The world's major religions and spiritual traditions can be classified into a smaller number of larger groups or world religions.
These spiritual traditions can also be combined into larger groups, or separated into smaller sub-denominations. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism (and sometimes the Bahá'í Faith) can be united as Abrahamic religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism are classified as Indian (or Dharmic) religions. Chinese Religion, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto are all classified as East Asian Religions.
The ten largest religions, the most popular in the world, their most important shrines and some curiosities:
Christianity - with its 2,106,962,000 adherents tops the list.
Larger symbol of Christianity, Christ crucified.
Crucifixion of Christ (1610-1611), by Pieter Pauwel Rubens
The Christian religion arose in the region of present-day Palestine in the first century. This region was under the control of the Roman Empire in this period. Created by Jesus, it quickly spread to the four corners of the world, becoming today the most widespread religion. Jesus was persecuted by the Roman Empire at the request of Emperor Octavius Augustus (Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian Augustus), as he defended ideas very contrary to current interests. It defended peace, harmony, respect for one God, love between men and was contrary to slavery. Meanwhile, the interests of the empire were totally contrary. Christians were very persecuted during the Roman Empire and to continue religious practice, they used the catacombs for meetings and services.
According to the Christian faith, God sent the world his son to be the savior (Messiah) of men. This would be responsible for spreading the word of God among men. He was persecuted, but gave his life for men. He rose again and went to heaven. He offered the possibility of salvation and eternal life after death to all who believe in God and follow his commandments.
The main idea, or message, of the Christian religion is the importance of divine love over all things. For Christians, God is a trinity consisting of: Father (God), Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit.
The Messiah (Savior)
Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem in the region of Judea. His family was very simple and humble. Around the age of 30 begins to spread the ideas of Christianity in the region where he lived. The Roman emperor Julius Caesar is awakened by the fear of the appearance of a new leader in one of the regions dominated by the Roman Empire.
In his pilgrimages, he begins to perform miracles and gathers disciples and apostles wherever he goes. Persecuted and imprisoned by Roman soldiers, he was sentenced to death for failing to recognize the emperor's divine authority. At 33, he died on the cross and was buried. He was raised on the third day and appeared to the disciples giving them the mission to continue the teachings.
Diffusion of Christianity
Jesus' ideals spread rapidly throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa, especially among the poorest, as they were messages of peace, love, and respect. The apostles were in charge of this task.
Religion made so many followers that in the year 313 of our era, Emperor Constantine granted freedom of worship. In the year 392, Christianity is transformed into the official religion of the Roman Empire.
At the time of the great navigations (15th and 16th centuries), religion came to America through Jesuit priests, whose mission was to catechize the indigenous.