Religions of the World, a Breakdown of Belief Systems

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People believe crazy stuff. Unless you strive for zero paranormal, zero superstitions, and zero supernatural beliefs, well, you too likely believe some crazy stuff. This page is my shortcut list of data so I can highlight crazy stuff people believe in my writing which, yes, I encourage people to question. Skepticism is good; dogmatism is bad. In particular, the stuff beyond your primary belief system. I think part of our responsibility in this life is to stand up for what’s right. It’s wrong to believe crazy stuff. It directly leads to problems which usually leads to a life not well lived and has led to many deaths—lives cut short. I want everyone to stop believing crazy stuff. The better humanity can do that task, the better everyone’s journey will be.

The following is a breakdown of the major belief systems of the world, along with their estimated number of adherents; it is followed by some of the additional beliefs people carry with them. I maintain this page so that I can quickly use the information in my writing. The information provided is sourced and maintained by me for that purpose–the purpose of efficient writing. Although I do acknowledge the data is subject to change and, to be clear, I update the information whenever possible.

*** Primary Belief Systems ***

(In order by most to least popular world wide.)

In general, your primary belief system does not overlap with another primary belief system. This means that individuals typically identify with only one primary belief system, such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Judaism. While there may be overlap between different religions or spiritual practices, such as incorporating elements of Buddhism into one’s Christian faith, the Dao Da Jing in an atheist worldview, or Confucianism in a Judaic faith. These practices, including the additional beliefs listed below, do not constitute a separate primary belief system. Understanding the diversity and complexity of these belief systems is crucial to promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding.

1. Christianity2: ~31% (~2.3 billion)

Christianity is the largest religious group in the world, with an estimated 2.3 billion members who attend regularly or at least identify as Christian. Christians, with its wide variety of sects, account for approximately 31% of the world’s population. Christian populations can be found on every continent, with the highest concentrations in North and South America, Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. While Christianity encompasses numerous denominations and branches, they all share a belief in Jesus Christ as the central figure of their faith. The diverse practices, customs, and theological perspectives within Christianity contribute to its rich cultural and spiritual heritage.

  • Actively engaged1: ~45% (1.04 billion) — attend at least weekly and pray about daily.
  • Not actively engaged: ~55% (1.25 billion) — this includes true believers who do not attend regularly as well as identity-only Christians.

About 31% of American Christians believe the Bible is the literal word of God.

2. Islam: ~24% (~1.92 billion)

Islam is the second-largest religion in the world, accounting for about 24% of the global population, with approximately 1.9 billion adherents. Muslim populations can be found across the globe, with the highest concentrations in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The Islamic faith is centered around the belief in one God (Allah) and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, as recorded in the Quran. Islam is comprised of several sects, primarily Sunni and Shia, which differ in their interpretations of the faith. Despite these differences, all Muslims observe the Five Pillars of Islam, which serve as the foundation of their religious practices. Islam’s rich cultural and spiritual legacy is reflected in the diverse customs, traditions, and theological perspectives of its global community.

3. Atheist, agnostic, or non-religious: ~16% (~1.28 billion)

Atheist, agnostic, or non-religious individuals account for approximately 16% of the world’s population, with an estimated 1.28 billion people identifying as such. These individuals do not identify with any particular religion or belief system and may hold varying views on spirituality and the existence of a higher power.

4. Hinduism: ~15% (~1.2 billion)

Hinduism is one of the oldest and most diverse religions in the world, with approximately 1.2 billion adherents. The majority of Hindus live in India, although significant populations can also be found in Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and other countries. Hinduism is characterized by a wide variety of beliefs and practices, with no central authority or doctrine. Hinduism is often described as a way of life rather than a strict religion, as it encompasses diverse philosophical and spiritual traditions, including yoga, meditation, and devotion to various deities.

5. Buddhism: ~7% (~560 million)

Buddhism, with an estimated 560 million adherents, is a major world religion that originated in ancient India and spread throughout Asia. Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, who taught a path to enlightenment through meditation and ethical living. Buddhist practices vary widely depending on the region and tradition, but all Buddhists share a belief in the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

6. African Traditional Religions: ~1.6% (~125 million)

This category encompasses a wide variety of indigenous religious practices and beliefs that are native to the African continent. These diverse traditions share some common elements, such as a belief in a supreme being, ancestor veneration, and the use of rituals and ceremonies to maintain harmony between the spiritual and physical worlds.

