This document is divided into the following sections:

Further details and sources are available below and in the  main database.

Browse our interactive catalog.

The list was created by the same people who collected and organized this database, in consultation with university professors of comparative religions and scholars from different religions.

A major source for these estimates is the detailed country-by-country analysis done by David B.

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In January 1999 Tenrikyo published country-by-country statistics showing nearly 1,000 churches or mission stations outside of Japan (in over 30 different countries), and over 37,000 in Japan.

But this list accounts for the religions of over 98% of the world's population.

The systematic study of science and religion started in the 1960s,with authors such as Ian Barbour (1966) and Thomas F. Torrance (1969)who challenged the prevailing view that science and religion wereeither at war or indifferent to each other. Barbour’s Issuesin Science and Religion (1966) set out several enduring themes ofthe field, including a comparison of methodology and theory in bothfields. Zygon, the first specialist journal on science andreligion, was also founded in 1966. While the early study of scienceand religion focused on methodological issues, authors from the late1980s to the 2000s developed contextual approaches, including detailedhistorical examinations of the relationship between science andreligion (e.g., Brooke 1991). Peter Harrison (1998) challenged thewarfare model by arguing that Protestant theological conceptions ofnature and humanity helped to give rise to science in theseventeenth century. Peter Bowler (2001, 2009) drew attention to abroad movement of liberal Christians and evolutionists in thenineteenth and twentieth centuries who aimed to reconcileevolutionary theory with religious belief.

This world religions listing is derived from the statistics data in the  database.


Blyden, Liberian writer and thinker.

On the other hand, there are no countries in which people are automatically assigned to the Baha'i Faith at birth (as is the case with Islam, Christianity, Shinto, Buddhism, and other faiths), so their numbers aren't inflated with people who have never willingly participated in or been influenced by the religion while adults.

Islamic rulers expanded north as well as south.

There are valid arguments that some of the "mass conversions" have resulted in adherents with little or no acculturation into the new religious system.

By the 1880's, Islam had taken root in one third of the continent.



As with most religious groups, organizationally reported adherent counts include significant numbers of nominal members, or people who no longer actively participate, yet still identify themselves as adherents.

But only one can be used in making a ranked list.

The Baha'i community is remarkably active and influential in religious matters on both global and local levels, especially given their relatively small numbers compared to some other religions.

The diversity within these groupings varies.




: At least 98% of the adherents of the Babi & Baha'i faiths belong to the same church/denomination/religious body, the Baha'i World Faith (or simply "Baha'i Faith") with headquarters in Haifa, Israel.

How is classification done for official government figures?




: Shinto is one of the "classic" eleven or twelve "major world religions." But adherent counts for this religion are problematic and often misunderstood.