Religion saves dating
Today, the faith is a unified account of ancient Japanese mythology, marked strongly by Buddhist influences, and followed by the vast majority of the country’s population (though only a small minority identify it as an organized religion).A note on methodology: Before getting into it, it is worth mentioning that determining a religion’s age depends entirely on how one defines what a religion is.Though most religions make it a point to claim their teachings have been consistent since the dawn of time (whenever that was), spiritual traditions have appeared and disappeared throughout the ages with the same regularity as empires.And if such ancient faiths as Manichaeism, Mithraism, and Tengriism are all but gone, a few of the oldest religions and practices are still around today. , or organized into a distinctive belief system, but Hindus (as they have been identifying themselves for centuries, the result of opposition with other religions) roughly follow the same central traditions, understandable to all the religion’s multifarious adherents.Strict Confucianists are said to number about six million.Unlike most other religions on this list, Buddhism has a fairly clear history: it begins with one man, Siddhartha Gautama, known otherwise as Buddha.
Its followers believe in the tirthankaras, omniscient preachers of the Jain path, whose defining characteristics are marked by asceticism and self-discipline.
This may make these creeds as old, if not older, as Zoroastrianism.
The foundation for all other Abrahamic religions, and the oldest monotheism still around (though by no means the first – that is alleged to be a variation on ancient Egyptian faith called Atenism, which disappeared in the 14th century BCE), Judaism originated in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which first appeared in the Levant around the 9th century BCE.
Jains are said to number six to seven million worldwide.
If, like Buddhism, Confucianism must invariably be traced to one man – in this case, the Chinese politician, teacher, and philosopher Confucius (551 – 479 BCE) – it is worth noting that he himself maintained he was part of a scholarly tradition dating back to an earlier golden age.