7. Confucianism: ~0.3% (~24 million); As an overlapping belief: ~9.5% (750 million) 

Many people abide by the teachings of Confucius along side their primary belief system–even if just partially. So, estimating how many people follow Confucianism is difficult. An ethical and philosophical system that originated in China, based on the teachings of the philosopher Confucius. It has played a significant role in shaping Chinese culture, history, and social institutions. While not a religion in the strictest sense, Confucianism has had a profound influence on the religious and philosophical landscape of East Asia. It is estimated that around 0.1% to 0.5% of the global population may consider Confucianism as their primary belief system. With a population of around 7.9 billion, that’s roughly 7.9 million to 39.5 million people. I randomly picked .3% in between.

The percent of the world population that use Confucianism as an add-on to their primary belief system is more challenging to estimate, as Confucianism often coexists with other religious or philosophical beliefs, such as Buddhism, Taoism, and folk religions in East Asia. It could be possible that up to 5% to 15% of the global population incorporates Confucian principles into their primary belief systems to varying extents. With a population of around 7.9 billion, that’s 395 million to 1.185 billion people. I picked 750 million as a nice round number in between.

8. Sikhism: ~0.3% (~24 million)

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that originated in the Punjab region of India, with approximately 24 million adherents worldwide. Sikhs believe in one God and follow the teachings of their ten gurus, as recorded in the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib. Sikhism emphasizes the importance of ethical living and social justice.

9. Judaism: ~0.2% (~16 million4)

Judaism is a monotheistic religion with approximately 16 million adherents worldwide. Judaism is centered around the belief in one God and the teachings of the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanakh). Jewish practices and beliefs vary widely depending on the sect and region, but all Jews share a connection to the shared history and traditions of the Jewish people.

Note: If Hitler had not murdered 6 million jews in the Holocaust, there would be at least 47 million jews today. That’s a minimum of 31 million4 souls that were lost because of right wing hate which inspired the Nazi regime to slaughter 6 million souls including women and children.

10. New Age and Spiritualism: ~15 million

These terms encompass a wide range of contemporary spiritual practices and beliefs that often draw on Eastern religious traditions, ancient mysticism, and esoteric philosophies. New Age and Spiritualism are characterized by an emphasis on personal growth, healing, and the pursuit of higher states of consciousness, often through meditation, alternative healing practices, and engagement with the metaphysical or paranormal.

11. Daoism: ~0.2% (~16 million); As an overlapping belief: ~6.3% (~500 million)

Daoism is primarily practiced in China and, to a lesser extent, in other East Asian countries. It is difficult to estimate adherents accurately as many people practice Daoism alongside other religious beliefs. The percent of the world population that consider Daoism their primary belief system is estimated at around 0.1% to 0.3% of the global population, maybe. With a population of around 7.9 billion, this translates to roughly 7.9 million to 23.7 million people. I chose the nice round number of .2% and 16 million in between.

The percent that use Daoism as an add-on to their primary belief system is very hard to estimate as Daoism often coexists with others including Buddhism, Confucianism, and folk religions in East Asia. A possible range is from 3% to 10% of the global population incorporates Daoist principles into their primary belief systems to varying extents. With a population of 7.9 billion, that is approximately 237 million to 790 million people. I chose a nice found number in between of 500 million.

12. Bahá’í Faith ~6 million

A monotheistic religion with its origins in 19th-century Persia, the Bahá’í Faith has approximately 5-7 million followers worldwide.

13. Jainism ~4.5 million

An ancient Indian religion, Jainism has around 4-5 million adherents, mostly in India.

14. Native American Religions: ~4 million5

Like African Traditional Religions, this category includes a diverse range of indigenous religious practices and beliefs that are native to the Americas. These traditions often center around a close relationship with the natural world, with ceremonies and rituals designed to maintain balance and harmony within the environment and the community.

15. Shintoism: ~4 million

Primarily practiced in Japan, Shintoism has an estimated 3-5 million adherents.

16. Neopaganism: ~1.5 million

A contemporary religious movement that seeks to revive, reinterpret, or adapt pre-Christian, indigenous, or pagan religious practices and beliefs. Neopaganism encompasses a wide range of traditions, including Wicca, Druidism, and Asatru, among others.

17. Rastafarianism: ~800,000

A religious and cultural movement that originated in Jamaica in the 1930s. Rastafarianism is based on a belief in the divinity of the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I and the importance of African heritage and identity in the struggle against oppression.

