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A demographic breakdown of the world of #religion
With the "world's largest" gathering of atheists this weekend in Washington, D.C., the National Post's graphics department takes a look at how the world's religions break down.
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Bruce Webb's profile photoNazrul Islam's profile photoMike Ritter's profile photoJon Charles Gore's profile photo
126 comments
 
12.5 million is a good start. ;)
 
I wish Google+ would add a profile attribute for religion. It would be interesting. Facebook has one...

They also forgot the Flying Spaghetti Monster Pastafarians.
 
Figures for Latter-day Saints are slightly outdated. As of December 31, 2011, church membership was 14,441,346, not 12,500,000. Though this is names on record, not necessarily frequent attendance. Seeing as Mormonism generally enjoys a higher rate of religiosity and participation among its members than other branches of mainstream Christianity, however, this probably shouldn't be too concerning.
 
+Stephen Mortensen Maybe they're not counting the dead converts forced to be Mormons through some sort of delusional post-mortem religious acceptance ceremony?
 
I like when complex data is presented in such a comprehensible format.

I am somewhat surprised to see the United States listed as Less religious. If this is accurate why is there a debate over the validity of Evolution?

What if you believe in God but also believe that government institutions should be separate or free from the influence or intervention of religious institutions and authorities? Is that group too small to mention?

+Stephen Mortensen It says All the people in the world 2003 est. so this data is probably nine years old.
 
This was obviously written by a secular ("praised for bringing people together"), so it's no surprise that a few corrections wouldn't go amiss. Jehovah's Witnesses aren't actually Christian, as they don't believe in the Trinity. The Trinity is one of the few fundamental tenets of Christianity, and is in fact listed as part of the definition provided here. Their religion is based off of the teachings of Christianity and the Bible, but it's divided by this issue.
 
+Jonathan Langdale: For the record, Mormon doctrine in no way teaches that people are forced into a religion through the practice of baptism by proxy.
 
+kevin Johnson: I am aware of what he was referring to. I just wanted to clarify. Christians believe Jesus died to atone for everybody in the world: they don't believe that means everyone is forced to be Christian. Likewise, in the LDS faith, so-called "baptism for the dead" does not force a deceased soul to become Mormon.
 
+James Jensen Jews don’t believe that Jesus died for our sins. They have the right to not be baptized; in life or in death.
 
+James Jensen, I'll just add that the doctrine of proxy baptisms, if we are accepting the principle that one MUST be baptized if they are to attain salvation, only offers the opportunity to those deceased souls who choose to accept it. Agency, or free will, is a critical part of the LDS understanding of God's plan for His children (us), and thus, if God works the way I understand Him to, would never be forcefully removed from anyone.

Some, of course, might argue that religion inherently deprives its adherents of their free will in some form. I personally disagree, but allow anyone the same privilege of following the dictates of their own conscience.
 
I'd die if I was near that many atheists
 
Here goes the bottom line!! Religions were made (BY MAN) to SEPARATE the People/Childern of GOD!! Scriptures (OLD TEST, New test,Koran etc...) and religions are two totally different things! The Old Te stamen/ TORAH are the Laws of the Land! The new Test./Jesus/the IAM ALL of US! Treat your neighbor as you would yourself! Is The example of how we should ALL act while KEEPING GODS LAWS(DIVINE LAWS) TORAH! NOT MAN MADE LAWS! WHEN WILL THE MASSES WAKE UP???
 
Even the Muslims or Whoever reads the Koran were ALL Suppose to be lead to The TORAH (SURA 23) but due to greedy religions the Meccas made them all bow down to a rock! 2012 the age of enlightment! Not one jot or one title!
 
i'd love to be near that many atheists
 
Baptism is not a MUST to attain salvation. Baptism is the outward sign that one has received The Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Baptism is immergence in water, and not a sprinkling, as some are taught. The thief on the Cross next to Christ, was not baptized, BUT, Jesus told him "This day you will be with me in paradise.
 
When will YOU learn how to WRITE?!
 
Here we go! WHY do we have to argue over RELIGION?! WHY is the human race so damn MORONIC?!

Instead of attacking one another, let's TRY to PEACEFULLY examine SIMILARITIES and look for ways to TRULY get along with one another?!
 
Lindsey - That would have to be a mighty group of non believers, or your life-force is mighty weak. Be not afraid, your life is safe, the non believers will, at worst, point fingers and giggle at you.
 
+Lindsey Geisz Why would you say something like that? The rally was a really good time.

Don't kid yourself. You probably know a few atheists or nonreligious people who just aren't open about it with you because of such unsubstantiated stigmas. We're just the same as anybody else, except that we choose not to believe in things for which there is no evidence.
 
