Religious Practices around the world

Religious Practices around the world, Compiled and Explained

– posted by Andy Rau

— How many Christians–or Hindus, or Muslims, or Buddhists–are there in the
world? 
What country contains the highest percentage of atheists? 

 What and where are the largest churches in the world? All of these questions and hundreds of others are answered at adherents.org[1], a massive repository of religion statistics, demographic information, and other facts about religious beliefs all around the world.  Some interesting places to start are this list of the predominant religion[2] of every country in the world; an extensive database of famous religious figures[3], and a description of the largest religious groups in the U.S.[4]  Church leaders, missionaries, and anyone who’s curious about the world’s religious practices will find hours’ worth of reading material.

— Links in this story —

[1] http://www.adherents.com/

  • over 43,870 adherent statistics and religious geography citations: references to published membership/adherent statistics and congregation statistics for over 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, etc.
  • influential and famous adherents of over 100 different religious groups (famous Methodists, famous Jews, famous Catholics, famous Zoroastrians, famous Jehovah’s Witnesses, famous Theosophists, etc.)
  • lists of prominent people(actors, politicians, authors, U.S. presidents, artists, musicians, Supreme Court justices, film directors, etc.) classified by religious affiliation. These lists are linked to thousands of detailed religious/spiritual biographies.

[2] http://www.adherents.com/adh_predom.html

  • In most countries of the world, a majority of people (over 50%) are adherents of the same religion.

[3] http://www.adherents.com/adh_fam.html

  • Prominent, Notable, Celebrity, Influential, Famous Members of Various Religions and Denominations

[4] http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html

  • How about a module on religious practices, too? (todayonline.com)
    the next step is to have a compulsory module on Comparative Religion, to educate our population on the doctrines and practices of world religions.

    It would touch on the philosophical concerns of religion, from ethics to the various ways of attaining salvation.

    One who takes the course would benefit from a better understanding of the diverse views of human beliefs and practices.

  • Religious freedom: US not fit to preach (english.ruvr.ru)
    “In the Obama Administration we’ve elevated religious freedom as a diplomatic priority”, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said while speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The United States will also stand for the value, the principle that religious freedom represents, not only for us but for people everywhere.”

    This poses two main questions: why would a government, in a country where church has been separated from state, try to impose its own vision on something as delicate as religious matters on other sovereign states? And is it in a position to do so?
    +
    Earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI warned of a “grave threat” to religious liberty in the United States. He noted that America’s historical experience of religious freedom has been eroded “in the face of powerful new cultural currents” which are “not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity.” Currently, Christianity is practiced by more than 75% of the US citizens.

  • US says world has lost religious freedom (bigpondnews.com)
    The United States says the world is sliding backwards on religious freedoms, criticising China for cracking down on Tibetan Buddhists and hitting out at Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    As the State Department unveiled its first report on religious freedoms since the start of the Arab Spring, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday it was a ‘signal to the worst offenders’ that the world was watching.
    +
    The 2011 International Religious Freedom Report noted that last year governments increasingly used blasphemy laws to ‘restrict religious liberty, constrain the rights of religious minorities and limit freedom of expression.’
    +

    The report also warned that European nations undergoing major demographic shifts have seen ‘growing xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim sentiment, and intolerance toward people considered ‘the other.”

    It complains of a ‘rising number of European countries, including Belgium and France, whose laws restricting dress adversely affected Muslims and others’.

     

  • World Backsliding on Religious Freedom (theepochtimes.com)
    At a time when at least some countries are loosening up on political expression, the world is sliding backward on religious freedom, says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.Speaking on the release of the United States “International Religious Freedom Report” for 2011 on July 30, Clinton said now more than ever, it was urgent to highlight religious freedom.

    “When we consider the global picture and ask whether religious freedom is expanding or shrinking the answer is sobering,” she said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in D.C. “More than a billion people live under governments that systematically suppress religious freedom.”
    +

    In Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Burma, where regimes had fallen or moved to less restrictive practices, people were taking the first steps in newfound freedoms. The transition path, however, is fraught with its own dangers, particularly for minorities.

    Violence against Coptic Christians had increased in Egypt, for example, as had incidents against the Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority in Burma, who remain severely ostracized.

    The expanded use and abuse of blasphemy laws to further restrict religious liberty and expression was also cited as a growing trend. In Saudi Arabia, blasphemy against the Wahabi interpretation of Sunni Islam is punishable by death; while in Indonesia, the penalty is imprisonment.