18. Zoroastrianism: ~150,000

Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest continuously practiced religions, originated in ancient Persia (modern-day Iran) and is based on the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra). The precise dating of Zoroaster’s life is a topic of much scholarly debate, with estimates ranging from the 6th century BCE to as early as the 2nd millennium BCE. Zoroastrianism’s central tenets emphasize the importance of good thoughts, words, and deeds in the ongoing cosmic struggle between Ahura Mazda, the wise lord and embodiment of good, and Angra Mainyu, the destructive spirit of chaos and evil. This dualistic worldview, along with concepts such as monotheism, heaven and hell, and a final judgment, significantly influenced later religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Over the centuries, the number of Zoroastrian adherents has dwindled, largely due to conversion to Islam and other religions. However, Zoroastrianism remains a vibrant tradition with active communities, particularly in Iran and India, where the descendants of Persian Zoroastrians, known as Parsis, maintain a strong cultural and religious identity.

19. Scientology: ~75,000

Scientology is a controversial new religious movement that was founded in the mid-20th century by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology teaches that individuals are immortal spiritual beings who have lived through many past lives, and that by engaging in Scientology practices, individuals can rid themselves of negative emotions and experiences from past lives. The number of Scientologists worldwide is difficult to estimate, but some estimates suggest that there may be between 50,000 and 100,000 active members worldwide. In the United States, a 2014 survey found that about 0.1% of the population identified as Scientologist. However, the Church of Scientology claims to have millions of members worldwide, and it has been reported that the Church has inflated its membership numbers in the past. Scientology has faced criticism and controversy over its practices, including allegations of abusive behavior towards members and its aggressive legal tactics towards critics and former members.

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*** Additional Belief Systems ***

(alphabetical)

In contrast to primary belief systems, individuals may hold multiple additional belief systems, which can overlap with one another.

Astrology: 29% of Americans

Astrology is a practice that involves the interpretation of celestial phenomena as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world. While astrology is not considered a formal religion, many individuals incorporate it into their spiritual practices. According to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, about 29% of Americans believe in astrology. Additionally, many people who follow astrology also believe in God, with a 2014 survey finding that 57% of astrologers identified as spiritual but not religious.

KKK/Neo-Nazi/White Supremacy: 6% of Americans

KKK/Neo-Nazi/White Supremacy movements are extremist and often violent ideologies that promote the belief in the superiority of the white race and advocate for the exclusion or subjugation of minority groups. It is difficult to estimate the number of individuals worldwide who identify with these movements, as they are largely decentralized and operate in secrecy. However, it is clear that these ideologies represent a small minority of the global population, and they are widely condemned by governments and civil society organizations around the world. In the United States, a 2019 survey found that about 6% of Americans believe that white nationalism is a problem in the country. These movements have a significant presence in some European countries, such as Germany, where neo-Nazi groups have been responsible for acts of violence and hate crimes against minority groups.

Meditation: 200 to 500 million world wide

A practice of focusing the mind and cultivating mental clarity, often adopted as a secondary belief system or practice for self-improvement and spiritual growth. Meditation is also very popular as a relaxation technique having nothing to do with a belief system.

Numerology: ~15% of Americans (50 million)

Numerology is the belief in the spiritual or mystical significance of numbers. While numerology is not a mainstream belief system, some individuals incorporate numerology into their spiritual practices or use it to make decisions in their daily lives. It is estimated that about 15% of Americans believe in numerology, which would equate to approximately 50 million individuals. Belief in numerology is more common among those who identify as spiritual or New Age than among those who identify with organized religions.

Reiki: 1 to 5 million world wide

A healing technique that involves the transfer of universal life force energy through the practitioner’s hands to promote emotional and physical healing.

Tarot: 10 to 50 million world wide

A system of divination using a deck of symbolic cards to gain insight into the past, present, or future.

Yoga: 300 million to 2 billion world wide

A physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India, often used for personal growth, health, and well-being and is common as a form of exercise having nothing to do with a belief system.

 

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*** Core Religious Beliefs ***

(alphabetical)

The following beliefs fall into the category of wanting to know the unknowable.

Adam and Eve as Ancestral Humans: ~45% of Americans (~148.5 million)

The belief in Adam and Eve as the first humans and the ancestors of all human beings is a religious concept found primarily in Abrahamic religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. According to the biblical account in Genesis, God created Adam and Eve as the first man and woman, placing them in the Garden of Eden before they were expelled due to their disobedience.

In the United States, a 2014 Gallup poll found that about 45% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form, which may include the belief that all humans are descended from Adam and Eve. This translates to approximately 148.5 million people based on a population of 330 million. It is worth noting that this figure may overlap with the percentages of Americans who believe in creationism or biblical literalism, as some adherents to these beliefs may also accept the concept of human descent from Adam and Eve.

