The Human Truth Foundation

A List of All Religions and Belief Systems

By Vexen Crabtree 2013

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81 entries are listed here. It is simply impossible to list all varieties of religion1 as we as a species have created an almost infinite variety of religious and transcendental ideas. Items in lower case italics are classes of religion and not actual religions. For example, "theism" is any religion that contains god(s), and "polytheism" is a form of theism.

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DescriptionGod(s)?HeritageArea of OriginFoundedFounderAfterlife?Holy Texts?
agnosticismA form of belief, rather than a specific system. Belief that (1) God, if it exists, is by nature unknowable and will always be unknowable, or, (2) that the individual being asked cannot conclude if god exists or not for lack of evidence one way or the otherAtheist/monotheistNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalNot definedNone
AmishThe symbol of ChristianityPeaceful Christian fundamentalist group famous for its rejection of technology and strict adherence to OT and NT lawsMonotheistChristianitySwitzerland1693 CEJakob Ammann and his followers split from the AnabaptistsHeaven or hellThe Bible
ancestor worshipA form of belief, rather than a specific system. Belief that good relations need to be kept with tribal ancestor spirits. Often a form of ShamanismNot definedNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalprehistoricYesNone
animismA form of belief, rather than a specific system. The belief that all objects contain spirits. More a traditional form of belief than a "religion" in the Western senseNot definedNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalprehistoricNot definedNone
AsatrúA modern uptake of Nordic religionPolytheistScandinavian folkloreIceland1972 CEOtherNone
atheismA form of belief, rather than a specific system. Either (1) the active and extrinsic disbelief that God exists, or (2) an intrinsic lack of belief due to lack of knowledge about god(s) in local cultureAtheistNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalprehistoricNot definedNone
Aum ShinrikyoDangerous and violent religious community responsible for the 1995 Sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway and other crimes. Eventually they apologized, stopped using the Bible, and formed the more prosaic group called AlephTheistChristianity and Far Eastern religionJapan1984 CEShoko AsaharaYesThe Bible and other
Bahá'í FaithThe symbol of the Bahai FaithA world religion2,3. Belief that a series of prophets have come from God, and that Bahá'í is the latest religion founded by God. A liberal offshoot of Islam, but persecuted in IranMonotheistShi'a IslamIran18634 CEBy Bahá'u'lláhYesWritings of Baha'u'llah and Abdul Baha
Brahma KumariThis group are preparing to rule the world after a coming apocalypse, and embrace many practices which are now called New AgeMonotheistHinduismIndia1930s CELekhraj Kripalani (called Brahma Baba)Writings of founder and leaders
Branch DavidiansThe symbol of ChristianityApocalyptic suicide cult famed for its dramatic armed fight against authorities in the town of Waco, USA, in 1993TheistChristianityUSA1930 CEBenjamin RodenHeaven or hellThe Bible
BuddhismThe symbol of BuddhismA world religion2,3,5. The belief that meditation and good living can break the cycle of reincarnation and result in enlightenmentAtheistHinduismIndia1st millennium BCETraditions based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha GautamaReincarnation until escapeMultifaceted
Celtic PaganismModern reconstructions of Celtic paganism form part of the neo-pagan range of religionsNot knownPrehistoricUKprehistoricNone
Chen TaoA series of civilisations on Earth have arisen but destroyed themselves in nuclear war. Each time, some faithful believers were rescued by flying saucers and put back on EarthTheistChristianity and BuddhismTaiwan1996 CEBy Hon Ming ChenYes
Chinese ReligionA varied cultural religion practiced traditionally on a town-by-town and region-by-region basisAtheistPrehistoricChinaprehistoricReincarnation until escapeNone
ChristadelphiansThe symbol of ChristianityBible-based ChristianityMonotheistChristianityUSA1840s CEBy Dr John ThomasHeaven or hellThe Bible
Christian Apostolic Church In Zion The symbol of ChristianityFundamentalist Anti-science flat-earth Christian cult, who also predicted the End of the World would occur 4 different timesTheistChristianityUSA1895 CEJohn Alexander DowieHeaven or hellThe Bible
