World religions

Statues of the Hindu god Krishna and other deitiesStatues of the Hindu god Krishna and other deities A religion is a collection of beliefs that helps people understand the world and the events that take place in it. Most religious people believe in a god, or several gods. In religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, people worship one god. In others, such as Hinduism and the Japanese religion Shinto, there are many gods. Most religions have places of worship (such as churches and mosques) and priests who lead worship and preach to the people.

Religions of the worldReligions of the world

Ancient religions

The ancient Egyptian goddess Tefnut (right)The ancient Egyptian goddess Tefnut (right)People have worshipped gods since ancient times. They have always believed that the world was created by some unseen being or beings. Many of the ancient beliefs centred around natural elements such as the sun and rain which were so necessary for life. People felt that they needed to worship sun and rain gods and make them offerings so that their crops would grow.

Muslims at prayerMuslims at prayer

Religions of the
world today

There are many different religions in the world. Six of the most widespread are: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. These religions have now spread far beyond the places where they began and there are followers of them all over the world.

Religions of the world today are different from one another, but also similar in many ways. People follow set rituals and celebrate special holy days. They go to a place of worship such as a church, a synagogue, a mosque or a temple to pray, and most religions have priests who conduct religious worship and preach to the people.

 Philip Wilkinson

Hinduism is usually considered to be the oldest living religion, as it has its roots in India about 6000 years ago.

The world’s largest mosque is the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, Iran. It is 598,657 sq m (6,443,944 sq ft) and can hold 700,000 worshippers.

The world’s three largest statues are all of the Buddha. The largest of all is the Spring Temple Buddha in Lushan, in China. It is 128 m (420 ft) tall.

According to a worldwide poll in 2012, 13% of people are atheists (people who do not believe in god). Western European nations, such as France, Germany and the UK, have the highest rates of atheism (around 17% in the UK).

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