Globally, the belief that all humans are descended from Adam and Eve varies significantly across different countries and cultures. While it is difficult to determine an exact percentage, this belief is more prevalent in regions with a strong religious influence and adherence to Abrahamic faiths. It is important to note that not all religious believers endorse the view that all humans are descended from Adam and Eve, with many accepting the scientific consensus on human evolution and ancestry while maintaining their religious beliefs.

Afterlife: 54% of Non-Religious; % of Religious, No Data Available.

Afterlife beliefs vary widely including among those who do not identify with a formal religion. Approximately 54% of non-religious individuals believe in some form of an afterlife. This contrasts with religious believers in which an afterlife is typically a fundamental tenet of their faith. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that 27% of Americans who do not identify with a particular religion believe in heaven or a place where people live after they die, but do not believe in hell. Another 27% believe in both heaven and hell.

Note: It’s interesting to note that not all religions assert belief in an afterlife. While an afterlife is typically a fundamental tenet of most religions, there are some religious groups that do not believe in an afterlife. Also of interesting not, for the purposes of this discussion, one could define afterlife as including the return of one’s energy to a higher power, which is a belief held by the majority of religious groups.

Angels: ~80% of Americans (~264 million)

Belief in angels is a common phenomenon across many religions and cultures worldwide. While it is difficult to estimate the exact number of individuals who believe in angels, a 2018 survey found that approximately 80% of Americans believe in the existence of angels, which would equate to roughly 182 million individuals in the United States alone. This belief is present across many religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, as well as in New Age and spiritualist movements.

Biblical Literalism: ~24% of Americans (~79.2 million)

Biblical literalism is the belief that the Bible is the infallible and literal word of God, and its contents should be understood and accepted without interpretation or allegory. Biblical literalists maintain that the events and teachings in the Bible are historically accurate and factual, rejecting attempts to reconcile biblical accounts with modern scientific or historical understanding.

In the United States, a 2021 Gallup poll found that about 24% of Americans believe the Bible is the literal word of God, which translates to approximately 79.2 million people based on a population of 330 million. This figure is distinct from the percentages of Americans who believe in creationism or Young Earth Creationism, as not all biblical literalists may adhere to these specific beliefs.

Globally, the belief in biblical literalism varies significantly across different countries and cultures. While it is difficult to determine an exact percentage, biblical literalism is more prevalent in regions with strong religious influence and conservative interpretations of Christianity, particularly among certain Protestant denominations. It is important to note that not all Christians endorse a literal interpretation of the Bible, with many accepting various degrees of interpretation, allegory, and historical context in their understanding of the biblical text.

Cosmic Consciousness: Difficult to Estimate

Cosmic consciousness is a spiritual concept that refers to the idea that all living beings and the universe itself are interconnected through a shared, universal consciousness. This belief can be found in various religious or spiritual traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age spirituality. However, due to the diverse nature of these beliefs and the lack of centralized doctrines, it is difficult to provide a specific estimate of the number of people who believe in cosmic consciousness.

Covenant with God: ~55% of world wide (~4.3 billion)

A covenant with God is a concept found primarily in Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It refers to an agreement between God and their religion centered around who will be saved. They believe God made a deal with them, such as the covenant with Abraham, the covenant with Moses and the Israelites, or the new covenant established through Jesus Christ in Christianity. It is estimated that around 55% of the world’s population believe in the concept of a covenant with God, primarily due to the combined followers of Christianity (~31% of the world population), Islam (~24% of the world population), and Judaism (~0.2% of the world population).

Note: This religious belief does not take into account non-covenant deals with God. Non-covenant deals with God may be found in various religious or spiritual traditions outside the Abrahamic faiths. However, due to the diverse nature of these beliefs and the lack of centralized doctrines, it is difficult to provide a specific estimate of the number of people who believe in non-covenant deals between God and their non-Abrahamic religion.

Creationism: ~38% of Americans (~125.4 million), ~33% world wide (~2.64 billion)

Creationism is the belief that the universe and all living beings were created by a divine or supernatural entity, often in accordance with a specific religious narrative. The most well-known form of creationism is based on the biblical account of Genesis, in which God creates the universe, Earth, and all life forms within six days. The same 2021 Pew Research Center survey mentioned earlier found that around 38% of Americans, or approximately 125.4 million people, believe in some form of creationism. Globally, it is estimated that around 33% of the world’s population, or about 2.64 billion people, hold creationist beliefs. This figure includes not only Christians but also Muslims, Jews, and followers of other religions with their own creation narratives. It is important to note that some individuals may accept aspects of both evolution and creationism, seeing them as compatible or complementary explanations of the origins of life.

