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Religion can be defined as an organized collection of perspectives, values, beliefs, cultural systems that relate humanity to some order of existence. There are nearly 4,200 religions in the world. Each religion has different sacred histories, symbols, and narratives. These are the attributes which distinguish one religion from the other. The symbols mainly distinguish the followers of religions as well. This essay presents the common attributes that are observed in most religions and the presence of religious groups around the world.

Most of the religions around the world have some type of collective behaviors such as prayers. This behavior distinguishes the followers of one religion from the other. For example, followers of Christianity attend prayers in Churches while followers of Islam offer prayers in mosques. Similarly, the followers of Hinduism offer their prayers in temples. Each religion has some kind of rituals and sermons which have been passed down to generations over centuries. Christianity is more than 2000 years old while Islam is nearly 1500 years old. The rituals and sacred histories that originated all these centuries ago have been taught to generations after generations. Sacred documents such as Bible and Quran have also been the central guidelines for these religions.

Most religions focus on a deity, gods, or goddesses; and all the religious acts come down to one simple rule: to please the worshipped god.

There are five largest religious groups around the world which are: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Chinese folk religion. Christianity is the largest group with 32% of the population being Christian, followed by Islam which is followed by 23% of the population. Christianity and Islam have some overlapping traditions, rituals, and sacred histories. Both these religions acknowledge other prophets such as Abraham and Moses. However, there are numerous differences as well, which sometimes become the key point of an argument among religious followers. In the recent past, there have been numerous controversies caused by religious followers due to acts or behaviors which are unacceptable or hurtful for the followers of other religions. Such acts have also been followed by mass protests across the globe. In a poll conducted in 2012, 36% of world’s population specified that they are not religious and 9% decline in religious belief was observed from 2005.

It can be concluded that religion has been around for as long as history allows us to take a peek into the past. Over the centuries, religious teachings have been passed down to generations. However, religious following has been observed to decline in the recent past, and controversies surrounding different religions may be the core factors to blame.