What Are the Most Popular Religions in the World?

most popular religions in the world

For some people, religion is a part of life. Maybe their parents drilled it into their brains as children or they chose it later themselves.

There are billions of religious people in the world. We’re exploring the four most popular religions in the world with the biggest followings below.

1. Christianity

It’s not surprising that Christianity is the #1 most followed on this list. Our modern world runs by it. Its main holidays dictate when our children get breaks from school.

We tell time in the past by calling years AD and BC which refer to Jesus Christ’s birth. Even the new system of BCE (before common era) and CE (common era) use the same Christian birth reference point.

That’s all to say. Christianity is the most popular and populated religion on the planet. When looking at a secularly colored map of the globe, the spread of Christians is undeniable.


Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, who God sent as an example to the people. God impregnated a virgin named Mary and she gave birth to Jesus, untouched by her husband Joseph.

Jesus spread the word of god around his community (the current middle east). He had loyal followers and could perform miracles.

Eventually, Jesus died a violent death by crucifixion as a sacrifice of his life for humanities sins.

The followers of Jesus are important in this religion too, each has their own chapter in the Bible. The Bible is the most translated and most popular book in the world.

Christianity, though popular, is in a decline. In the next fifty years, the number of Christians in America will fall from 3/4 to 2/3.

We expect to see more Christian believers in sub-Saharan African in the same time frame.

2. Islam

In Islam, the god is called “Allah” and their holy text is the Quar’an. Someone who believes in Islam can be “Islamic” but they are generally grouped as Muslims.

We will use both terms.

Muslims believe that there was one Jesus-like prophet named Muhammad. We have a record of his life and he lived from 570 to 632 CE,

Muhammad taught items central to the Quar’an, like justice and truth-telling. He believed in justice and lies, especially by those in power, lead to all bad things in the world.

Those are relevant to the five pillars of Islam, which are

  • Profession of Faith – The Shahada
  • Prayer – Salat
  • Charity -Zakat
  • Fasting- Saum
  • Pilgrimage to Mecca – Hajj

While Christianity has many small branches, they don’t differ that much. Some believe in a more intense hell, while others are more forgiving.

The two branches of Islam are not that way. In fact, you’ve probably seen Islamic in-fighting on the news without knowing that was at the root.

The biggest group are the Sunni Muslims, which make up around 80% of Islamic believers. The other 15% are Sunni Muslims.

The difference between the two groups is small for the large rift it led to. Their disagreement stems from if Muhammad’s follower should succeed him, or if only Allah can decide their next leader.

As you know, Islam is strongest in the Middle East, but it’s spreading. We’re seeing rising numbers in northern Africa and India.

Scientists believe the number of Muslims will equal the number of Christians in the next 25 years.

3. Hindu

The Hindu faith is the world’s third most popular/populated religion. It began in India, which is still its stronghold.

The Hindu believe in multiple gods, like religions before the rise of Christianity. These “Multitheistic” religions dedicate one god to rule over a set of things.

For example, in the Hindu religion, the Goddess Kali is the destroyer. She has six arms and is always around when chaos arises. She’s not all bad, though. Sometimes something must get destroyed for something new to begin.

The Hindu religion is more expansive than the first two religions, behavior. They believe in energy centers in the body called Chakra’s where certain human traits manifest.

They also practice Yoga as a spiritual practice. It’s a way of moving meditation and form of prayer.

Hindus make offering to their gods and use a system of shrines. These can be small tabletop altars or giant beautiful temples.

India will have the majority of Hindu people in 25 years, but they’ll have to share space with more Muslims.

4. Buddhism

The fourth most popular or populated world religion is that based on the teachings of Siddhartha. Founded before Christianity about 2,500 years ago in modern Nepal.

Buddhism is the least complex of all these religions, not discounting it’s worth. The Buddhists believe it’s our earthy task to transcend the ins and outs of human life.

Along with finding this nothingness, or zen, they believe in moral purity and nonviolence.

We get the idea of Karma from them.

Buddhism and it’s many mini-deviations are prevalent around eastern Asia. Nepal and Tibet are mainly Buddhist, while Japan and China aren’t far behind.

The Most Popular Religions in the World

There are hundreds of religions in the world, whether they are part of the main four above or on their own.

We only had time to list the top four most popular religions in the world with explanations, but #s 5-10 are below in descending order.

  • Japanese Shintoism
  • Daoism
  • Sikhism
  • Judaism
  • Muism
  • Cao Dai

If you identify with none of these, you’re not alone. There are many people (more and more!) who pick and choose from different places.

Some of us call this atheism, others call it being spiritual, not religious.

Whatever you call it, we have a psychic that can help. Some psychics are even religion-affiliated, but you’ll have to search our directory to find out!

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