Dharma: ~22% of world wide (~1.7 billion)

Dharma is a key concept in several religious and philosophical traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It refers to the principles, ethics, and duties that guide an individual’s actions in life to achieve spiritual fulfillment and maintain harmony in the universe. It is estimated that around 22% of the world’s population believe in the concept of dharma, largely due to the prevalence of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism globally. This estimate takes into account the believers of Hinduism (~15% of the world population), Buddhism (~7% of the world population), Sikhism (~0.3% of the world population), and Jainism.

Divine Intervention: ~62% of Americans (~205 million)

Divine intervention refers to the belief that a higher power, such as God, can directly intervene in human affairs or alter the course of events in the world. This belief is present across many religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, as well as in New Age and spiritualist movements. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that 62% of Americans believe in divine intervention, which would equate to approximately 141 million individuals in the United States alone.

Divine Revelation: ~57% of world wide (~4.5 billion)

Divine revelation is the belief that God or a higher power has communicated specific knowledge, truths, or instructions to humanity, often through prophets, messengers, or sacred texts. This concept is found in various religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and the Bahá’í Faith. It is estimated that around 57% of the world’s population believe in the concept of divine revelation, primarily due to the combined followers of Christianity (~31% of the world population), Islam (~24% of the world population), Judaism (~0.2% of the world population), and the Bahá’í Faith (~0.1% of the world population).

Evolution: ~62% of Americans (~204.6 million), Majority of World Population

Evolution is a scientific theory that explains the diversity of life on Earth through the process of natural selection and genetic mutation. It posits that species gradually evolve over time as they adapt to their environment, with those best suited to survive passing on their traits to future generations. Charles Darwin’s publication of “On the Origin of Species” in 1859 popularized the theory of evolution, which is now widely accepted within the scientific community. A 2021 Pew Research Center survey found that approximately 62% of Americans accept the theory of evolution. This translates to roughly 204.6 million people based on a population of 330 million.

Globally, the acceptance of the theory of evolution varies significantly across different countries and cultures. While it is difficult to determine an exact percentage, a majority of people in the world accept the theory of evolution to some degree, especially in countries where scientific education is widespread. A comprehensive study conducted in 2019 by the journal “Nature Ecology & Evolution” surveyed 22 countries and found that the acceptance of evolution ranges from around 80% or higher in countries with high scientific literacy and secularism, such as Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden, to lower rates in countries with strong religious influence or lower levels of scientific literacy.

Ghosts: ~45% of Americans (~149 million)

Belief in ghosts is another common spiritual belief that is not tied to a formal religion. A 2019 Gallup poll found that 45% of Americans believe in ghosts or that spirits can come back in certain situations.

Karma: ~22% world wide (~1.7 billion)

Karma is a fundamental concept in various religious and philosophical traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It refers to the principle of cause and effect, wherein an individual’s actions in their current life will influence their future experiences or future lives. It is estimated that around 22% of the world’s population believe in the concept of karma, largely due to the prevalence of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism globally. This estimate takes into account the believers of Hinduism (~15% of the world population), Buddhism (~7% of the world population), Sikhism (~0.3% of the world population), and Jainism.

Miracles: ~72% of Americans (~238 million)

A miracle is an extraordinary event or phenomenon that cannot be explained by natural or scientific laws and is, therefore, attributed to divine intervention. Belief in miracles is common across many religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism, as well as in New Age and spiritualist movements. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that 72% of Americans believe in miracles, which would equate to approximately 163 million individuals in the United States alone. This belief is not restricted to any particular religion or spiritual tradition, and many who believe in miracles may not identify with a specific religious affiliation.

Monotheism: ~62% of world wide (~4.9 billion)

Monotheism is the belief in the existence of a single, supreme, and all-powerful deity. This concept is the foundation of many religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. It is estimated that around 62% of the world’s population believe in monotheism, primarily due to the combined followers of Christianity (approximately 31% of the world population), Islam (approximately 24% of the world population), Judaism (approximately 0.2% of the world population), and other smaller monotheistic religions such as Baha’i and Zoroastrianism.

Polytheism: ~15% of World Wide (~1.2 billion)

Polytheism is the belief in and worship of multiple gods or deities. Polytheistic religions have existed throughout human history, and several such traditions continue to be practiced today. Some of the most notable polytheistic religions include Hinduism, Shinto, and various indigenous and tribal belief systems. It is estimated that around 15% of the world’s population adhere to polytheistic beliefs, primarily due to the followers of Hinduism (approximately 15% of the world population). Other smaller polytheistic religions, such as Shinto and certain indigenous and tribal belief systems, also contribute to this percentage.