I never argue over religion. I say what God wants me to say, then I am finished.
 
Am I the only person who looks at the diversity of religions (or lack of religion) briefly skated over in that infographic who thinks that the variety of forms of life, holidays, traditions, stories, and attempts to make meaning out of life is in itself somewhat beautiful, and not a thing to fight over?
 
Organized atheists are just as ignorant as organized theists. People who can't think for themselves shouldn't talk like they can.
 
Well too bad i can't see the picture properly in my phone!
I don't have any problem with religion as long as they don't try to impose their theology on me and convert me to a christian.
 
I AGREE! So long as we learn how to SHARE our beliefs with those who are WILLING to learn, we'll all be fine. The problem arises when we try to FORCE our beliefs on others...

So long as you're a GOOD PERSON, I couldn't give THREE SHITS WHAT YOU ARE!
 
At the end of our lives, we're judged based on how much EFFORT we put into LEADING GOOD LIVES... period and end of story! Yes, I believe that even Atheists and Agnostics can attain Heaven!
 
This is probably the largest social network ever...!
 
We knew there were going to be arguments about the numbers.
 
Wrong T.J. Sorry but only through confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior, will we obtain entrance into His Kingdom. See John 14:6
 
Dears,
If you have same experiences of thought please let us share!

I was born in a traditional Muslim family. When I became 18 year old, I started thinking about my being. Who am I? Who created me? Why he created me in this world? Why I become a son to these parents? Why I should live the life? Why I should die? What is the intention behind this creation? Lot of questions I had.

Then I started searching for the replies, i.e. explanation from science, from religions, from atheists, from nihilists and from isms.
I understood that science giving me a good explanation on what it knows with proves. What it doesn’t know, it assumes. Most of the assumptions, I found it vague and difficult to digest including Darwin’s theory of evolution.
I turned to atheists. I read lot of books written by them. But instead of explaining their stances they are seemingly more interested to attack religions. So I couldn’t get what is their stance and was not able to digest the theory of ‘No God’.
I turned to isms, especially to communism as a way of life. The theories are seemingly very good with an unpredictable practical side. But the values they put forward are taken from religion only.
I turned to religions again. I learnt a lot, lot of confusions and lot of problems. But some where I could find out replies and solutions to the problems and right answers to my questions.
Now I live very happy practical life with a saint inside my heart. Really a happy life. Now I have replies for all your questions. But my own….
 
Interesting that secular is a primary bubble, and also a sub-division of Judaism but not of any other "primary" religion.

No doubt some will make points for not listing Mormonism or LDS as off-branches of Christianity; also missing (not large sects, but perhaps close to Quaker in number) are the anabaptist traditions (Amish, Mennonite, etc.)
 
Annoying that they write being "secular" as a belief
 
+Joseph Topo, unfortunately many religions act like dangerous memes that cause violent chauvinism in the minds of those they have infected. I'm all for a diversity of belief, provided the beliefs play nice with others.
 
More diversity is best if people are open minded. When people feel like joining a group and organizing, that's when things go wrong.

Groups should only form when they truly have a common purpose that doesn't affect other's, like voting rights, equality, etc.

Grouping together to tell other people what to do, what to think, how to vote, is pretty crappy. 
 
Jehovahs' Witness' (considered a cult and not recognized by the "Worlds' counsel of Churches" ) saw that coming looooong (the breakdown of the worlds' religions)before... This just proves that we are in the last days, so you may ask yourselves: AM I READY?
 
@ Morten,
Secularism becoming a religion, when one think that he has to slaughter his religious values for the sake of Secularism. I have seen a lot secular fascists.
 
This is all very amusing, sense god was created by man's ego.
 
No data about how religious the people of China !!!

alongwith only greenland and north korea and some african countries
 
+Steve Boyd No, you say what YOU want to say and tell yourself it's god talking through you when it's been you all along. God exists in your mind and nowhere else. I could say "I only say what the aliens make me say and then I'm done" but that would be just crazy now wouldn't it? But when you say it, it makes perfect sense? And people wonder why there are so many atheists!
 
why a pope or imam or any religious authority should decide how connect with God, if there is a GOD
 
+Ryan O'Connor I don't get the "organized atheists and theists" comment. Does organization equal ignorance in your mind? Is that what you meant? Explain please.
 
agree +Ryan O'Connor ....cant agree more... a matter of belief in God is between the man and his idea of God...its personal... you can discuss your idea with someone els who has a different idea, but you are not supposed to formulate doctrines, organize communities and eventually kill for your idea
 
Religion is the reason why we have no peace in the world
 
what does a large gathering of atheists talk about???? or do? do they rant on how much fun it is to say there is no god?? or sing songs about how evolution is true or something?
 
