List of religions and spiritual traditions

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Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who simply called it a "cultural system".1 A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category".2 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 in the world.

The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviors, 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), and/or scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomina such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation.34

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 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.

Abrahamic religions

A group of monotheistic traditions sometimes grouped with one another for comparative purposes, because all refer to a patriarch named Abraham.

Babism

Bahá'í Faith

Christianity

Western Christianity
Eastern Christianity

Other groups related to Christianity

Some of these groups consider themselves to be Christian, or to be derived from Christianity, but they are considered heterodox or heretical by mainstream Christianity. Some of them are no longer extant.

Gnosticism

Many Gnostic groups were closely related to early Christianity, for example, Valentinism. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote polemics against them from the standpoint of the then-unified Catholic Church.7

The Yazidis are a syncretic Kurdish religion with a Gnostic influence:

Persian Gnosticism
Syrian-Egyptic Gnosticism

None of these religions are still extant.

Neo-Gnostic Groups

Islam

Kalam Schools
Kharijite
Shia Islam
Sufism
Sunni Islam
Quraniyoon
Black Muslims
Ahmadiyya
Other Islamic Groups

Religions Related to Islam

These religions are either descended from Sufi Islam, or consider themselves Islamic, but are regarded as heretical or heterodox by other Muslims.

Sufi and Shia Sects

Druze

Judaism and Related Religions

Rabbinic Judaism
Karaite Judaism
Samaritanism

Samaritans use a slightly different version of the Pentateuch as their Torah, worshiping at Mount Gerizim instead of Jerusalem, and are possibly the descendants of the lost Northern Kingdom. They are definitely of ancient Israelite origin, but their status as Jews is disputed.8

Falasha or Beta Israel
Modern Non-Rabbinic Judaism
Historical groups

Black Hebrew Israelites

Rastafari movement

Mandaeans and Sabians

Shabakism

Indian religions

Indian religions, also known as Dharmic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism and religions and traditions related to, and descended from, them.

Ayyavazhi

Bhakti movement

Buddhism

Din-i-Ilahi

Hinduism

Major schools and movements of Hindu philosophy

Jainism

Meivazhi

Sikhi

Iranian religions

Manichaeism

Mazdakism

Mithraism

Yazdânism

  • Alevi (this is contested; most Alevi consider themselves to be Shia or Sufi Muslims, but a minority adhere to the Yazdani interpretation)
  • Yarsani
  • Yazidi

Zoroastrianism / Parsi

East Asian religions

Confucianism

Shinto

Taoism

Other

African diasporic religions

African diasporic religions are a number of related religions that developed in the Americas among African slaves and their descendants in various countries of the Caribbean Islands and Latin America, as well as parts of the southern United States. They derive from African traditional religions, especially of West and Central Africa, showing similarities to the Yoruba religion in particular.

Indigenous traditional religions

Traditionally, these faiths have all been classified "Pagan", but scholars prefer the terms "indigenous/primal/folk/ethnic religions".

African

West Africa
Central Africa
East Africa
Southern Africa

American

Eurasian

Asian
European

Oceania/Pacific

Cargo cults

Historical polytheism

Ancient Near Eastern

Indo-European

Hellenistic

Uralic

Mysticism and Occult

Esotericism and mysticism

Occult and magic

Neopaganism

Syncretic

Ethnic

New religious movements

Creativity

New Thought

Shinshukyo

Left-hand path religions

Fictional religions

Parody or mock religions

Others

Other categorisations

By demographics

By area

See also

References

  1. ^ (Clifford Geertz, Religion as a Cultural System, 1973)
  2. ^ (Talal Asad, The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category, 1982.)
  3. ^ http://www.parapsych.org/base/about.aspx
  4. ^ http://iands.org/about-ndes/key-nde-facts.html
  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. ^ http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/irenaeus.html
  8. ^ http://www.livius.org/saa-san/samaria/samaritans.htm
  9. ^ Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions (Seventh edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 1112. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
  10. ^ Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions (Seventh edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 1001. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
  11. ^ Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions (Seventh edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 997. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
  12. ^ Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions (Seventh edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 1004. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
  13. ^ a b "Welcome to Jainworld - Jain Sects - tirthankaras, jina, sadhus, sadhvis, 24 tirthankaras, digambara sect, svetambar sect, Shraman Dharma, Nirgranth Dharma". Jainworld.com. Retrieved 2012-04-24. 
  14. ^ Smith, Christian; Joshua Prokopy (1999). Latin American Religion in Motion. New York: Routledge, pp. 279–280. ISBN 978-0-415-92106-0
  15. ^ Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions (Seventh edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 841. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0

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