Prayer: ~80% of Americans (~264 million)

Prayer is a common religious practice that involves communicating with a higher power, often through petitions, intercessions, or expressions of gratitude and praise. Belief in the importance and efficacy of prayer is present across many religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, as well as in New Age and spiritualist movements. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that approximately 80% of Americans pray at least occasionally, which would equate to roughly 182 million individuals in the United States alone. This belief and practice are not restricted to any particular religion or spiritual tradition, and many who engage in prayer may not identify with a specific religious affiliation.

Rebirth: ~40% of World Wide (~3.16 billion)

Rebirth is a concept found in various religious and philosophical traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is the belief that after death, a person’s soul or consciousness is reborn into a new body or form, with the cycle of rebirth continuing until the individual reaches a state of spiritual liberation or enlightenment. It is estimated that around 40% of the world’s population believe in the concept of rebirth, largely due to the prevalence of Hinduism and Buddhism globally. This estimate takes into account the believers of Hinduism (~15% of the world population), Buddhism (~7% of the world population), and Jainism, as well as some adherents of other faiths and spiritual traditions that also embrace the concept of rebirth.

Reincarnation: ~20% of Americans (~66 million)

Reincarnation, similar to the concept of rebirth, is the belief that after death, a person’s soul or consciousness is reborn into a new body or form. Reincarnation is more commonly associated with New Age and spiritualist movements, as well as some indigenous and tribal religions. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that about 20% of Americans believe in reincarnation, which would equate to approximately 65 million individuals in the United States. This belief is not restricted to any particular religion or spiritual tradition, and many who believe in reincarnation may not identify with a specific religious affiliation.

Salvation: ~31% of World Wide (~2.45 billion)

Salvation is a central concept in Christianity and refers to the belief that individuals can be saved from sin and its consequences, such as eternal punishment or separation from God, through faith in Jesus Christ. It is estimated that around 31% of the world’s population believe in the concept of salvation, primarily due to the prevalence of Christianity globally. This estimate takes into account the followers of various Christian denominations, including Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and other Christian traditions.

Young Earth Creationism: ~18% of Americans (~59.4 million)

Young Earth Creationism is a specific form of creationism that asserts that the Earth and the universe are only approximately 6,000 years old, based on a literal interpretation of the biblical creation account in Genesis. Young Earth Creationists reject scientific evidence supporting an older Earth and universe, such as radiometric dating, geological formations, and cosmological observations.

In the United States, a 2019 Gallup poll found that about 18% of Americans believe in Young Earth Creationism, which translates to approximately 59.4 million people based on a population of 330 million. This figure is lower than the overall percentage of Americans who believe in some form of creationism, as not all creationists adhere to a young Earth interpretation.

Globally, the belief in Young Earth Creationism varies significantly across different countries and cultures. While it is difficult to determine an exact percentage, Young Earth Creationism is more prevalent in regions with strong religious influence and literal interpretations of religious texts, particularly among certain Christian and Jewish communities. It is important to note that not all religious believers endorse a young Earth view, with many accepting the scientific consensus on the age of the Earth and the universe while maintaining their religious beliefs.

 

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*** Crazy Conspiracy Theories ***

(alphabetical)

Come on people. Think! You are better than this. Please take some logic and reason classes. Learn how to think. I promise you will then start to live a better life.

9/11 Was an Inside Job: ~24% of Americans (~80 million)

Some people believe that the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, were orchestrated by the U.S. government or other powerful groups as part of a false flag operation. This theory alleges that the attacks were used to justify wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and erode civil liberties. However, extensive investigations and evidence have disproven this theory, and the 9/11 attacks have been conclusively linked to the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. A 2016 Chapman University survey found that around 24.2% of Americans (about 80 million people) believe that the U.S. government was involved in the 9/11 attacks. It is difficult to estimate the number of people worldwide who hold this belief, but it is likely that the percentage of believers varies across different countries and regions.

Chemtrails: ~1% to 5% of Americans (~4 to 16 million)

Some people believe that the contrails left by airplanes are actually “chemtrails” – chemicals deliberately sprayed into the atmosphere by the government for various nefarious purposes, such as mind control, weather modification, or population control. This theory is not supported by scientific evidence, and contrails are simply a natural byproduct of aircraft engines. It is estimated that around 1-5% of Americans (3.3 million to 16.5 million people) believe in the chemtrails conspiracy theory. There is not enough data to provide an accurate estimate for the global population.

