million

Islam 1.3 billion
Sunnism: 940 million
Shiism 120 million

Hinduism 900 million

Secular / Nonreligious / Agnostic / Atheist 850 million

Buddhism 360 million

Chinese traditional religion 225 million
Not a single organized religion, includes elements of Taoism, Confucianism, and traditional nonscriptural religious observance.

Primal indigenous
150 million
Not a single organized religion, includes a wide range of primarily Asian traditional or tribal religions, including Shamanism and Paganism.

African Traditional and Diasporic
95 million
Not a single organized religion, this includes traditional African beliefs such as Yoruba as well as Diasporic beliefs such as Santeria and Vodoun.

Sikhism 23 million

Juche 19 million
Not considered a religion by adherents. Juche is the political ideology taught by North Korean communists; some have argued it constitutes a religion.

Spiritism 14 million
Not a single organized religion, includes a variety of beliefs including some forms of Umbanda.

Judaism 14 million

Bahá'í Faith 6 million

Jainism 5 million

Shinto 4 million

Cao Dai 3 million

Tenrikyo 2.4 million

Neopaganism 1 million

Unitarian Universalism 800,000

Rastafarianism 700,000
Not an organized religion

Scientology 600,000

Zoroastrianism 150,000

Source of statistics: (, updated 2002

Theology: Classically defined World Religions

Major religions have also been identified based on their importance, whether theological or temporal. The earliest Christian scholars, the first to define major religions, recognized only three religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Paganism (which they considered to encompass every other religion). Views evolved during the enlightenment, however, and, by the 19th century, Western scholars considered the five major religions to be Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. As the exposure of Westerners to other religions increased, five other religions were added to the original five: Confucianism, Taoism, Jainism, Shinto and Zoroastrianism. Later, the Bahá'í Faith was added to this list, resulting in eleven classic religions:

Bahá'í Faith

The standard modern definition of major religion comes from the classical definition, often expanding on "Christianity," and omitting Jainism and Zoroastrianism, like this list found in the New York Public Library Student Reference:

Bahá'í Faith
Orthodox Eastern Church

Summary & History of World Religions. On Morality, Free Will & God

'The essence of any world religion lies solely in the answer to the question: why do I exist, and what is my relationship to the infinite universe that surrounds me?' (Leo Tolstoy)
Theology Major
World Religions
'The ultimate reason of things must lie in a necessary substance, in which the differentiation of the changes only exists eminently as in their source; and this is what we call God. ... God alone is the primary Unity, or original simple substance.' (Gottfried Leibniz, 1670)
God: One Infinite
'What we need for understanding rational human behaviour - and indeed, animal behaviour - is something intermediate in character between perfect chance and perfect determinism - something intermediate between perfect clouds and perfects clocks.' (Karl Popper, 1975)
Free Will
'There is nothing divine about morality; it is a purely human affair. ... If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed'. (Albert Einstein, on Morality and Ethics)
Morality Ethics
Religion Virtue
'True religion is that relationship, in accordance with reason and knowledge, which man establishes with the infinite world around him, and which binds his life to that infinity and guides his actions.' (Leo Tolstoy, 1882)
Leo Tolstoy
True Religion
'I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.' (Albert Einstein)
Albert Einstein
God Religion
'Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from its readiness to fit in with our instinctual wishful impulses'. (Sigmund Freud, famous Atheist)
Atheism Agnostic
Beliefs Quotes
'The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead'. (Albert Einstein)
Mystical Mystics
'The word pantheism derives from the Greek words pan (='all') and theos (='God'). Thus pantheism means 'All is God'. In essence, pantheism holds that there is no divinity other than the universe and nature.' (Harrison, 1999)
Pantheism Beliefs
Pantheist Religion
In Hinduism, Shiva the Cosmic Dancer, is perhaps the most perfect personification of the dynamic universe. Through his dance, Shiva sustains the manifold phenomena in the world, unifying all things by immersing them in his rhythm and making them participate in the dance. (Capra, 1975)
Hinduism Beliefs
Hindu Gods
'The gift of truth excels all other gifts. ... The world is continuous flux and is impermanent. ... Transient are conditioned things. Try to accomplish your aim with diligence.' (Buddha)
Buddhism Religion
Beliefs History
'To learn and from time to time to apply what one has learned, isn't that a pleasure? ... When anger rises, think of the consequences. ... Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.' (Confucius, Analects)
Confucius Beliefs
'The Tao that can be expressed is not the Eternal Tao. ... There is a thing, formless yet complete. Before heaven and earth it existed. We do not know its name, but we call it Tao. It is the Mystery of Mysteries.' (Lao Tzu, Tao te Ching)
Tao Taoism
Religion Beliefs
Aphrodite (Roman name: Venus) was the Greek Goddess of love, beauty, and the protector of sailors. The poet Hesiod said that Aphrodite was born from sea-foam which inspired Botticelli's painting of the greek goddess on a scallop shell.
Greek Gods
Who is the bravest hero? He who turns his enemy into a friend. ... Judge not thy neighbor until thou art come into his place. (Jewish Proverbs)
Judaism History
Jewish Jews
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)
Christianity Jesus
Christ Christian
The word Catholic means 'throughout the whole, universal.' 'The Catholic Church is called Catholic because it is throughout the world, from one end of the earth to the other.' (St Cyril of Jerusalem, 347AD)
Catholic Church
'There is no god but God; Muhammad (Mohammed) is the messenger of God.' 'Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers.' (Final Sermon of Muhammad)
Islam Muslim
Religion Quran

Help Humanity

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
(Mohandas Gandhi)

Albert Einstein"When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter. ... Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended. In this way the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high. ...
The free, unhampered exchange of ideas and scientific conclusions is necessary for the sound development of science, as it is in all spheres of cultural life. ... We must not conceal from ourselves that no improvement in the present depressing situation is possible without a severe struggle; for the handful of those who are really determined to do something is minute in comparison with the mass of the lukewarm and the misguided. ...
Humanity is going to need a substantially new way of thinking if it is to survive!" (Albert Einstein)

Biography: Geoffrey Haselhurst, Philosopher of Science, Theoretical Physics, Metaphysics, Evolution. Our world is in great trouble due to human behaviour founded on myths and customs that are causing the destruction of Nature and climate change. We can now deduce the most simple science theory of reality - the wave structure of matter in space. By understanding how we and everything around us are interconnected in Space we can then deduce solutions to the fundamental problems of human knowledge in physics, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, education, health, evolution and ecology, politics and society.

This is the profound new way of thinking that Einstein realised, that we exist as spatially extended structures of the universe - the discrete and separate body an illusion. This simply confirms the intuitions of the ancient philosophers and mystics.

Given the current censorship in physics / philosophy of science journals (based on the standard model of particle physics / big bang cosmology) the internet is the best hope for getting new knowledge known to the world. But that depends on you, the people who care about science and society, realise the importance of truth and reality.

It is Easy to Help!

Just click on the Social Network links below, or copy a nice image or quote you like and share it. We have a wonderful collection of knowledge from the greatest minds in human history, so people will appreciate your contributions. In doing this you will help a new generation of scientists see that there is a simple sensible explanation of physical reality - the source of truth and wisdom, the only cure for the madness of man! Thanks! Geoff Haselhurst (Updated September, 2018)

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. (Max Planck, 1920)

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"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing."
(Edmund Burke)

"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
(George Orwell)

"Hell is Truth Seen Too Late."
(Thomas Hobbes)

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