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Library of World Religions and Faith Traditions

Written by the world's leading authorities on religion and spirituality, the Patheos Library offers the most accurate and balanced information available on the web.

In the column below, 50 major religious traditions are listed. For each, Patheos offers thorough, peer-reviewed, encyclopedic information that helps readers understand its origins, history, beliefs, rituals, ethics, and community structures. Click on the name of a religion to read in-depth articles.

East Asian Origins
Chinese Religion400,000,0004000 BCEChina
Confucianism5,000,000c. 500 B.C.E.China
Japanese Religion1,000,000400 BCEJapan
Shinto3,000,000500 BCEJapan
Taoism20,000,000c. 550 B.C.E.China
Zen10,000,000650 CEChina / Japan
Indian Origins
Buddhism350,000,000c. 5th century B.C.E.India
Mahayana Buddhism185,000,000100 CEIndia
Theravada Buddhism124,000,000100 BCEIndia / Sri Lanka
Vajrayana Buddhism6,000,000500 CEIndia
Hinduism1,000,000,000c. 2000 B.C.E.India
Shaivite Hinduism200,000,000150 BCEIndia
Shakta Hinduism25,000,000300 CEIndia
Vaishnavite Hinduism350,000,000300 CEIndia
Jainism6,000,000550 BCEIndia
Sikhism23,000,0001450 CEIndia
Near Eastern Origins
Christianity2,100,000,00033 CEPalestine
Eastern Orthodoxy200,000,000c. 1st - 5th centuries C.E.Roman-Byzantine Empire
Mormonism13,500,0001830 CEUnited States
Oriental Orthodoxy27,000,000451 CEMiddle East
Protestantism500,000,000early 16th centuryGermany
Adventist15,500,0001850 CEUnited States
African Independent Churches110,000,0001870 CEAfrica
Anabaptist4,500,0001525 CESwitzerland
Anglican/Episcopalian70,000,0001534 CEEngland
Baptist100,000,0001609 CEHolland, England, and United States
Disciples of Christ700,0001832 CEUnited States
Holiness and Pentecostal105,000,0001900 CEUnited States
Lutheran64,000,0001517 CEGermany
Methodist70,000,0001744 CEEngland
Presbyterian & Reformed75,000,0001529 CESwitzerland
Society of Friends (Quaker)300,0001654 CEEngland
United Church of Christ/Congregationalism1,200,0001957 CEUnited States / England
Roman Catholicism1,170,000,0001st - 5th centuries C.E.Roman-Latin Empire
Islam1,500,000,000622 CEArabian peninsula
Shi'a Islam150,000,000632 CEMiddle East
Sufism9,000,000675 CEMiddle East
Sunni Islam940,000,000632 CEMiddle East
Judaism14,000,000c. 2000 B.C.E.Canaan
Conservative Judaism4,500,0001886 CEEurope
Orthodox Judaism2,000,0001851 CEEurope
Reform Judaism4,000,0001810 CEEurope
New Religions
Baha'i5,000,0001863 CEIran (Persia)
Christian Science400,0001879 CEUnited States
ISKCON (Hare Krishna)250,0001966 CEUnited States
Jehovah's Witnesses7,000,0001931 CEUnited States
New Age3,500,0001960 CEUnited States
Paganism1,000,000Early 20th CenturyMultiple sources
Scientology500,0001954 CEUnited States
Unitarian-Universalism250,0001825 CEUnited States

Compare Religions


Use the Patheos Side-by-Side Lens to create an easy-to-read comparison chart for differing religious traditions. Choose up to three traditions from the scrollable lists to the right and then click Go!

More Traditions

More Traditions

Here are some important Traditions that help fill in the big picture — ancient religions, indigenous religions, non-religious "systems," and some additional traditions related to the Major Traditions in the main Patheos Library.

View More Traditions
Country Profiles

Country Profiles

Our country profiles offer detailed information about the religious demographics of every country in the world — nearly 300 countries in all.



Patheos regularly features topical surveys and series. Open the list below to review covered topics and related blogs, columns, and articles.

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For Students

You have come to the right place for extensive, user-friendly information for your research projects and your studies. Whether you are a student or just someone studying the religions of the world, Patheos provides a solid foundation of religious knowledge.


For Teachers

Patheos offers a free and expansive library of easy-to-read information on the world’s religious traditions. The Library also includes a variety of lenses and summaries to assist you in bringing the traditions to life. Visit our Teachers page to review all of our resources.