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List of religions and spiritual traditions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Religion is a collection of cultural systemsbeliefs and world views 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 narrativessymbolstraditions 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 moralityethicsreligious 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.[3]

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 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 prayerholy 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, sacrificesfestivalsfeaststranceinitiationsfuneralsmarriagesmeditationmusicartdancepublic service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiencesnear-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal experiences.[4][5]

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.[6] 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,[7] 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[edit]

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


Bahá’í Faith[edit]


Western Christianity
Eastern Christianity

Other Christian[edit]

Certain Christian groups are difficult to classify as “Eastern” or “Western.”

No-longer-extant Christian groups[edit]


Many Gnostic groups were closely related to early Christianity, for example, ValentinismIrenaeus wrote polemics against them from the standpoint of the then-unified Catholic Church.[8]

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


Kalam (philosophical schools)
Shia Islam

Recent Sufi groups

Sunni Islam
Universalist movements
Black Muslims
Other Islamic groups
Sufi and Shia Sects


  • Orchonid Druze (in Lebanon, Syria, Israel…)
  • Dyayummar Druze (in Lebanon only)
  • Messaite Druze (possibly in any place)

Judaism and related religions[edit]

Rabbinic Judaism
Karaite Judaism

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.[9]

Falasha or Beta Israel

Noahidism is a monotheistic ideology based on the Seven Laws of Noah, and on their traditional interpretations within Rabbinic Judaism. According to Jewish law, non-Jews are not obligated to convert to Judaism, but they are required to observe the Seven Laws of Noah.

Historical groups

Second Temple Judaism

Black Hebrew Israelites[edit]

Rastafari movement[edit]

Mandaeans and Sabians[edit]


Indian religions[edit]

Indian religions are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely HinduismJainismBuddhism and Sikhism, and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them.

Bhakti movement[edit]


Din-e Ilahi[edit]


Major schools and movements of Hindu philosophy




Iranian religions[edit]


Gnostic religions[edit]

Bábí movement[edit]


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

East Asian religions[edit]



Shinto-inspired religions[edit]


Contemporary Taoism-inspired religions[edit]






African diasporic religions[edit]

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.

Mesoamerican religions[edit]

Indigenous traditional religions[edit]

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


Northern Africa
West Africa
Central Africa
East Africa
Southern Africa


North American
South American



Oceania/Pacific/Maritime Southeast Asia[edit]

Cargo cults[edit]

Historical religions[edit]

Most historical religions were polytheistic, but some, such as Atenism, were much closer to monotheism.

Ancient Near Eastern[edit]




Mysticism and occult[edit]

Esotericism and mysticism[edit]

Western mystery tradition[edit]

Occult and magic[edit]

Modern paganism[edit]



New religious movements[edit]




Native American[edit]

New Thought[edit]


Left-hand path religions[edit]

Post-theistic and naturalistic religions[edit]


Parody or mock religions[edit]

Other categorisations[edit]

By demographics[edit]

By area[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up^ (Clifford Geertz, Religion as a Cultural System, 1973)
  2. Jump up^ (Talal Asad, The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category, 1982.)
  3. Jump up^ “World Religions Religion Statistics Geography Church Statistics”. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  4. Jump up^
  5. Jump up^ “Key Facts about Near-Death Experiences”. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  6. Jump up^ Harvey, Graham (2000). Indigenous Religions: A Companion. (Ed: Graham Harvey). London and New York: Cassell. Page 06.
  7. Jump up^ Vergote, Antoine, Religion, belief and unbelief: a psychological study, Leuven University Press, 1997, p. 89
  8. Jump up^ “Irenaeus of Lyons”. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  9. Jump up^ “Samaritans”. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  10. Jump up^ Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions(Seventh edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 1112. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
  11. Jump up^ Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions(Seventh edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 1001. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
  12. Jump up^ Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions(Seventh edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 997. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
  13. Jump up^ Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions(Seventh edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 1004. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
  14. Jump up to:a b “Welcome to Jainworld – Jain Sects – tirthankaras, jina, sadhus, sadhvis, 24 tirthankaras, digambara sect, svetambar sect, Shraman Dharma, Nirgranth Dharma”. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
  15. Jump up^ Smith, Christian; Joshua Prokopy (1999). Latin American Religion in Motion. New York: Routledge, pp. 279-280. ISBN 978-0-415-92106-0
  16. Jump up^ Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions(Seventh edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 841. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0

External links[edit]

About Rev. JP Vanir

​I am The ordained Geeky, Universal (I feed in all the ways) Autistic, Vampyre, Rivethead, Traditional, Hippie Goth, Vegetarian, "Vampyrian" Graver", Pansexual Experimental Sound Artist AKA theUVUP. I am the Old school Gothic Vampyre & Proud Pagan PhreaK, and the founder of Vampyrian TempleUVUP: since Dec. 18th, 2003. I have been in the gothic community since the first Outland (mid 90's) MY MUSIC: as well as the Vampire community since mid 2000, and the pagan community since 2003 and a member of DUUF and CUUPS ~ I love the supernatural, Vampyres, Otherkin, Dark Spirituality, and Darkness ect. I am mostly active with my vampyrian TempleUVUP, writing, going out, and helping others that have gone through the same crap as me. I am however in a few other sites and networks. I am also an Empath & Proud Phreak in Central, Ohio. I LOVE MUSIC, clubbing, and dancing... All of my various links and sites: and my main profile:

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