Which Are The Top 5 Religions of the World in the Chronological Order of its Origin Dating Back from the Oldest to the Newest religion?
The list of the top 5 religions starting from the oldest to the newest is as follows.
1. Hinduism is more than 10,000 years old when we go back to the Ramayana period.
Lord Vishnu had ten avatars or incarnations which are recorded in the ancient texts and Purana's. — However, there is no recorded history of the period prior to that as there was no availability of printing press and paper in those ancient times.
Chronologically, Ramayana happened before Mahabharata. There are many facts to support that Ramayana happened in the Treta Yuga which comes before the Dwapara Yuga (Mahabharata).
Sri Rama (Ramayana epic) was the 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu, while Sri Krishna (Mahabharata epic) was the 8th avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Hinduism is the world’s oldest and most ancient religion with its roots and traditions dating back to more than 10,000 years ago with different incarnations of Lord Vishnu in various forms.
Hinduism is now the third largest religion today as per the number of followers worldwide.
I give here excerpts as sample page from my book: ‘Want to Know God: For Young and Old.’ — It is a short extract from this book to keep the answer short and those who want in-depth knowledge may read the full book.
Hinduism has over 1.1 billion adherents worldwide which is around 15% of world’s total population. In the beginning there was just one Aryan race of ‘Sanatana Dharma’ although many different sects and faiths appeared with the passage of time over many generations.
Hindu religion follows many demi-gods and it is difficult to trace its founder, origins and history. — Hinduism is known as the ‘Sanatana Dharma’ or the most ancient religion, with its roots originating from the ancient beginning of mankind.
Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma permits the worship of ‘One God’ in many forms as different deities and gods or goddesses, as per the individual’s belief as a polytheistic religion.
Hinduism permits its adherents to follow their faith and beliefs in any form whether ‘seen’ as in photos or as idols; or as ‘unseen’ one Spirit of God.
Hinduism is unique in the sense that it is not a single religion but a combination of many traditions and scriptures from the ancient history of civilization.
In Hinduism the basis of belief is still ‘One spirit of God’ as the creator of the entire universe with appearances of different incarnations of God in different Yugas (generations) and time-periods.
Hinduism has been wrongly misunderstood to propagate the concept of idol worship only, but the fact is that Hinduism permits both the ‘seen’ as well as the ‘unseen’ aspects of God.
Bhagavad Gita comprising of just 700 verses in 18 Chapters is the essence of all the Vedas, and is considered as the most sacred book of the Hindus.
Bhagavad Gita clearly explains the concept of both the monotheistic and polytheistic worship as per the faith of the individual.
Bhagavad Gita was declared to the humanity by God-incarnate Sri Krishna who manifested as the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, more than 5000 years ago.
The holy book of Bhagavad Gita clearly states that God can be realized both in unseen (unmanifest) and seen (manifest) forms.
2. Buddhism: 2500 years old
I give here excerpts as short extract from my book: Want to Know God: For Young and Old: (copyrights with author).
Buddhist religion is religion is 2,500 years old and is the world’s fourth-largest religion, with over 500 million followers or 7% of the world’s total population.
Buddhism is a religion which encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices based on the teachings of Gautam Buddha. — Buddhism originated in India and from here it spread to other parts of Asia.
However the growth of Buddhism declined in India during the Middle ages due to rise of Islam.
Two major extant branches of Buddhism are Theravada (Pali) and Mahayana (Sanskrit). — Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
Practices in Buddhism include taking refuge in Buddha-consciousness, Samatha and Vipassana meditation.
In Buddhist philosophy the ultimate goal is attainment of the exalted state of Nirvana. — This is achieved by one-pointed meditation while following the precepts of eight-fold Noble Path (also known as the middle path).
Nirvana in Buddhism means going beyond the repeated cycles of human births and suffering. — ‘Nibbana’ or ‘Nirvana’ in Sanskrit implies extinguishing all worldly desires to reach the ultimate truth of existence.
3. Christianity: 2000 years old
Excerpt from my book: Want to Know God: For Young and Old
Christian religion is 2000 years old and is the world’s largest religion in the present times with over 2.4 billion followers or nearly 33% of the world population.
Christianity was derived from Judaism, as Jesus Christ was a Jew as were his twelve disciples. Christianity is based mainly around the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christianity believes in ‘One God’ and it is a monotheistic religion. — Other monotheistic religions are Judaism, Islam and Sikhism.
Christians believe in the ‘Bible’ as the ‘Divine word,’ since they consider it to be inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the anointed savior of the world and that his presence on earth was the fulfillment of the prophecy made in the Old Testament about the Messiah who will come and save humanity from their sins.
The emergence of Christian religion took place by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is said to have defeated Satan, and thus he is deemed to have paid the price for the sins of Christian believers.
Christians believe that Jesus will return on the Judgment Day to fulfill the rest of the Old Testament prophesies to judge the living and the dead, and establish God’s kingdom in the new Creation.
4. Islam: 1400 years old
Islam religion is nearly 1400 years old and it originated with the teaching of Prophet Muhammad.
Islam is an Abrahamic religion with the teaching and firm faith that there is only one God (Arabic: Allah), and that Prophet Muhammad is the messenger of God.
It is a monotheistic religion in which the Muslims believe oneness of ‘Allah’ as the almighty God.
Islam is the second major religion of the world with almost 1.8 billion followers or 24 % of the world population. Islam spread very fast as Muslims fought many wars and Quran permitted that Muslims can have four wives so as to increase the numbers and progeny.
5. Sikhism: 500 years old and the newest religion
Sikhism is one of the world’s youngest religions, which was founded just over 500 years ago. Despite being the youngest religion, it is the world’s fifth largest religion with over 30 million followers.
The community of the baptised Sikh followers is known as Khalsa Panth. Sikhism teaches that all human beings are equal and can realize the ‘divinity’ within their own self by devotion to God, truthful living and service to the humanity.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469–1539) who was born in a Hindu family, was the founder of Sikh religion. — Sikhism is primarily a branch of Hinduism which emerged to oppose the forcible conversions of Hindus by the Muslim rulers of that era.
The Sikh religion introduced many changes like abolition of idol worship and following of rituals by the Hindu religion.
Sikh religion believes that there is only ‘One spirit of God’ which flows through the entire Universe, and hence Sikhism is a monotheistic religion.
“WAHEGURU” is the distinctive name of the Supreme being or formless God in Sikh religion like Hari, Vishnu, Gobind, Rama, Krishna in Hinduism, Allah in Islam, and similarly Jesus Christ in Christianity.
The term ‘Wahe Guru’ thus encompasses all incarnations and messengers of God as ‘One Spirit of God.’
Sikhism believes in reincarnation and cycles of birth and death as in Hinduism according to one’s karma. Sikhs cremate and burn their dead like the Hindus.
In Sikhism as in Hinduism the primal sound of ‘OM’ is recited as one primal Spirit of God that created the entire universe.
“Omkar” is the sound to address God as both the ‘seen’ and as well as the ‘unseen’ aspects of the divinity. The different myriad forms arise out of one consciousness of God and return back to the same Spirit of God who gave life.
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