ChristianityThe symbol of ChristianityA world religion2,3. Belief that a single creator god had a son, Jesus Christ, born to a human mother, and that Jesus' crucifixion by the Romans brings salvationMonotheistJudaism6 and paganism7Roman Empire1st-3rd centuryCEMultiple Greek writers. St PaulHeaven or hellThe Bible
Concerned ChristiansThe symbol of ChristianityFundamentalist Christians active in USA, Israel and Greece who expected the end of the world in year 2000, starting with a nuclear attack on the USA, which they appeared to be trying to instigate themselvesTheistChristianityUSA1980s CEMonte Kim MillerHeaven or hellThe Bible
ConfucianismThe symbol of ConfucianismA world religion8,3. A collection of ethical and moral teachingsAtheistChinese religionChina-551 to 479 BCEBy ConfuciusNone
Dami XuanjiaoA millenarian cult based on the belief that Jesus would return to judge survivors in 1999. Suspected of being on the verge of mass suicide after predictions of the end of the world failed in year 2000TheistChristianitySouth Korea1980s CEYes
deismA form of belief, rather than a specific system. Belief in a single creator god who is not "personal" and does not have human emotions, and which many believers say does not interact with the worldMonotheisttheismPrehistoric/universalprehistoricNot definedNone
Divine LightmissionA self-help religious group involving meditation, with few fixed beliefsHard to tellHinduismIndia1960 CEIndian guru Shri Hans Ju MaharajNone
DruidismCeltic religion in prehistoric England. Modern reconstructed Druidism is part of the neo-pagan range of religionsNot known/polytheistPrehistoricUKprehistoricReincarnationNone
DruzeA semi-secretive esoteric religion with features of a Mystery ReligionMonotheistIslamEgypt11th centuryQur'an, Rasa'il al-hikma (Epistles of Wisdom)
dualismA form of belief, rather than a specific system. Belief that either (1) There is a good and evil god of equal, or almost-equal power, or (2) there are two gods, such as a male and female oneDualistNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalNot definedMultifaceted
Ebionites1st century Jewish Christians, possibly the earliest form of Christianity to existMonotheistJudaismJudea (now Israel)1st centuryEarly version of the Gospel of Matthew
EckankarThe symbol of EckankarNew Age religion, a mix of Sant Mat, Theosophy and ScientologyMonotheistNew AgeUSA1965 CEBy Paul TwitchellReincarnation until escapeShariyat-Ki-Sugmad9
GnosticismThe belief that we must escape from this world, which was created and is ruled by an inferior and unworthy god, and reunite with the true godPolytheistPrehistoricGreeceprehistoric (1st century?)Multifaceted
Hare KrishnaThe embracing of Krishna through correct living, honesty, spiritual life and austerityPolytheistHinduismUSA1966 CEBy A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami PrabhupadaReincarnation until escapeVarious Indian scriptures
HeathenismModern uptake of Nordic religion. Part of the neo-pagan range of religionsPolytheistAsatruScandinaviaNone
Heaven's GateThe symbol of ChristianityApocalyptic suicide cult who combined Biblical eschatology with New Age and ideas about UFOs. All 39 members committed suicide in San Diego, USA in 1997TheistChristianity and New AgeUSA1970s CEMarshall Applewhite and Bonnie NettlesYes
HinduismThe symbol of HinduismA world religion2,3. Cultural religion of India which was historically decentralized and disparate and not a single belief system. Western influence made it into a single religion, an identity which Hindus now acceptPolytheistPrehistoricIndiaprehistoricReincarnation until escapeMultifaceted
Hookers For Jesus / The Family Of GodThe symbol of ChristianitySexually promiscuous group who fell foul of police suspicion. As is often the case, increasing pressure from outside resulted in the group retreating even further into insanity, and they became The Family, predicting the end of the worldTheistChristianityUSA1968 CEDavid BergHeaven or hellThe Bible
HumanismAn organized form of atheism where moral and ethical goodness is emphasizedAtheistThe enlightenmentEuropeThe EnlightenmentEnlightenment thinkersNoneNone
IslamThe symbol of IslamA world religion2,3. Strict monotheism taught by Muhammad, the world's 2nd largest religionMonotheistJudaismSaudi Arabia0610 CEBy MuhammadHeaven or hellQur'an and Hadiths
JainismThe symbol of JainismA world religion2,3. Beliefs include non-violence and equality of all living thingsAtheistPrehistoricIndiaprehistoricReincarnation until escapeMultifaceted
Jedi KnightsA campaign saw many put this down as their religion on the UK census in 2001. Midichlorians exist in all living beings, which create a 'living force' that can be interacted withAnimistScience fictionUK2001 CECampaign for UK CensusSelect fewNone
