Experts in Religious Studies will tell you that there are 11 "living" religions. Of these, there are 5 global religions including: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Of these 5 global religions, 4 of them are missionary religions (Judaism is exception). This article is in an introduction to how Christianity is different from these three other "missionary" religions.
FACTS ABOUT THE FOUR GLOBAL MISSIONARY RELIGIONS
It is estimated that there are 2.1 billion people who identify themselves as Christian. (Source: "Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents". 2005. Retrieved 19 Jun 2010.)
It is estimated that there are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world.
It is estimated that there are around 400 million Buddhists around the world.
It is estimated that there are 1 billion Hindus around the world.
WHAT IS A RELIGION?
Religion is generally considered to be (1) a system of worship which has a set of beliefs and rules expressed in certain rituals with varying degrees of devotion ranging from nominalism to devotee. Most usually, religion involves (2) worship of God and a set of beliefs about God and His will for mankind. It provides (3) a way of looking at life, mankind's condition, God's relationship to His creation, the appropriate way to respond to God, and how people should treat each other. This is called "worldview".
According to the CIA's Factbook, published July 2012, the world's population (7,021,836,029) by religious affiliation is -
31.39% Christian 22.74% Muslim 13.80% Hinduism 6.77% Buddhism 0.35% Sikhism 0.22% Judaism 0.11% B'hai'ism 10.95% Other 9.66% Non-religious 2.01% Atheism
Interestingly, despite Atheism's claims against "religion" it goes about its quest in a very religious fashion. It makes claims about God, mankind, the after-life, and the identity of Jesus Christ. This ironically makes it quite religious. Added to this, Buddhism is fundamentally atheistic and it universally considered a religion.
AREN'T ALL RELIGIONS BASICALLY THE SAME?
We hear this all the time, that all religions are basically the same. It is variously expressed with glaikit expressions such as, All religions worship the same God ... All religions promote the same values ... Any religion will get you to Heaven. These opinions are at best uninformed, they are at least insulting to each of these religions, and at worst dangerous. To show why, we will consider the four major claims of each religion and then compare them with each other...[read the full article]