Just as Yoruba may legitimately be distinguished from the general "primal-indigenous" classification, valid arguments could be made that other religious traditions such as Native American religion (less than 100,000 self-identified U.S.
Cohesive rituals, beliefs and organization were spread throughout the world of Yoruba (and other major African religious/tribal groups such as Fon), to an extent characteristic of nations and many organized religions, not simply tribes.
With a working definition of "a religion" and a method for measuring size, criteria for what constitutes a "major" religion must be determined, otherwise this list could be impractically inclusive and long.
Also a matter of conventional wisdom is the idea that human beings are on one side of a great divide while all animals are on the other, subjects of their instincts and our necessities and pleasures. What exactly the divide is, though, is difficult to define. Various contestants have included reason, language, art, technology, religion, walking upright and the use of hands, knowledge of mortality, sin, suicide, and more. In (1991), Raymond Tallis rounds up a master list of them:
This list is based primarily on the degree of doctrinal/theological similarity among all the various sub-groups which belong to these classifications, and to a lesser extent based on diversity in practice, ritual and organization.
With these sociological (non-theological) definitions we could include in this list schools of thought which aren't always considered "religions," such as atheism, humanism, Communism/Marxism/Maoism, and Confucianism.
There is substantial overlap between "estimates" and "field work."For the purposes of this list of major religions, we have used adherent counts or estimates based on self-identification.
But Ahmadiyya (a recent offshoot of Islam), is not included on this list as a separate religion because its adherents claim to be Muslim, view themselves as completely Muslim, and wish to be classified as part of Islam.
hough thanks to Darwin (if not Aristotle) it should come as no surprise that animals seem to experience in some way many of the same things we do, physically and emotionally, in science the supposed imposition of “human” characteristics on non-human animals is a powerful taboo. All of the preceding stories, descriptions of behavior whose meaning would be perfectly obvious if encountered in a person, court trouble with sticklers for “romanticizing” the animals’ apparent feelings.
David Barrett, an Evangelical Christian who is the compiler of religion statistics for the Encyclopedia Britannica and the World Christian Encyclopedia, includes all of the groups listed above in the worldwide statistics for Christianity.
Other new religious movements of this century have primarily remained within established world religions, such as new Buddhist (Western Buddhist Order), Hindu (Hare Krishna), Muslim (Nation of Islam), Jewish (Reconstructionism), and Christian (Pentecostalism, neo-Evangelicalism, Calvary Chapel) movements and denominations.
For the purposes of this list, this grouping also includes more proactive or well-defined philosophies such as secular humanism, atheism, agnosticism, deism, pantheism, freethought, etc., most of which can be classified as religions in the sociological sense, albeit secular religions.
The "Secular/Nonreligious/etc." category is probably the most speculative estimate in this list, as this segment of society is difficult to count.
Many of the most recent movements, such as Seicho-No-Ie, Ananaikyo, Ch'ondogyo and other Asian new religious movements are overtly syncretistic or universalist, similar in some ways to but originating many years later than the Baha'i faith.