Even in our increasingly secular age religion plays a central role in the lives of millions of people. It is thought that over 70% of the world's population identify themselves with one religion or another. Religion can be there for people in the most significant times and experiences of life such as birth, marriage and death.
For many, many people religion provides consolation, inspiration and community. It can offer answers to some of the big questions in life: Why do people suffer? Why do our loved ones die? What happens when we die? How should we live our lives? What is the meaning of life? Religion has inspired some of the world's greatest music, art and literature.
The main world religions are:
- Atheism - The ideas and views of people who don't believe in God.
- Baha'i - One of the youngest of the world's major religions.
- Buddhism - A way of living based on the teachings of Siddartha Gautama.
- Candomblé - A religion based on African beliefs, originating in Brazil.
- Christianity - The world's biggest faith, based on the teaching of Jesus Christ.
- Hinduism - Hinduism stretches back thousands of years and is the oldest world religion.
- Islam - Revealed in its final form by the Prophet Muhammad.
- Jainism - An ancient philosophy and ethical teaching that originated in India.
- Jehovah's Witnesses - A Christian-based evangelistic religious movement.
- Judaism - Based around the Jewish people's covenant relationship with God.
- Mormon - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Paganism - Contemporary religions usually based on reverence for nature.
- Rastafari - A young religion founded in Jamaica in the 1930s.
- Santeria - Afro-Caribbean syncretic religion originating in Cuba.
- Shinto - Japanese folk tradition and ritual with no founder or single sacred scripture.
- Sikhism - The religion founded by Guru Nanak in India in the 15th Century CE.
- Taoism - An ancient tradition of philosophy and belief rooted in Chinese worldview.
- Unitarianism - An open-minded and individualistic approach to religion.
- Zoroastrianism - One of the oldest monotheistic faiths, founded by the prophet Zoroaster.