Jehovah's WitnessesThe symbol of ChristianityA 140-year-old Christian fundamentalist/literalist organisation famous for preaching that the world is about to end (nowadays - because of the existence of the United Nations)MonotheistChristianityUSA1870s CEBy Charles Taze RussellOtherThe Bible
JudaismThe symbol of JudaismA world religion2,3. Organized Judaism emerged from Babylonian writings. Belief that God has a special contract with a Hebrew tribe, involving many specific rules of behaviourMonotheistPrehistoricBabylon (mostly - now Iraq) and Israel1st millennium BCECombination of prehistoric practices which became organized in BabylonYesTanakh and Talmud
MennoniteThe symbol of ChristianityA Protestant Christian denominationMonotheistChristianityCentral EuropeHeaven or hellThe Bible
MithraismRoman mystery religion that believed that the Son of the Sun was a saviour who was sacrificed for the good of allMonotheistRoman mystery religionsGreece-50 BCE to 50 CE BCEYesNot known
monotheismA form of belief, rather than a specific system. Belief in a single creator godTheistNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalNot definedMultifaceted
MysticismThe belief that God is unknowable but accessible, and that doctrinal religion hampers spiritual growthNot definedNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalprehistoricNot definedMultifaceted
Native American ChurchBeliefs vary from tribe to tribe and are sometimes noticeably ChristianMonotheistThe Peyote religionMexico1880s CEBy Quanah ParkerNone
New AgeA disparate and diverse collection of popular beliefs and practicesNot definedCountercultureThe West1850s CEPopular beliefs from the 1850s, attaining identification in the 1960sOtherNone
no religionA form of belief, rather than a specific system. The rise secularisation has seen public and private religion decline throughout the developed worldNot definedNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalNot definedNone
occultismA form of belief, rather than a specific system. Normally existing within other belief systems, occult systems concentrate on esoteric meanings in texts, often with magical undertonesNot definedCounterculturePrehistoric/universalNot definedMultifaceted
Order Of The Solar TempleApocalyptic suicide cult, with mass suicides in Switzerland, France and Quebec, in preparation for Jesus' second comingTheistChristianity and New AgeFrance1984 CEJoseph Di Mambro & Luc JouretYesThe Bible and other
PaganismPart of the neo-pagan range of religionsPolytheistCountercultureThe West19th centuryRomantic revival of interest in Celtic, Greek and pre-Christian spiritualitiesYesNone
pantheismA form of belief, rather than a specific system. God is everywhere, and everything, but is not transcendent and may have no distinct consciousnessMonotheistNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalprehistoricNone
PastafarianismA parody religion based on worship of the Flying Spaghetti MonsterMonotheistParodyUSA2005 CEBy Bobby HendersonHeaven or hellGospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
People's TempleThe symbol of ChristianityApocalyptic suicide cult that imploded, resulting in the deaths of over 600 adults and 276 childrenTheistChristianityUSA1960s CERev. James (Jim) Warren JonesHeaven or hellThe Bible
polytheismA form of belief, rather than a specific system. Belief in multiple gods, often in some form of hierarchyTheistNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalNot definedMultifaceted
Raja YogaAn astika school of Hindu philosophy based around mastering and quieting the mind, involving meditationPolytheistHinduismIndiaThe Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
RastafarianThe symbol of ChristianityGod (called Jah) fathered a black Jesus; marijuana use in ritualsMonotheistChristianityJamaica1930s CEThe Bible (generally)
RavidassiaSouls are part of the divine and proper living allows us to realize GodMonotheistHinduism and SikhismIndia14th centuryBy the guru RavidassAmritbani Guru Ravidass Ji
Salvation ArmyThe symbol of ChristianityChristian organisation of evangelists organised along military lines, famous for charity workMonotheistChristianity (Methodist)UK1865 CEBy Methodist minister William BoothHeaven or hellThe Bible
SanteríaA combination of West African, Caribbean beliefs with some elements of Roman CatholicismMonotheistChristianity and West African spiritualityCubaNone
SatanismAn atheist religion that uses dark and evil symbology for self-development and anti-religious purposes - Satan itself is not a real being, just a symbolAtheistAtheismUSA1966 CEBy Anton LaveyNoneWritings of founder and leaders
