A List of All Religions and Belief Systems

79 entries are listed here. It is simply impossible to list all varieties of religion1. Items in lower case 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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Origins & Background
Heritage
Area of Origin
Founder

Description
Description
God(s)?
Afterlife
Holy Texts

DescriptionGod(s)?HeritageArea of OriginFounderAfterlife?Holy Texts?
agnosticismBelief 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
AmishPeaceful Christian fundamentalist group famous for its rejection of technology and strict adherence to OT and NT lawsMonotheistChristianitySwitzerlandJakob Ammann and his followers split from the Anabaptists in 1693CEHeaven or hellThe Bible
ancestor worshipBelief that good relations need to be kept with tribal ancestor spirits. Often a form of ShamanismNot definedNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalYesNone
animismThe belief that all objects contain spirits. More a traditional form of belief that a "religion" in the Western senseNot definedNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalNot definedNone
AsatrúA modern uptake of Nordic religionPolytheistScandinavian folkloreIceland1972CEOtherNone
atheismEither (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/universalNot 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 religionJapanShoko Asahara, 1984CEYesThe Bible and other
Bahá'í FaithBelief 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 IranMonotheistIslamIranBy Bahá'u'lláh in 1863CEYesWritings of founder and leaders
Brahma KumariThis group are preparing to rule the world after a coming apocalypse, and embrace many practices which are now called New AgeMonotheistHinduismIndiaLekhraj Kripalani (called Brahma Baba), 1930sWritings of founder and leaders
Branch DavidiansApocalyptic suicide cult famed for its dramatic armed fight against authorities in the town of Waco, USA, in 1993TheistChristianityUSABenjamin Roden, 1930CEHeaven or hellThe Bible
BuddhismThe belief that meditation and good living can break the cycle of reincarnation and result in enlightenmentAtheistHinduismIndiaTraditions based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, 1st millennium BCEReincarnation 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 BuddhismTaiwanBy Hon Ming Chen, 1996CEYes
Chinese religionA varied cultural religion practiced traditionally on a town-by-town and region-by-region basisAtheistPrehistoricChinaPrehistoricReincarnation until escapeNone
ChristadelphiansBible-based ChristianityMonotheistChristianityUSABy Dr John Thomas in the late 1840sHeaven or hellThe Bible
Christian Apostolic Church in ZionFundamentalist Anti-science flat-earth Christian cult, who also predicted the End of the World would occur 4 different timesTheistChristianityUSAJohn Alexander Dowie, 1895CEHeaven or hellThe Bible
ChristianityBelief that a single creator god had a son, Jesus Christ, born to a human mother, and that Jesus' crucifixion by the Romans brings salvationMonotheistJudaism and paganism; see Types of Christianity in History: Who Were the First Christians?Roman EmpireMultiple Hebrew and Greek sources. St Paul. 1st-3rd centuryCEHeaven or hellThe Bible
Concerned ChristiansFundamentalist 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 themselvesTheistChristianityUSAMonte Kim Miller, early 1980sHeaven or hellThe Bible
ConfucianismA collection of ethical and moral teachingsAtheistChinese religionChinaBy Confucius (551479BCENone
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 Korea1980sYes
deism 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/universalNot definedNone
Divine LightmissionA self-help religious group involving meditation, with few fixed beliefsHard to tellHinduismIndiaIndian guru Shri Hans Ju Maharaj, in 1960CENone
DruidismCeltic religion in prehistoric England, famous for building Stonehenge. Modern reconstructed Druidism is part of the neo-pagan range of religionsNot knownPrehistoricUKPrehistoricNot knownNone
DruzeA semi-secretive esoteric religion with features of a Mystery ReligionMonotheistIslamEgypt11th CenturyQur'an, Rasa'il al-hikma (Epistles of Wisdom)
dualismBelief 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
EckankarNew Age religion, a mix of Sant Mat, Theosophy and ScientologyMonotheistNew AgeUSABy Paul Twitchell in 1965Reincarnation until escapeShariyat-Ki-Sugmad2
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 austerityPolytheistHinduismUSABy A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966CEReincarnation until escapeVarious Indian scriptures
HeathenismModern uptake of Nordic religion. Part of the neo-pagan range of religionsPolytheistAsatruScandinaviaNone
Heaven's GateApocalyptic 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 AgeUSAMarshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles, 1970sYes
Hinduism 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 accept.PolytheistPrehistoricIndiaPrehistoricReincarnation until escapeMultifaceted
Hookers for Jesus / The Family of GodSexually 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 worldTheistChristianityUSADavid Berg, 1968CEHeaven or hellThe Bible
HumanismAn organized form of atheism where moral and ethical goodness is emphasizedAtheistThe enlightenmentEuropePrehistoricNoneNone
IslamStrict monotheism taught by Muhammad, the world's 2nd largest religionMonotheistJudaismSaudi ArabiaBy Muhammad in 610CEHeaven or hellQur'an and Hadiths
JainBeliefs 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 fictionUKCampaign for UK Census 2001Select fewNone