The way I approached ‘universal secrets’ is like this: First, make sure that there is a God for this universe or not. Here were atheists fail. It is easy to believe that there is one God behind it than believing there is no God.

Secondly, if there is a God, does he interact with human being? If so, who can bring the right amount of description about these interactions?
Thirdly, if he interacts, what is the content of that interactions and what he wants from us?
 
This is not a correct graph at all. At least numericly speaking. There has never been 14 million Jehoavh's Witnesses. As of 2011 there was 7.2 million.
 
I will die with hope that death is not the end. Atheist dies with no hope. I don't see a point of having lived and 'turned off the lights' with no 'Hope'
 
S Lo, I hope you're not implying that evolution and religion are mutually exclusive. I am an atheist, but I know many people who aren't who believe science is still science.
 
"my immaculate dream....who do you need, who do you love...when you come undone..."~~ Duran Duran
 
I wear a suit sometimes, Victoria
 
Atheists are biggest minority but fastest growing group of people.
 
I hope Google never puts in that religion option in the profile. It'd just be another stupid reason for people to segregate and instantly invalidate another person's idea, opinion, or even fact based observation. Look how good we have gotten along till the word religion creeped in here
 
from the mists of time ....even the most primitive tribe had religion
 
Wow +Victoria Rabelisoa That is pretty powerful statement but full of ignorance though. Matter to the fact Atheists are most knowledgeable about most other religions.
 
Yep but it a shame that religions are lead by the printed word, a crime that spits on the ever changing World we live in.
 
A means of knowing if a poster is religious in any way would be a useful means to reduce the posting stream.
 
All you people ever talk about is religion and science and politics and humanity and literature and love and nature and history and family and society and crime and the climate and right and wrong.
What about sports and celebrities - two very under appreciated topics that no-one ever discusses anymore?
I want to know who did what to whom and when and in what position. All you want to discuss is the human condition.
 
+Keith Hair Certainly not.. you are just different from organized religion believers...
 
Everyone is constraint to follow the religion in his/her lives.There are number of things e.g,idea of incestuous relationship,marriage etc. those are purely religious teachings and without them nobody even can think about the society.So it's up to us, whether to live as a follower of religion or slave of religion.
Slave of religion! So harsh terminology,but what should I use for those who are cursing/disapproving the religion and also practicing it simultaneously.
Please don't get hurt but think about it logically.
 
Atheism has become a sort of religion. Many atheists evangelize with religious zeal on their faithlessness, denying the existence of god with all those esoteric science fiction like the big bang theory. Gradually one can expect some form of atheistic rituals evolving, and even their own 'churches'.
 
Very interesting and informative! I would also be interested in a trend over the last decades!
 
Atheism has become a sort of religion. Many atheists evangelize with religious zeal on their faithlessness, denying the existence of god with all those esoteric science fiction like the big bang theory. Gradually one can expect some form of atheistic rituals evolving, and even their own 'churches'.

No, no, no, no, no, and finally, no.

Clearly you have missed the point of atheism +Joseph Antony.
 
My religion is the center of my life, has given me a purpose and encourages me to help people around me. Dont be fooled by people and clergy who exploit religion.

As for atheism, it is SO naive to deny God that it is not worth arguing.
 
This is cool - really puts it into perspective: What makes you think YOUR religion is the right one?
 
1.1 billion athiest/agnostic thats a massive number and to think that number will double in the next 10-20 years maybe sooner..... im proud of all the free thinkers today
 
+Josh Carr no it isnt but they added it in to compare to religions its more of a chart of theism not religion
 
Atheism doesn't mean you are a free thinker lol. 
 
+Keith Archie : Those who start any religions of atheism need to examine the definition more closely.
 
I'm a skeptical atheist, yet I think it´s not accurate to say that secularism and religiosity are mutually exclusive, so it seems that we non-believers are less than what the infography implies.
 
hmmm... (promise will read comments later;) hey, isn't a gathering of atheists an oxymoron? Unless it's a gathering of morons wanting to believe in something...?
 
there's more... but the graphic is really coool... didn't think believers were rounded in circles, unless either (or both, let's be logical) hell or heaven is circular (hmmm, like a recursive self-reference, cool!)
 
+Paul Navarrete . Did I say "My God", in the post. He IS the God of all those who believe and even those who deny him. By naive I mean, do the atheist really believe that every thing in this universe including seven billion different people are result of some random act. And there is no purpose in this world .
 
