World Religions

There are many philosophies and religions in the world.
Here is an overview of some of the major belief systems to help you start your research.

         Is there an unseen world?

NO: Atheism
WE CANNOT KNOW: Agnosticism


WE DO NOT NEED TO KNOW: Buddhism (founded c500 BCE)



A.  THE GREAT ULTIMATE: Confucianism
1. founded c500 BCE
2. holy book: Analects and Five Classics

1. Shintoism
a. so old that no one knows when it began
b. holy book: Kojiki


2. Hinduism
a. founded at least 4000 years ago
b. holy book: Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and Veda

3. Taoism
a. founded c400 BCE 
b. holy book: Tao-te-ching

4.  Jainism
a. founded c500 BCE

5. Mormonism

a. founded 1830




1.  Judaism
a. founded c1500 BCE
b. holy book: Talmud and Torah


2.  Christianity
a. founded c33 CE
b. holy book: Bible

3.    Islam
a. founded c600 CE
b.    holy book: Koran or al-Qu’ran

4.    Sikhism
a.  founded c1400 CE
b.    holy book: Guru Granth Sahib

5.    Baha’ism
a.  founded c1800 CE
b.    holy book: Kitab-i-Aqdas

(Generally, people believe their holy books are divinely or supernaturally inspired.)

What are the main categories in Islam?
Shia and Sunni

What are the main categories in Judaism?
Orthodox, Conservative and Reform

What are the main categories in Christianity?

1.    Roman Catholic (c33 CE)
2.   Eastern Orthodox: Russian and Greek (c1000 CE)
3.    Anglican (Britain=Church of England; U.S.A.=Episcopalian) (1500s)
4.    Jehovah’s Witness (1800s)
5.    Protestant
a.    Lutheran and Mennonite (1500s)
b.    Baptist and Dutch Reformed (1600s)
c.    Presbyterian and Methodist (1700s)
d.    Alliance and Seventh Day Adventist (1800s)
e.    United and Pentecostal (1900s)

[This page may be copied for use with students if this credit is provided: ©2012 Sophie Rosen.]

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