Jehovah's WitnessesA 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)MonotheistChristianityUSABy Charles Taze Russell in the 1870sOtherThe Bible
JudaismOrganized 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 IsraelCombination of prehistoric practices which became organized in BabylonYesTanakh and Talmud
MennoniteA 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 religionsGreeceUnclear, around 1CE ±. 50 yearsYesNot known
monotheismBelief 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/universalNot definedMultifaceted
Native American ChurchBeliefs vary from tribe to tribe and are sometimes noticeably ChristianMonotheistThe Peyote religionMexicoBy Quanah Parker from the 1880sNone
New AgeA disparate and diverse collection of popular beliefs and practicesNot definedCountercultureThe WestPopular beliefs from the 1850s, attaining identification in the 1960sOtherNone
no religionThe rise secularisation has seen public and private religion decline throughout the developed worldNot definedNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalNot definedNone
occultismNormally 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 AgeFranceJoseph Di Mambro & Luc Jouret, 1984CEYesThe Bible and other
PaganismPart of the neo-pagan range of religionsPolytheistCountercultureThe West19th Century romantic revival of interest in Celtic, Greek and pre-Christian spiritualitiesYesNone
pantheismGod is everywhere, and everything, but is not transcendent and may have no distinct consciousnessMonotheistNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalNone
People's TempleApocalyptic suicide cult that imploded, resulting in the deaths of over 600 adults and 276 childrenTheistChristianityUSARev. James (Jim) Warren Jones, 1960sHeaven or hellThe Bible
polytheismBelief 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
RastafarianGod (called Jah) fathered a black Jesus; marijuana use in ritualsMonotheistChristianityJamaica1930sThe Bible (generally)
RavidassiaSouls are part of the divine and proper living allows us to realize GodMonotheistHinduism and SikhismIndiaBy the guru Ravidass, 14th centuryAmritbani Guru Ravidass Ji
Salvation ArmyChristian organisation of evangelists organised along military lines, famous for charity workMonotheistChristianity (Methodist)UKBy Methodist minister William Booth in 1865CEHeaven 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 symbol.AtheistAtheismUSABy Anton Lavey in 1966CENoneWritings 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 fictionUSABy L. Ron Hubbard in 1952CEReincarnationWritings 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/universalYesNone
ShintoOfficial collection of practices in Japan, more cultural than religiousAtheistJapanese cultureJapanGradually formed from 300BCE to 400CEVarious
SikhismPrayer, meditation and self control to become a soldier of God.MonotheistHinduismIndiaBy Guru Nanak in the 15th centuryReincarnation 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 AgeUSABy fraudsters Kate and Margaret Fox, 1848CEYesNone
TaoismA relaxed and peaceful religion based on following and accepting the flow of lifeAtheistChinese philosophyChinaBased on teachings attributed to Lao Tzu, 4th century BCENoneTao Te Ching
theismThe belief in god(s)Natural thoughtPrehistoric/universalMultifaceted
ThelemaA magical system of discerning True Will with inspiration from a host of Egyptian godsPolytheistOccultismUKBook of the Law written by Aleister Crowley in 1904; member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden DawnBook 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 theme.Spiritualism and Westernized Indian spiritualityUSABy Madame Blavatsky in 1875Yes
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 KoreaBy Sun Myung Moon in 1954CEHeaven or hellThe Bible and The Exposition of the Divine Principle
UnitarianismA liberal and non-Trinitarian Christian churchMonotheistChristianityPoland, Lithuania, Hungary16th century EuropeThe Bible
Unitarian-UniversalismA liberal and diverse pluralist religion accepting of believers without needing them to leave their current religionsNot definedChristianityUSA19th CenturyHeaven or hellMultifaceted
Unitas FratrumA Protestant Christian denominationMonotheistChristianity (Protestant)Bohemia (now Czech Republic)1457CEHeaven or hellThe Bible
UniversalismBelief that all people go to heavenTheistNatural thoughtPrehistoric/universalHeaven or hellMultifaceted
Voodoo A traditional religion from Haiti with an ethical focus on combating greed and promoting honourDeistAfrican traditional theologyAfricaPrehistoricNone
WiccaNeo-pagan organisation based around reconstructed elements of folkloreDualistCountercultureUKBy Gerald Gardner in 1954CENot 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 Worship.MonotheistZoroastrianism and ancient Mesopotamian cultureAssyria (now Iraq)Abi ibn Musafir (died 1162CE)ReincarnationYezidi 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 ShoutersChina1993Yes
ZoroastrianismAn ancient dualistic religion from Iran with one good god (Ahura Mazda) and one evil one (Ahriman)DualistPrehistoricPersia (now Iran)By Zoroaster, before 5th Century BCEAvesta

By Vexen Crabtree 2013 May 25
(Last Modified: 2014 Dec 19)
http://www.humanreligions.info/religions.html
Parent page: Human Religions

References: (What's this?)

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

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

Footnotes

  1. Breuilly, O'Brien & Palmer (1997) Introduction p6. Added to this page on 2014 Dec 19.^
  2. Eckankar (1995) p4.^

© 2016 Vexen Crabtree. All rights reserved.