List of religions and spiritual traditions

While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a

[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."[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, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, etc[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 prayer, holy 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, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural 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.

East Asian religions

Religions that originated in East Asia, also known as Taoic religions; namely Taoism, Confucianism, Shenism and Shintoism, and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them.

Confucianism

Shinto

Shinto-inspired religions

Taoism

Other

Chinese

Japanese

Korean

Manchu

Vietnamese

Indic religions

Religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism, and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them.

Nāstik (Heterodox Indian)

Buddhism

New Buddhist movements

Global variants of Buddhism

Charvaka (Historical)

Din-I Ilahi (Historical)

Hinduism

Bhakti movements
Neo-Hinduism
Hindu philosophy major schools and movements

Jainism

Meivazhi

Sarnaism

Sikhism

Nepalese religions

Middle Eastern religions

Religions that originated in the Middle East; namely Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them.

Bábism

Christianity

Eastern Christianity

Western Christianity

Other

Certain Christian groups are difficult to classify as "Eastern" or "Western." Many Gnostic groups were closely related to early Christianity, for example, Valentinism. Irenaeus wrote polemics against them from the standpoint of the then-unified Catholic Church.[18]

Druze

Islam

Khawarij

Shia Islam

Sufism

Sunni Islam

Other

Judaism

Haymanot

Karaite Judaism

Kabbalah

Noahidism

Rabbinic Judaism

Samaritans

Subbotniks

Historical Judaism

Mandaeism

Manichaeism

Rastafari

Black Hebrew Israelites

Shabakism

Yazdânism

Zoroastrianism

Indigenous (ethnic, folk) religions

Religions that consist of the traditional customs and beliefs of particular ethnic groups, refined and expanded upon for thousands of years, often lacking formal doctrine.

Note: Some adherents do not consider their ways to be "religion," preferring other cultural terms.

African

    Traditional African

    Diasporic African

    Altaic

    American

    Austroasiatic

    Austronesian

    Chinese

    Japanese

    Korean

    Tai and Miao

    Tibeto-Burmese

    Uralic

    Other Indigenous

    New religious movements

    Religions that cannot be classed as either world religions nor traditional folk religions, and are usually recent in their inception.

    Cargo cults

    New ethnic religions

    Black

    White

    Native American

    Chicano/Mexican-American

    New Hindu derived religions

    Modern paganism

    Ethnic neopaganism

    Syncretic neopaganism

    Entheogenic religions

    New Thought

    Parody religions

    Post-theistic and naturalistic religions

    UFO religions

    Western esotericism

    Other new

    Historical religions

    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. "World Religions Religion Statistics Geography Church Statistics". Retrieved 5 March 2015.
    4. http://www.parapsych.org/base/about.aspx
    5. "Key Facts about Near-Death Experiences". Retrieved 5 March 2015.
    6. Harvey, Graham (2000). Indigenous Religions: A Companion. (Ed: Graham Harvey). London and New York: Cassell. Page 06.
    7. Vergote, Antoine, Religion, belief and unbelief: a psychological study, Leuven University Press, 1997, p. 89
    8. Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions (Seventh edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 1112. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
    9. Tattwananda, Swami (1984). Vaisnava Sects, Saiva Sects, Mother Worship (1st revised ed.). Calcutta: Firma KLM Private Ltd.
    10. Dandekar, R. N. (1987). "Vaiṣṇavism: An Overview". In Eliade, Mircea (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Religion. 14. New York: MacMillan.
    11. Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions (7th ed.). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 997. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
    12. Lorenzen, David N. (1995). Bhakti Religion in North India: Community Identity and Political Action. New York: SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-2025-6.
    13. Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions (7th edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 1001. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
    14. Melton, J. Gordon (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions (7th edition). Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group, Inc., p. 1004. ISBN 0-7876-6384-0
    15. Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli. Indian Philosophy (1923) Vol. 1, 738 p. (1927) Vol. 2, 807 p. Oxford University Press.
    16. "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.
    17. Subba, J. R. (1998). The Philosophy and Teachings of Yuma Samyo (Yumaism): The Religion of Limboos of the Himalayan Region. Sikkim Yakthung Mundhum Saplopa.
    18. "Irenaeus of Lyons". Retrieved 5 March 2015.

    Sources

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