+Farooq Rathore circular.. you need god so you define religion, it defines god and god feeds you, you need religion, it.... get the point? the cool thing is that if you notice, the "need" moves along, constantly, recursively in a self referencing (granted a few deg. of separation).
+Paul Navarrete of course it is! why not? denial can also be a recursive self reference, just that god concept is replaced by "not god" concept, and you end up gathering like morons wanting something "not to believe in", what you think, too close too raw too much life-logic?
 
The universe and everything in it being the result of 'a random act' does not mean there is no purpose in this world. It just means we, as human beings, have to create and define our personal and common purposes from within ourselves. There is no supreme being that will define, create or fulfill our purposes but ourselves, let alone bring peace to the greatly (religiously) divided human race.
 
"being the result of 'a random act" +Erik Polderman you a theorist man, or just selling books? you should stop to smell the flowers, man. walking aimlessly will get you killed. that may be all the evidence you need;))
 
+Farooq Rathore so I take it from what you wrote that you do naively deny those other gods (again borrowing your phrasing).
 
+Rahmathulla Magribi That's probably the weakest argument for the existence of a god that I've ever seen. "It's easy to believe there is one, so there must be."

Maybe it's easy for you to believe, but it seems pretty fantastical to me that there's an all-powerful master of the universe who is interested in the petty problems of a specific species of animal occupying a tiny rock in a random corner of the universe. If you want me to believe that, then the burden of proof lies with you.

And before you come back with some other cockamamie explanation, here's a pre-emptive list of counterarguments: http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Arguments_for_the_existence_of_god#Favorite_arguments
 
+Luis Edgar Rocha i'd rather be a theorist than a religious zealot, i do not write or sell books and i'd rather smell flowers and have lived free than...... well i gues there is no point going on. To think for yourself is to question authority, even if it means questioning religion or Eric Cartman for that matter ;-)
 
+Luis Edgar Rocha I don't deny any gods, unless I also deny unicorns and goblins. I don't deny them because that implies there is some evidence for them. As far as a gathering goes, I support the efforts to show our numbers. Many people live lies because they fear telling their family and friends that they too are atheists. And I disagree with your repeated assertion that they were there just to not believe.
 
+Erik Polderman i stand corrected;) we may have more in common (evidentially) by smelling flowers than I may have imagined. freedom does have a self-defeating kinda logic...on that we agree too;)
 
+Paul Navarrete Ah! so atheism, for you, is an euphemism for fighting fear. I will say to you what i said to Erik;)) hey man, "you a theorist man"?
 
The basic problem here seems to be the fact that people are very fond of labelling themselves and others. Living without a label seems eerie and empty to them. I respect most people for labelling themselves and finding strength in that. Let's hope they find the strenght to respect the ones who chose to live without such external branding and see people for who and not for what they are.
 
AMEN to that, Erik!

Let me add something that I haven't yet been able to add to other comments:

Though I'm ROMAN CATHOLIC, and DO wholeheartedly believe in CHRIST and HIS teachings, I must say that the Catholic Church certainly DOES NOT "hold the corner market" on morality or anything else! Yes, the Gospel of John talks about "believing on the Lord Jesus" in order to be "saved", BUT who's to say to whom Salvation belongs?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall CHRIST condeming Islam, Buddhism or any other Faith that existed WELL BEFORE Christianity. ATHEISM, Agnosticism or Nihilism (to name a few) didn't even exist in Christ's days. Perhaps I grossly misunderstood prior commentaries, but I understood that, unless one is Christian, he or she cannot enter Heaven?! I don't think that's what GOD (or Allah, Jehovah or whatever you happen to call that "Being") meant at all.

The bottom line (for me, at least) is that we are ALL judged by HOW WE LIVED/TRIED TO LIVE; regardless how we believed! Grant it, a belief in CHRIST (from a Christian's perspective) would be ideal. HOWEVER, non-Christians or non-believers can do the SAME GOOD as any Christian; IF NOT BETTER!

I once read a wise expression that went something like this: "It's not the number of days we lived, BUT the QUALITY of those days!" Do we wish to die with a "pure heart" or a heart filled with contempt for those who don't believe as we? I think God would prefer the "pure heart".
 
