List of religions and spiritual traditions

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Religious symbols in clock-wise form from top: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha'i Faith, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Slavic neopaganism, Celtic polytheism, Heathenism (Germanic paganism), Semitic neopaganism, Wicca, Kemetism (Egyptian paganism), Hellenism (Greek paganism), Italo-Roman neopaganism. RELIGIONES.png
Religious symbols in clock-wise form from top: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baháʼí Faith, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Slavic neopaganism, Celtic polytheism, Heathenism (Germanic paganism), Semitic neopaganism, Wicca, Kemetism (Egyptian paganism), Hellenism (Greek paganism), Italo-Roman neopaganism.

While the word religion is hard 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, ultimate concerns, which at some point in the future will be countless. [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

East Asian religions

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

Chinese salvationist religions

Chinese philosophy schools


Japanese religions

Korean religions



Vietnamese religions

Dharmic religions

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.




Sant Mat [11]
Hindu philosophy schools
Hindu new movements




Middle Eastern religions

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

Baháʼí Faith


Eastern Christianity
Western Christianity

Certain Christian groups difficult to classify as "Eastern" or "Western." Many Gnostic groups were closely related to early Christianity, for example, Valentinism. Irenaeus wrote polemics against them from the standpoint of the then-unified Catholic Church. [17]



Shia Islam
Sunni Islam


Non-Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism
Historical Judaism


Iranian religions




Indigenous (ethnic, folk) religions

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.


Traditional African

Diasporic African











Tai and Miao


Other Indigenous

New religious movements

Religions that cannot be classed as either world religions or traditional folk religions, and are usually recent in their inception. [18]

Cargo cults

New ethnic religions


Black Hebrew Israelites


Native American

Hindu-derived new religions

Sikh-derived new religions

Christian-derived new religions

Japanese new religions

Modern paganism

Ethnic neopaganism

Syncretic neopaganism

Entheogenic religions

New Age Movement

New Thought

Parody religions and fiction-based religions

Post-theistic and naturalistic religions

UFO religions

Western esotericism

Other new

Historical religions

Bronze Age

Classical antiquity

Medieval Period

Other categorisations

By demographics

By area

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of religion</span> Historical development of religion

The history of religion refers to the written record of human religious feelings, thoughts, and ideas. This period of religious history begins with the invention of writing about 5,200 years ago. The prehistory of religion involves the study of religious beliefs that existed prior to the advent of written records. One can also study comparative religious chronology through a timeline of religion. Writing played a major role in standardizing religious texts regardless of time or location, and making easier the memorization of prayers and divine rules. A small part of the Bible involves the collation of oral texts handed down over the centuries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Modern paganism</span> Religions shaped by historical paganism

Modern paganism, also known as contemporary paganism and neopaganism, is a term for a religion or family of religions influenced by the various historical pre-Christian beliefs of pre-modern peoples in Europe and adjacent areas of North Africa and the Near East. Although they share similarities, contemporary pagan movements are diverse, and do not share a single set of beliefs, practices, or texts. Scholars of religion may characterise these traditions as new religious movements. Some academics who study the phenomenon treat it as a movement that is divided into different religions while others characterize it as a single religion of which different pagan faiths are denominations. Because of these different approaches there is disagreement on when or if the term pagan should be capitalized, though specialists in the field of pagan studies tend towards capitalisation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paganism</span> Polytheistic religious groups

Paganism is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism, or ethnic religions other than Judaism. In the time of the Roman empire, individuals fell into the pagan class either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population, or because they were not milites Christi. Alternative terms used in Christian texts were hellene, gentile, and heathen. Ritual sacrifice was an integral part of ancient Graeco-Roman religion and was regarded as an indication of whether a person was pagan or Christian. Paganism has broadly connoted the "religion of the peasantry".

Many Wikipedia articles on religious topics are not yet listed on this page. If you cannot find the topic you are interested in on this page, it still may already exist; you can try to find it using the "Search" box. If you find that it exists, you can edit this page to add a link to it.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to spirituality:

In the study of religion, orthopraxy is correct conduct, both ethical and liturgical, as opposed to faith or grace. Orthopraxy is in contrast with orthodoxy, which emphasizes correct belief. The word is a neoclassical compound—ὀρθοπραξία meaning 'right practice'.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Religion in Russia</span> Religious beliefs in Russia

Religion in Russia is diverse, with Christianity, especially Russian Orthodoxy, being the most widely professed faith, but with significant minorities of non-religious people and adherents of other faiths. A 1997 law on religion recognises the right to freedom of conscience and creed to all the citizenry, the spiritual contribution of Orthodox Christianity to the history of Russia, and respect to "Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and other religions and creeds which constitute an inseparable part of the historical heritage of Russia's peoples", including ethnic religions or paganism, either preserved, or revived. According to the law, any religious organisation may be recognised as "traditional", if it was already in existence before 1982, and each newly founded religious group has to provide its credentials and re-register yearly for fifteen years, and, in the meantime until eventual recognition, stay without rights.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Celtic neopaganism</span> Modern paganism based on ancient Celtic traditions

Celtic modern paganism refers to any type of modern paganism or contemporary pagan movements based on the ancient Celtic religion.