Flat Earth: ~2% of Americans (6.5 million)

Despite overwhelming evidence, some individuals still believe that the Earth is flat rather than a sphere. The Flat Earth theory posits that the Earth is a flat disc, and the conspiracy involves governments and scientists concealing the truth about the Earth’s shape. This theory has been debunked by centuries of scientific research and direct observations from space. It is difficult to estimate the number of flat Earthers worldwide, but a 2018 survey found that approximately 2% of Americans believed that the Earth is flat, which would equate to roughly 6.5 million individuals. Flat Earthers may hold a variety of other beliefs, including conspiracy theories related to government and science. A 2018 YouGov survey found that 2% of Americans (approximately 6.6 million people) firmly believe that the Earth is flat. The number of people worldwide who believe in the Flat Earth theory is difficult to estimate, but it is likely a small minority.

Illuminati, and the New World Order: ~28% of Americans (~92.4 million)

The Illuminati is a secret society that is said to be plotting to establish a totalitarian “New World Order” that would control the entire world. Believers in this conspiracy theory claim that the Illuminati has infiltrated the highest levels of government, media, and other institutions, and is manipulating global events to achieve its goals. There is no credible evidence to support the existence of the Illuminati or its alleged plans for world domination. A 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that 28% of Americans (approximately 92.4 million people) believe in the existence of a secretive elite that controls world events, which could include the Illuminati and the New World Order. It is challenging to provide a global estimate for this belief, as the numbers may vary greatly depending on the country and cultural context.

Kennedy Assassinated by the CIA: ~7% of Americans (~23 million)

Belief in conspiracy theories related to political events, such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, is not uncommon in the United States. It is estimated that about 7% of Americans believe that the CIA was involved in Kennedy’s assassination, which would equate to approximately 23 million individuals. While there is no evidence to support this conspiracy theory, it has been popularized in popular culture and continues to be a topic of debate and discussion.

Moon Landing Faked: ~6% of Americans (~20 million)

The moon landing was a major achievement in human history, but some individuals continue to believe that it was faked or staged by the government. It is estimated that about 6% of Americans hold this belief, which would equate to approximately 20 million individuals. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, belief in this conspiracy theory has persisted for decades and continues to be a topic of discussion and debate among some groups.

Reptilian Overlords: ~4% of Americans (~13.2 million)

This conspiracy theory claims that shape-shifting reptilian aliens secretly control the world’s governments, media, and financial institutions. Believers argue that these reptilian beings are responsible for orchestrating major historical events and manipulating world affairs to maintain their control over humanity. There is no evidence to support this bizarre theory. The belief in reptilian overlords is less widespread than some other conspiracy theories. A 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that 4% of Americans (approximately 13.2 million people) believe in the existence of reptilian shape-shifters. Again, global numbers are difficult to estimate, but this theory is likely believed by a small minority worldwide.

Vaccines Cause Autism: ~10% of Americans (~33 million)

Despite widespread scientific consensus that vaccines are safe and effective, some individuals continue to believe that vaccines are harmful or can cause autism. It is estimated that about 10% of Americans hold anti-vaccine beliefs, which would equate to approximately 33 million individuals. This belief has been linked to a rise in vaccine-preventable diseases in recent years, and public health officials continue to advocate for the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

Conclusion

Notice that science was not included in the primary belief system list, nor additional list. That’s because,

Science is true whether you believe in it or not.

In examining the breakdown of the major belief systems of the world, it is important to note that science and the scientific method are not included in either the primary or additional belief system lists. This is because science is based on empirical evidence and a process of observation, experimentation, and testing, rather than faith or belief. In other words, the scientific method is a way of determining what is true based on what can be observed and replicated by others, rather than on personal beliefs or opinions.

Unlike other belief systems, scientific knowledge is not based on individual interpretation or subjectivity, but rather on objective evidence and consensus. The scientific method has played a fundamental role in shaping modern society, from medical advancements to technological innovations, and has allowed us to better understand and address some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity.

Spoiler alert: science doesn’t need your approval to be true.

While beliefs and faith continue to be important aspects of many people’s lives and cultures, it is important to recognize the value and importance of scientific knowledge in shaping our understanding of the world around us. Ultimately, our ability to reconcile and integrate different belief systems with scientific knowledge is essential to promoting greater understanding, tolerance, and progress in a complex and rapidly changing world.

