Religions in Asia

Asia has around 4.4 billion residents. Among them, more than a billion people are followers of Islam, which is the largest religion in Asia. Hinduism takes second place with around 896 million people, 436 million belong to Buddhism and around 336 million are Christians. There are also 432 million Chinese who belong to their own people’s religions. Almost 600 million Asians are without religion.

All religions that are now world religions have their origins in Asia. These include Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism.

Religions in Asia

Islam – the largest religion in Asia

With around 26%, Islam is the religion with the most followers in Asia. Sub-groups are Sunni and Shiite Islam. According to COUNTRYAAH.COM, Islam is predominant in the following countries: Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Islam, which has around 1.6 billion followers worldwide, was founded in the 7th century by the Prophet Mohammed. The basis is, on the one hand, the Koran, the Holy Scripture of Islam, which is considered the word of God, and, on the other hand, the Sharia, the so-called religious law of Islam. It is supported by five pillars that describe the five main duties: the Islamic creed, the obligatory prayer, the poor contribution, the fasting in Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Ubudiah mosque in Malaysia

Hinduism – predominantly in South Asia

Third place worldwide, but in Asia in second place is Hinduism. It is mainly lived in South Asia, especially in India, Nepal and Bhutan. India is also considered the country of origin. The history of Hinduism cannot be limited in time. In its early form, however, it dates back to the 18th century BC.

Bangladesh – South Asia

Bangladesh is a state in Asia. The capital of the country is Dhaka. Approx. 163 million Bangladeshis, Bangladeshis people of other nationalities, live in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. The official language is Bengali. Bangladesh covers an area of ​​around 148,000 km². The highest mountain in Bangladesh is the Keokradong at 1,230 meters. Neighboring countries are India and Myanmar.

Bangladesh Flag and Map

Bhutan – South Asia

Bhutan, the dragon kingdom, land of the thunder dragon, is a state in Asia. The capital is Thimphu. About 798,000 Bhutanese people of other nationalities live in Bhutan. The official language is Dzongkha. Bhutan covers an area of ​​around 38,000 km². Neighboring countries are China and India.

Bhutan Flag and Map

While many religions rely on one statement, Hinduism is not a uniform religion and thus has different religious traditions that overlap and influence each other, both in scriptures and in rituals, in the doctrines and not least in the world of the gods. Hindus believe in a constant cycle of life and death, and thus also in reincarnation.

Hinduism in Kathmandu

Buddhism – 3rd place in Asia

Buddhism can be found especially in the south and east of Asia. It is divided into Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. It predominates in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia and Sri Lanka. Around half of the Buddhists in Asia live in China.

Historically, Buddhism can be traced back to the 4th century BC. It is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who taught the Dharma and is considered the founder of Buddhism. The Four Noble Truths are taught in this religion. The First Noble Truth says that life is shaped by suffering, which symbolizes birth, old age, sickness and death. The Second Noble Truth says that suffering is caused by greed, hatred and delusion. By avoiding this, one finally gets lucky what the Third Noble Truth expresses. The Fourth Noble Truth shows you the way to happiness on the Noble Eightfold Path.

Christianity – only fifth in Asia

If Christianity is the largest religion worldwide with over two billion followers, it is only fifth in Asia with less than ten percent. Christianity has numerous denominations, including the four most important: the Roman Catholic, the Protestant, the Orthodox and the Anglican. In Asia, Christianity predominates in Russia, Georgia and Armenia.

Religion originated in Judaism and goes back to Jesus of Nazareth, who lived as a traveling sermon in the 1st century AD and is considered the son of God. Most Christians believe in a God as a trinity consisting of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But there are also smaller groups called anti-Trinitarians who do not recognize the Trinity.

Chinese folk belief

Around a tenth of the Asian population feels that they belong to Chinese folk belief. There is no church behind it, no unified rites, no own theology and no unified belief. Rather, numerous elements are combined here: ancestor worship, Buddhism, popular belief, Confucianism, Fengshui, geomancy, Daoism and also local cults.

The worship of ancestors and local deities is particularly important for popular belief. Men and women who actually lived and who are said to have special powers and deeds are regarded as deities. They are limited to individual areas or matters.