Modern paganism in the United States is represented by widely different movements and organizations. The largest modern pagan religious movement is Wicca, followed by Neodruidism. Both of these religions or spiritual paths were introduced during the 1950s and 1960s from Great Britain. Germanic Neopaganism and Kemetism appeared in the US in the early 1970s. Hellenic Neopaganism appeared in the 1990s.

Italy, Spain, and Portugal are traditionally Roman Catholic and according to the 2005 Eurobarometer Poll retain an above-average belief in God. France is traditionally Roman Catholic as well and has an above-average fraction of atheists. Romania and Moldova are Eastern Orthodox countries and both are very religious.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Neopaganism in Hungary</span>

Neopaganism in Hungary is very diverse, with followers of the Hungarian Native Faith and of other religions, including Wiccans, Kemetics, Mithraics, Druids and Christopagans.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Religion in Hungary</span> Overview of religion in Hungary

Religion in Hungary has been dominated by forms of Christianity for centuries. According to the 2011 census, 54.2% of the Hungarians declared to believe in Christianity, of whom 38.9% were Catholics, 13.8% were Protestants, 0.1% were Orthodox Christians, and 1.3% were members of other Christian groups. At the same time, 27.2% of the Hungarians did not declare a religious affliation, 16.7% declared explicitly to be not religious and 1.5% atheists. Minority religions practised in Hungary include Buddhism, Islam and Judaism.

Religion in Slovakia is predominantly Christianity, adhered to by about 68.8% of the population in 2021, a decrease from 75.5% in 2011 and 83.8% in 2001. Catholicism is the major Christian tradition in the country, followed in 2021 by 59.8% of the population, a majority of whom (55.8%) were of the Roman Catholic Church and a minority of whom (4%) were of the Slovak Greek Catholic Church. About 9% of the population were mostly followers of Protestantism, and a minority of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and other Christian denominations; the major groupings are the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia (5.3%), the Reformed Christian Church in Slovakia (1.6%), the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church (0.9%), the Jehovah's Witnesses (0.3%), and other smaller Christian denominations (0.9%). In 2021, about 23.8% of the population declared themselves not religious, an increase from 13.4% in 2011. An additional 1.2% of the population were followers of other religions or beliefs; small religious minorities in Slovakia include Buddhism, modern Paganism, Islam, Judaism, Jediism, Hinduism, Pastafarianism and others.

Semitic neopaganism is a group of religions based on or attempting to reconstruct the ancient Semitic religions, mostly practiced among ethnic Jews in the United States.

Postmodern religion is any type of religion that is influenced by postmodernism and postmodern philosophies. Examples of religions that may be interpreted using postmodern philosophy include Postmodern Christianity, Postmodern Neopaganism, and Postmodern Buddhism. Postmodern religion is not an attempt to banish religion from the public sphere; rather, it is a philosophical approach to religion that critically considers orthodox assumptions. Postmodern religious systems of thought view realities as plural, subjective, and dependent on the individual's worldview. Postmodern interpretations of religion acknowledge and value a multiplicity of diverse interpretations of truth, being, and ways of seeing. There is a rejection of sharp distinctions and global or dominant metanarratives in postmodern religion, and this reflects one of the core principles of postmodern philosophy. A postmodern interpretation of religion emphasises the key point that religious truth is highly individualistic, subjective, and resides within the individual.

Hindu denominations, sampradayas, traditions, movements, and sects are traditions and sub-traditions within Hinduism centered on one or more gods or goddesses, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti and so on. The term sampradaya is used for branches with a particular founder-guru with a particular philosophy.

Religious syncretism is the blending of religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation of other beliefs into a religious tradition.

Modern paganism, also known as contemporary paganism and neopaganism, is a collective term for new religious movements which are influenced by or derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern peoples. Although they share similarities, contemporary pagan religious movements are diverse, and as a result, they do not share a single set of beliefs, practices, or texts.


  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. Melton 2003, p. 1112.
  8. 1 2 3 Tattwananda, Swami (1984). Vaisnava Sects, Saiva Sects, Mother Worship (1st rev. ed.). Calcutta: Firma KLM Private Ltd.
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  11. Lorenzen, David N. (1995). Bhakti Religion in North India: Community Identity and Political Action. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. ISBN   978-0-7914-2025-6.
  12. Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli. Vol. 1-2. Indian Philosophy (1923) Vol. 1, 738 p. (1927) Vol. 2, 807 p. Oxford University Press.
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  14. Melton 2003, p. 1004.
  15. 1 2 "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.
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  19. Clarke 2006, pp. 507–509, Radhasoami movements.
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