Footnotes:

1: Pew Research Center. (2018). The Age Gap in Religion Around the World
2: Pew Research Center. (2021). Christians. In Global Religious Landscape.
3: Pew Research Center. (2017, April 26). Religious Landscape Study
4: A rough estimate suggests ~47.05 million Jews in 2023 if the Holocaust hadn’t occurred. This is calculated by adding the 6 million Jews killed to the population and applying a global average growth rate over 80 years. Note that this is not an exact figure. The Holocaust was caused by various factors and ideologies but primarily caused by right-wing racism fueled by extreme nationalism, and anti-Semitism that fueled the Nazi regime.
5: This is a guess. There are 45 million indigenous peoples in the Americas many, perhaps most, integrate their native religious beliefs with another primary belief system.

Sources:

Pew Research Center. (2017, April 25). Many Americans Mix Multiple Faiths
Religion News Service. (2014, May 29). Belief in God is common among astrologers.
Gallup. (2019, October 23). Do Americans Believe in Ghosts? 
Pew Research Center. (2018, November 1). In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace
Chan, A. K. (2017). Confucianism and Its Modern Relevance. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 52(2), 167-180.
Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2021, March 8). Confucianism.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2016, March 14). Confucius.

Additional sources for core religious beliefs:

Heaven: “Religious Landscape Study.” Pew Research Center, 11 May 2015.
In U.S., Belief in Heaven Is on the Downswing.” Gallup, 22 Dec. 2020.
Belief in Angels Widespread, Even Among ‘Nuns’.” Pew Research Center, 20 Dec. 2016.
What is Cosmic Consciousness?” Gaia, 6 Nov. 2018.
Cosmic Consciousness.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Covenant with God: “Abrahamic Religion.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Covenant with God: “The Global Religious Landscape.” Pew Research Center, 18 Dec. 2012.
Most Americans Believe in Divine Intervention, Poll Finds.” University of Michigan News, 30 Oct. 2018.
Divine Intervention: “Religious Landscape Study.” Pew Research Center, 11 May 2015.
In U.S., Belief in Ghosts Has Risen Since 1990s.” Gallup, 13 Jun. 2019.
Karma.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Karma: “The Global Religious Landscape.” Pew Research Center, 18 Dec. 2012.
Rebirth.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Rebirth: “The Global Religious Landscape.” Pew Research Center, 18 Dec. 2012.
Reincarnation.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Reincarnation: “Religious Landscape Study.” Pew Research Center, 11 May 2015.

Additional belief sources:

Astrology: “Religious Landscape Study.” Pew Research Center, 11 May 2015.
Astrology’s Popularity on the Rise.” Pew Research Center, 12 Oct. 2018.
KKK: “Poll: White nationalism a rising threat in the US.” Al Jazeera, 4 Apr. 2019.
KKK: “The dangerous rise of right-wing extremism in Europe.” Deutsche Welle, 21 Oct. 2019.
Meditation.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Meditation: “The Global Wellness Economy.” Global Wellness Institute, 2018.
Numerology.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
What Is Numerology?” Numerology.com.
What Is Reiki?” International Association of Reiki Professionals.
Tarot.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Tarot Cards: What They Are and How They Work.” Live Science, 17 Oct. 2018.
Yoga.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
The Global Wellness Economy.” Global Wellness Institute, 2018.

Additional conspiracy theory sources:

9/11 Conspiracy Theories.” History, A&E Television Networks, 1 Apr. 2021.
The 9/11 Commission Report.” National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, 22 July 2004.
Chemtrails Conspiracy Theory.” Skeptoid, 22 Sept. 2009.
Contrails Facts.” Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 23 Apr. 2021.
Is the Earth Flat? No, It’s an Oblate Spheroid – Here’s the Proof.” NASA, 23 Aug. 2018.
Why Do People Still Think the Earth Is Flat?” BBC Future, 8 Nov. 2018.
The Illuminati: Facts, Fiction, and Fictional Facts.” Skeptoid, 17 Mar. 2015.
Illuminati: “Conspiracy Theories.” Public Policy Polling, 2 Apr. 2013.
JFK Assassination: 7 Conspiracy Theories.” Live Science, 30 Oct. 2017.
JFK Assassination Records.” National Archives and Records Administration.
The Moon Landing Hoax Theory Explained.” Space.com, 19 July 2019.
Moon Landing Faked? Conspiracy Theories Persists 50 Years Later.” NBC News, 19 July 2019.
Reptilian Overlords: “Why Do People Believe in Reptilian Humanoids?” BBC Future, 6 May 2019.
Reptilian Overlords: “Conspiracy Theories.” Public Policy Polling, 2 Apr. 2013.
Vaccines Cause Autism: “Vaccine Safety: The Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Apr. 2021.
Vaccines Cause Autism: “Facts About Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Mar. 2021.

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