What does it take to become a ‘major’ religion?

There are approximately 4300 religion in the world. That is, about 4300 unique views about god, creation and the afterlife. But amidst all of these, only a few are widespread enough to be called major religions. So I was wondering, what does it take to be a major religion?  Obviously, the size of a religion depends on the number of its followers. The more followers a religion has, the more widespread it is. So I took to Wikipedia to find out the number of followers every religion has. And here are the statistics:

  1. Christianity – 2,200 million followers
  2. Islam – 1,600 million followers
  3. Hinduism – 1,100 million followers
  4. Buddhism – 488 million followers
  5. Folk religion – 400 million followers
  6. Taoism – 173 million followers
  7. Shinto – 100 million followers
  8. Falun Gong – 80 million followers
  9. Sikhism – 28 million followers
  10. Judaism – 17 million followers
  11. Korean Shamanism – 15 million followers
  12. Caodaism – 9 million followers
  13. Baha’i faith – 7.3 million followers
  14. Tengriism – 5 million followers
  15. Jainism – 4.2 million followers
  16. Cheondoism – 4 million followers
  17. Hoahaoism – 3 million followers

These are all the religions that are large enough to be termed as major religions on Wikipedia. The list ends with Hoahaoism at 3 million followers. That is the least amount of followers a major religion has. So it is safe to assume that a religion can be called a major one if it has at least 1 million followers. But this threshold will go on increasing as the world population increases.

So the moral of the story is, if you’re starting up a religion – the number to aim is 1 million followers.


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