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Grade 4

The origins of the main religions of the world

Module 13

Main religions of the world

World religions with the greatest number of adherents

  • People have always had a belief in the existence of powers greater than or beyond their own understanding and insight. This led to the development of religions.
  • Religion helps to explain the mysteries of life and death. Believers may believe in a single god or in a greater number of gods or deities.

Study the tables setting out information on the religions that have the greatest number of adherents (followers).

Source 1

The Main Religions According To ContinentsFigures are given in percentages (S.A. = South America. N.A. = North America
Religion A frica A sia E urope S . A . N . A . O ceania E urasia
Christianity 17,9 15,6 22,55 23,75 13,0 1,2 6,0
Islam 28,66 65,56 1,3 0,14 0,29 0,01 4,04
Hinduism 0,2 99,37 0,1 0,1 0,17 0,059 0,001
Buddhism 0,01 99,42 0,08 0,17 0,18 0,01 0,13
Judaism 1,89 31,35 8,24 6,13 39,29 0,55 12,55

Source 2

Six Main Religions
Religion Number of Adherents
Christianity 1 833 million
Islam 971 million
Hinduism 733 million
Buddhism 315 million
Judaism 13-14,3 million

World percentages

Below the bar graph shows the distribution of the main kinds of religion by percentages. the figure for “other” includes those who do not follow any religion.

Source 3

Judaism 0,3%

Buddhism 5,7%

Hinduism 13,4%

Islam 17,7%

Other 29,6%

Christianity 33,4%

Source 4

History of Religions

Judaism Islam Hinduism Buddhism Christianity
2000 B.C. Abraham, the prophet of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, was born in Ur, the present-day Iraq. 2000 B.C. According to the Qur'an, Abraham and his son Ishmael built the Kaaba sanctuary in Mecca in present-day Saudi-Arabia. 1750 B.C. Origin of Hinduism under the influence of Aryan immigrants who worshipped many gods. 563 - 483 B.C. Siddhartha Gautama, later known as Buddha, founder of Buddhism, lived in Northeast India. 4 B.C. Jesus Christ, the saviour of the Christian religion was born in Bethlehem, in present-day Israel.
Judaism Islam Hinduism Buddhism Christianity
1200 B.C. The Hebrews settled in Canaan, which roughly corresponded to the present-day Israel. 570 - 632 A.D. Mohammed, the last and most important Islamic prophet, was born in Mecca. 1700 B.C. Hindu beliefs revealed to the holy men and orally transmitted. 100 B.C. The Tripitaka (three baskets), the holy scriptures of Theravada Buddhism, was written. 30 A.D. Jesus crucified. According to the New Testament, he was resur-rected after three days and ascended to heaven after 40 days.
931 B.C. The kingdom of the Hebrews was split into Israel and Judah. By 900 B.C. the Torah , the first five books of the Bible, had been written. 610-632 A.D. The angel Gabriel revealed the Qur’an, the Islamic holy scriptures, to Mohammed. It contains 114 chapters. 1400 B.C. The Rig-Veda, the earliest and most important book of the Vedas, which contain the Hindu precepts, was written. 20 – 200 A.D. The Sutras (a collection of sayings), the earliest holy books of Mahayana Buddhism, were written. 40-100 A.D. The New Testament of the Christian Bible as written. Christianity spread through the entire Roman Empire.
587 B.C. The Baby-lonians over-powered Jerusalem, in present-day Israel, and the Israelites were taken into exile. They started to return in varying groups after 539 B.C. 622 A.D. Mohammed went to Medina in present-day Saudi-Arabia. It was to be the introductory year of the Islamic calendar. 800 A.D. The Upanishads , the concluding books of the Vedas , were written. They established the idea of Brahman, soul of the universe. 1506 A.D. St. Peter's basilica, the largest Christian church of all times built in Rome.
70 A.D. The Romans destroyed Herod's Temple in Jerusalem. The western wall is all that remains of it now. The Jews were scattered through all the countries of the world.

Activity 1

Understanding the chronology of the origins of religions [lo 1.3]

A)develop your own, learner-friendly time line for the origins of religions.


LEARNING OUTCOME 1: HISTORICAL ENQUIRY The learner will be able to use enquiry skills to investigate the past and present.

Assessment standard

We know this when the learner:

1.3 communicates information from sources (reporting):

  • able to repeat stories verbally;
  • able to use a picture to tell a story.

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Source:  OpenStax, History grade 4. OpenStax CNX. Sep 17, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11089/1.1
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