+T.J Smoot thank you for showing that religious and non religious people can share the same point of view without trying to convert or call names. /hippie mode on: peace man! /hippie mode off
 
+Erik Polderman now you are accommodating;))

Hey +T.J Smoot you confused man? you said "I don't recall CHRIST condeming Islam, Buddhism or any other Faith that existed WELL BEFORE Christianity." you need a history lesson, man!!! that's what JC was ALL about! that's what happens when you read from one book only (catholic, know it well;) i suggest you read Roman history -33BC (yes BC!) So you know what a triumvirate is, gees man don't take it so personally, you give Roman a bad name;)
 
+Luis Edgar Rocha Islam was founded in 610 AD. Buddhism was founded in 460 BC. Christianity is the continuation of Judaism which was founded with God's covenant with Abraham (circa 2000 BC) or the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai around 3300 BC. Your dating issues show that YOU are the one who needs the history lesson...
 
+Luis Edgar Rocha I disagree with your summary of my views on the rally and don't get why you chose to apply it instead to my view of atheism in general. I you want to know how I view atheism, it is similar to my being a nonsmoker. I don't think about not smoking and I don't go outside to not smoke. The only reason the label exists is because others have chosen to engage in an activity while I haven't.
 
+S Lo I think singing songs about evolution makes considerably more sense than meeting every week to talk about an apparently invisible being for which we have no evidence and trying to figure out what it's thinking so we can make it happy. Talking about (or singing about) things which are proven vs things which clearly are not seems reasonable to me.
 
+Santhosh Lobo You don't need religion to have hope. That's your first misconception. Atheists can have as much hope as anybody. They just hope for things which can actually happen as opposed to potentially impossible things.
 
+S Lo details my friend, if they don't serve you, they're just details. I may be suffering from what i so recently inflicted on +Erik Polderman ;(( the "I don't recall..." quote was not mine, it was +T.J Smoot . ty for commenting. I will add, you left out one of my favourites.. Socrates.;))
 
I think we need a new word that says to the theist, atheist and agnostic alike...." i really don't care! ". I came here for the metaphorical flower (the graphic) and now i am debating misconceptions... that will learn me (sic) ;)) this debate is 5000 yr old!! I am done cheers.
 
And it will go on for another couple of months (according to maya-calender interpertists) or centuries to come, as long as we can't or will not look beyond the labels.
 
my 2 ¢ s,

Religion (like most other, much less influential stuff) should be looked at with perspective. Victims (first/second/third hand) of religion will either become atheists or researchers of how religion has only been an evil. Spectators/the "not_impacted_directly" will be indifferent or neutral. The real players/beneficiaries will be the advocates and/or benefactors. Thats how it has been since forever. But the existence of multiple religion is imperative and cannot be overstated in a rich and diverse society like ours.

History has it that the the oldest civilizations credit bigger part of the reason for there existence through time to religion/s they follow/ed. Of course like all other kinds of powers a colossus like religion too has the inherent ability to tempt and corrupt mere-mortals and it does it with extreme ease.
How people use religion to personal ends has less to do with religion and more with the individual creativity, much like the law and the lawyers (no offense to any corporate lawyers personally) Doesn't mean we should shut down the courts now does it? But you already knew that right!

So, lets be more positive, lets share knowledge, lets debate often and act on the outcome and the way we want things to be. Everything can be changed.

**or maybe its just me.
 
+Aay Kay Agree with you, I must. Hit the hot button on the head, you did. What you say is compleetly logical, and backed up by millennia of history.
 
+chris currence science cannot establish a universal negative--they can't say something doesn't exist merely because they haven't seen it--because science cannot establish universal negatives, science cannot disprove anything. It is possible that God will be discovered by science in the near future, and you will have to eat your words. no hard feelings though!
 
+S Lo That's not an accurate statement. The whole point of experimentation is to prove or disprove hypotheses.

What science cannot prove is the non-existence of things. And it's not its job to. The burden of proof lies with the one making the claim and, to date, no religion has offered any real evidence for the existence of its god or gods.

As an atheist, I don't deny the possibility that supernatural beings do exist. Likewise, I don't deny the possibility that, if I run at a wall, all of my atoms will pass completely through it. For some reason, though, I continue to use doorways.
 
That is right +S Lo just because no one can prove that Dragons, Unicorns and any every other myth did not exist, means it is all true! That is your kind of logic, makes sense huh.
 
Given the nature of this topic, there is lots of interest and nice to see G+ community having a healthy discussion!
 
human without religion just like a journey without a direction.Human needs God to guide their way.Put your eyes to see..the world.What a great creation.The theory of science just can answer the fizikal way about a thing.But they doesnt think about who creat it.If we see a chair...we will ask who made it.Same with the world.Hope you all can find the true way.....
 
+Fudillah Syurie your statement makes many assumptions, and I disagree with you. What you say is humanity needs ignorance in order to move forward, that is like saying you need to take the engine out of your car in order for it to drive.
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