    In Pakistan, anyone blaspheming or criticizing blaspheming laws is vulnerable to assassination by extremists.

    A rise in anti-Semitism was identified as a disturbing trend. The report cites Venezuela for anti-Semitic statements in official media and Iran for unrestrained Holocaust denial. In Europe, Ukraine and France saw incidents of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues being desecrated, and Hungary saw the rise of an anti-Semitic political party.

    Some governments were also cited for targeting minorities as “violent extremists,” the report citing Bahrain, Russia, Iraq, and Nigeria for the trend.

    “Authorities often failed to distinguish between peaceful religious practice and criminal or terrorist activities,” the report said.

  • Fastest Growing Religious Group in America: The Amish (?!?) (patheos.com)
    Ohio State University researchers are reporting that the Amish may be one of the fastest growing religious group in America. It’s arguable that that distinction currently belongs to the non-religious:
    +
    A new census of the Amish population in the United States estimates that a new Amish community is founded, on average, about every 3 ½ weeks, and shows that more than 60 percent of all existing Amish settlements have been founded since 1990.
    +
    “The Amish are one of the fastest-growing religious groups in North America,” said Joseph Donnermeyer, professor of rural sociology in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, who led the census project. “They’re doubling their population about every 21 to 22 years, primarily because they produce large families and the vast majority of daughters and sons remain in the community as adults baptized into the faith, starting their own families and sustaining their religious beliefs and practices.”
  • China steps up over religious practice in Xinjiang (fmnnow.com)
    Local officials in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have taken strict measurements to prohibit religious practices among Party members, Public officials and students, as many muslims in Xinjiang are fasting during Ramadan.According to local government website of Yecheng County in Kashi, the county conducted a full deployment during Ramadan starting from July 20. All Party members, public employees and school students were prohibited to participate any forms of religious practice. While authorities responded the restrictions of Ramadan are out of health concerns. A regional spokeswoman, Hou Hanmin, was quoted in Global Times as saying authorities encourage people to “eat properly for study and work” but would not force anyone to eat during Ramadan.
  • Religious Accommodations in the Workplace (blogs.lawyers.com)
    f you’re Christian in the United States, you may not have given much thought to how people of other religions observe holidays. After all, many Christians in the United States take it for granted that they won’t have to work on religious holidays. With the exception of some retail stores, most companies close entirely for Christian holidays, including Good Friday, Easter and Christmas. But what if you’re Jewish and observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when work is forbidden? What if you’re Muslim and want to pray five times daily, even though some of those prayer times fall during business hours? What if you are you are a Sikh man who wears a turban but works at a business that wants you to wear a baseball hat with the company logo on it?It is against the law for your employer to treat you differently or to harass you because of your religious, moral and ethical beliefs. Your employer must respect your sincere and meaningful religious beliefs, and must make a reasonable effort to accommodate your religious practices unless they cause an undue hardship on the company.
  • Austria gives go ahead on circumcisions after religious leaders make appeals (lampandherald.wordpress.com)
    In an article for Reuters, Michael Shields writes that physicians ”in Austria’s westernmost province have been cleared to resume circumcisions after the Justice Ministry reassured them that they can perform the religious practice without risking criminal charges.”

    Shields says that apparently a regional court ruling in Germany caused confusion when it was reported that “the practice supported by Muslims and Jews amounted to physical abuse.” Doctors were then advised to suspend the ruling.
    +

    If your employer discriminates against you on the basis of your religion, you may be entitled to relief in the form of back pay, hiring, promotion, reinstatement, front pay, reasonable accommodation, or other forms of relief. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also allows you to recover your attorney’s fees.

    If you believe that you’ve been discriminated against on the basis of religion in your employment, an employment discrimination attorney can help you review your options.

  • The DC Folly Trolley – 07/29/12 (dcwreck.wordpress.com)
    Eric Cantor seems to believe he could not practice his religion anywhere else in the world as freely as he can in the United States.

    I wonder how countries like England, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and many others would interpret such a statement, to say nothing of Israel.

    Of course, he could be a Pastafarian. In which case I’m not certain which countries allow freedom to practice those beliefs.

    Taking his remarks about the right to practice religion freely in the U S more as a statement of American exceptionalism rather than one of limitations on religious practices in other countries, Eric Cantor’s statement does not quite ring true.

    I wonder how countries like England, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and many others would interpret such a statement, to say nothing of Israel.

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