Point of Reference

According to ethnologists, there are several thousand living religions in the world today. By the number of followers, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and traditional Chinese religions are the main ones. Influenced by mass communication and migratory movement, religion, like other social phenomena, has become globalized.

The users guide to this exhibition is clearly defined from the beginning in this space. The exhibition is not about theology or the history of religions; it concentrates on contemporary religious practices.

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The Exhibition

The Experience

Religions in the World

  • Christianity ~ 2,264,500,000
  • Islam ~ 1,523,200,000
  • Hinduism: 935,500,000
  • Buddhism ~ 463,800,000
  • Chinese religions (syncretism of Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism) ~ 454,600,000
  • Aboriginal traditions ~ 258,500,000
  • Sikhism ~ 24,200,000
  • Judaism ~ 14,500,000
  • Daoism ~ 8,800,000
  • Bahaism ~ 7,300,000
  • Jainism ~ 5,700,000
  • Shintoism ~ 2,800,000
  • Zoroastrianism ~ 200,000

Source: The State of the World: The 2010 Britannica Book of the Year, rounded figures.

Why do an exhibition on religions?

  • We live in a complex society where the religious beliefs and practices of our relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues may be different from our own.
  • Religious issues are in the news every day, but we are often ill equipped to understand the beliefs of those involved.
  • Many people are seeking a greater knowledge of the various religions to better understand the world we live in.
  • Migration, globalization and communications may well make religion one of the key issues of the twenty-first century.

How have we dealt with religions in this exhibition?

  • By outlining the universal and specific aspects of several religious traditions.
  • By leaving theology and history aside and focusing on the many ways people express their faith in their daily lives.
  • By being careful not to establish a hierarchy of religions or question the “truth” they convey.
  • By looking at religions in the spirit that has always characterized the Museum: a thirst for knowledge, the desire to understand, and a concern for openness and respect.

Theme of the Day


+ Learn More

Tell us about a religious holiday that is significant to you.

    • joe
    • August 22nd, 2012
    Christmas, because it brings family together, whether religious or not.
    • Sam
    • June 20th, 2012
    Even though I'm not sure God exists, I celebrate Easter and Christmas. These two holidays are an affirmation of how God really does love all of us. I have prayed many years but still have had no inspiration. I guess some people just have to wait. I hope I'll get a sign soon.
    • Anurb
    • April 15th, 2012
    The trees, the birds, the grass, the sun...nature in all her beauty. She is my God(dess).
    • GMD
    • April 10th, 2012
    April 21 Ridvan commemorating the day in 1863 when Baha'u'llah declared His Mission to the world. Since then His followers have encircled the earth with His love and unity.