Major religions in the world and their beliefs Upsc


Religion is a relation of all the members of a community to a power that has the good of the community at heart and protects its law and moral order.

Religion is not vague fear or unknown fear, nor it is an unknown power not the child of terror.

Religion produces a distinct attitude towards life which affects the further development of society.

Classification of Religion

Religion is classified based on a belief in god.


Belief in Single God. Ex: Christianity, Islam, etc.


Belief in multiple Gods. Ex: Hinduism.

There is another classification on the basis of areas of origin such as Eastern religion, western religion, far east religion, African religion, Indian religion, etc.

The Universal religions classified by the Geographers are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism. Ethnic Religions such as Hinduism, Shintoism in Japan, Chinese Faiths, Judaism.

Tribal or Traditional religions such as Animism, Shamanism, and secular that is Non-religious and Atheists.

Major Religions In the World


Christianity is a universal religion that has the largest number of followers in the world.

They have over 2 billion followers and their faith centers on beliefs regarding the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Christianity originated with the ministry of Jesus, who is a Jewish teacher and healer who proclaimed the imminent kingdom of God and was crucified between c. AD 30–33 in Jerusalem in the Roman province of Judea.

Followers of the Christian religion base their beliefs on the life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ.

Christians believe in one God that created heaven, earth, and the universe. The belief in one God originated with the Jewish religion. Christians believe Jesus is the “Messiah” or savior of the world.

Its book is the Bible – New Testament, Old Testament, etc


Islam is the second-largest religion in the world. The large Islam population is in South West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, and South-East Asia, North Africa.

Shia and Sunni are two of its main section.

Its sacred book is Kuran.


Hinduism is the oldest ethnic religion in the world which was founded about 3000 BC in India. This Polytheistic religion has 8 million followers in the world.

But this religion is concentrated mostly in India and Nepal. But it has sizable numbers in Northern America and Western European countries.

99% of the Hindu population is concentrated in South Asia.

Its sacred book is Vedas, Upanishads. Also, it has Epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita.


Buddhism is one of the oldest Religions in India founded by Gautama Buddha, a Kshatriya prince from the Shakya clan around 525 BC.

This religion spread in several Asian countries such as China, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Mongolia, Korea, and South-East Asian Countries.

It is spread due to its liberal policy and its two main sections are Hinayana and Mahayana.


Judaism is one of the oldest monotheistic faith considered as a parent of Christianity. It is originated around 4000 years ago in the Middle East.

There are 14 Million followers living in the USA, Europe, and Asia.

Chinese Religion

Chinese Religions include two sections, namely Confucianism and Taoism. Confucianism was established by Confucious from around 551 to 479 BC.

Taoism was established by Lao Tse around 604 to 517 BCE.


Jainism is also born in India as a reaction to orthodox Hinduism.

It is founded by Lord Mahavir who was a contemporary of Lord Buddha. Its followers mostly concentrated in India.


Sikhism is an offshoot of Hinduism and Islam. It is established in the 15 century by Guru Nanak. It is confined to the Punjab state. It has accepted Gurumukhi as its language.

Tribal Religion

It is a special form of ethnic religion. The tribal people are generally in the Neolithic stage of social development.

Each tribal religion has different cultures, social and economic life. Also, they maintain a close relationship between land and the natural environment.

Tribals are engaged in food gathering, hunting, fishing, primitive agriculture, etc. It is estimated that there are about 300 million indigenous people worldwide.

These numbers constitute 4% of the total population in the world and live in over 60 countries.

Over 90% of the population of Greenland is tribal people. The tribal population is 66% in Bolivia and 40% in Peru.

In India, the tribal population is 8.2%. They are categorized as ST ( Scheduled Tribes) in India. They follow their own tribal deities.

* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.