ScientologyDerived from the writings of science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, a series of practices called Dianetics is used to clear minds of alien influences and attain a state of mental perfectionAtheistScience fictionUSA1952 CEBy L. Ron HubbardReincarnationWritings of founder and leaders
ShamanismBelief that Shamans need to keep good relations with tribal ancestor spirits for the good fortune of the whole tribeNot definedNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalprehistoricYesNone
ShintoThe symbol of ShintoA world religion2,3. Official collection of practices in Japan, more cultural than religiousAtheistJapanese cultureJapan3rd century BCEGradually formedVarious
SikhismThe symbol of SikhismA world religion"Religions of the World" by Breuilly, O'Brien & Palmer (1997)2,3. Prayer, meditation and self control to become a soldier of GodMonotheistHinduismIndia15th centuryBy Guru NanakReincarnation until escapeSri Guru Granth Sahib and others
SpiritualismThe belief that the souls of the dead communicate with the living, mostly through Mediums, but, suffered serious credibility problems with the original founders admitted to fraudulently inventing the 'rappings' that formed the communicationsNot definedChristianity and New AgeUSA1848 CEBy fraudsters Kate and Margaret FoxYesNone
sun worshipA simple icon representing the sunA form of belief, rather than a specific system. The basis of much symbology used in many subsequent religionsNot definedPrehistoricUniversalprehistoricNot definedNone
Taoism A world religion2,3. A relaxed and peaceful religion based on following and accepting the flow of lifeAtheistChinese philosophyChina3rd century BCE10Based on teachings attributed to Lao TzuNoneTao Te Ching
theismA form of belief, rather than a specific system. The belief in god(s)Natural thoughtPrehistoric/universalprehistoricMultifaceted
ThelemaA magical system of discerning True Will with inspiration from a host of Egyptian godsPolytheistOccultismUK1904 CEBy Aleister CrowleyBook of the Law
TheosophyMired in fraud arrests and exposés, the Spiritualism scene had soured, so Madame Blavatsky reinvented her routine as a new religion, using an Indian themeSpiritualism and Westernized Indian spiritualityUSA1875 CEBy Madame BlavatskyYes
Traditional African ChurchA range of Churches ranging from mostly Christian, to those mostly encapsulating native African spiritualityMonotheistChristianity and African cultureAfricaThe Bible
Unification ChurchSun Myung Moon embodied the Second Coming of Christ, and his commercialist church runs a media empireMonotheistChristianitySouth Korea1954 CEBy Sun Myung MoonHeaven or hellThe Bible and The Exposition of the Divine Principle
UnitarianismA liberal and non-Trinitarian Christian churchMonotheistChristianityPoland, Lithuania, Hungary16th centuryHeavenThe Bible
Unitarian-universalismThe symbol of Unitarian UniversalismA liberal and diverse pluralist religion accepting of believers without needing them to leave their current religionsNot definedChristianityUSA19th centuryHeavenMultifaceted
Unitas FratrumThe symbol of ChristianityA Protestant Christian denominationMonotheistChristianity (Protestant)Bohemia (now Czech Republic)1457 CEHeaven or hellThe Bible
universalismA form of belief, rather than a specific system. Belief that all people go to heavenTheistNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalHeavenMultifaceted
VoodooA traditional religion from Haiti with an ethical focus on combating greed and promoting honourDeistAfrican traditional theologyAfricaprehistoricNone
WiccaNeo-pagan organisation based around reconstructed elements of folkloreDualistCountercultureUK1954 CEBy Gerald GardnerNot definedNone
WitchcraftA description of various cultural practices, which are often part of a parent belief systemNot definedNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalNot definedMultifaceted
YezidismAn ancient religion. Malek Taus looks after the world with 6 other angels. Heavily persecuted by Muslims and accused of Devil WorshipMonotheistZoroastrianism and ancient Mesopotamian cultureAssyria (now Iraq)12th centuryBy Abi ibn MusafirReincarnationYezidi Book of Revelation & Black Book
Zhu Shen JiaoAs this group got more and more excited about establishing a Kingdom of God, in the approach to year 2000, its leaders were arrested amid fears that it would turn into a suicide cultTheistThe ShoutersChina1993 CEYes
ZoroastrianismA world religion3. An ancient dualistic religion from Iran with one good god (Ahura Mazda) and one evil one (Ahriman)DualistPrehistoricPersia (now Iran)before 5th century BCEBy ZoroasterAvesta

Current edition: 2013 May 25
Last Modified: 2017 Jan 05
http://www.humanreligions.info/religions.html
Parent page: Human Religions

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References: (What's this?)

Breuilly, O'Brien & Palmer
(1997) Religions of the World. Hardback book. Subtitled: "The Illustrated Guide to Origins, Beliefs, Traditions, & Festivals". Published by Lionheart Books. By Elizabeth Breuilly, Joanne O'Brien & Martin Palmer. Published for Transedition Limited and Fernleigh Books.

Eckankar
(1995) Eckankar: Ancient Wisdom for Today. Paperback book. Subtitled: "How past lives, dreams, and Soul Travel help you find God". Originally published 1993 (I think). Current version published by ECKANKAR, Minneapolis, USA.

Momen, Moojan
(1999) The Phenomenon Of Religion: A Thematic Approach. Paperback book. Published by Oneworld Publications, Oxford, UK. Book Review.

Murray et al.
(2009) Hammond Atlas of World Religions. Hardback book. Published by Hammond World Atlas Corporation, Langenscheidt Publishing Group, New York, USA. Contributing authors: Stuart A.P. Murray; Robert Huber; Elizabeth Mechem; Sarah Novak; Devid West Reynolds, PhD; Tricia Wright; Thomas Cussans.

Footnotes

  1. Breuilly, O'Brien & Palmer (1997) chapter "Introduction" p6. Added to this page on 2014 Dec 19.^
  2. Breuilly, O'Brien & Palmer (1997) listed amongst 10 world religions, devoting a chapter to each.^
  3. Murray et al. (2009) p.v listed amongst 12 current world religions.^
  4. Breuilly, O'Brien & Palmer (1997) chapter "Introduction" p10,150-153.^
  5. Momen (1999) chapter 13 "Religion and Ethics" p346 . Calls Buddhism a religion in many places, the page given here is just example.^
  6. Breuilly, O'Brien & Palmer (1997) chapter 2 "Christianity" p43.^
  7. "Types of Christianity in History: Who Were the First Christians?" by Vexen Crabtree (2003)^
  8. Breuilly, O'Brien & Palmer (1997) lists Confucianism as part of Taoism.^
  9. Eckankar (1995) p4.^
  10. Momen (1999) chapter 2 "Religion East and West" p44.^

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