January 16, 2007

Mapping Religions

Religion map

Click on the above link for a chronological perspective on the majority religions of the world created by "Maps -of- War".

It made for some interesting viewing, and listed below are some of my post-view observations, none of which may be misconstrued as biases for or against any religion.

1. After 1200AD, religions seemed to have spread at a faster rate and over larger land masses than ever before.

2. Judaism surfaced in spurts; it did not hold a land mass to call its own until the birth of Israel.

3. Hinduism is the world's oldest religion despite which it did not spread as much.

4. Christianity spans over the largest land mass and has seldom lost ground to another religion.

5. At inception, Islam spread more rapidly than did other religions.

6. Islam and Christianity grew in reactionary sequence for some three hundred years after the birth of Islam.

7. Both Christianity and Islam spread across three or more continents.

8. Islam is the youngest of the majority religions.

9. Buddhism, an offshoot of Hinduism, coexisted adjacent to its parent religion; both of them remained within the Asian continent.


BD said...

The beginning cracked me up a bit, when I saw "Birth of Krishna" being mentioned as the start of Hinduism :P

But I understand that it had to rhyme along with "Birth of Moses" and "Birth of Mohammed" etc.

Id it is said...

What's funnier, more so ironic is that this 'religious spread' is created by "Maps-of-War"!

samuru999 said...

Very informative post!
Thank you!
Hope all is well!
Thanks for sharing your views also!


Isha' said...

Rapid expansion of Christianity in the 'modern age' to eastern europe, russia and america struck me.

although, Id, it does not seem right that christianity never lost out to anybody. palestine was taken back by Salaud-din (Saladin).

Christians did take back Eastern Europe (Greece, Bulageria etc. ), however.

One serious factual error. hinduism was overtaken by buddhism during the times of mourya. which this map does not show at all. what happened afterwards to the buddhists is far more telling.

Also, they seem to determine the colour by who is ruling, rather than who is majority. For example, north India, as far as I am aware, never was a Muslim majority.

lalitha said...

That was neat to see the map of religions.Thanks for sharing.

BD said...


ROFL, and how did I miss that! :D


Very pertinent points. And that's how they miss the part when Sri-Lanka became Buddhist(they do show the country as buddhist towards the end, but ignored how that happened).

Sanjay said...

Very good observations.
Maybe it is the lack of an evangelical component that has also contributed to the relative stasis in geographical terms of Hinduism and Buddhism?

pRicky said...


BD said...

Maybe it is the lack of an evangelical component that has also contributed to the relative stasis in geographical terms of Hinduism and Buddhism?

May be true for Hinduism, but as far as Buddhism is concerned, its spread in Asia and Srilanka was made possible only by missionaries.

May be it's the lack of 'war and conquest component' that contributed to the relative stasis.

sr said...

interesting map. i also noticed it was from maps of war. perhaps this map is a nod to huntingdon's clash of civilizations, hehehe.

dharmabum said...

very interesting and worthy of thought!

thanks for sharing!

Id it is said...

The "Maps of War' could have been inspired by Samuel Huntingdon's Clash of Civilization...
a possibility no doubt. But I still hold Huntingdon's book as a must-read, if that's where you were taking this, hehe.

Lisa Francisco said...

interesting posting. i'm reading up on buddhism now. my brother is a practicing buddhist. interesting

D said...

Nice map. But as BD said...Hinduism doesn't start from the birth of Krishna and then there never existed a religion called Hinduism, the definition by which we know it today. For better refrence one could always read "The Wonder that was India" by A.L. basham. Good for at least preliminary understanding. Over all nice post.

Red said...

The overempahsis on the religion of the political class sort of "colored things". Prominent absences were the spread of Christianity to Kerala, Buddhism in Afghanistan under the Kushanas and Hindu kingdoms in SE Asia.

Also, are we to assume that the indigenous people of Africa, N.America and Australia had no religions before the advent of Christianity and Islam?

Anonymous said...

hey interesting, but can buddhism be called an offshoot of hinduism? I am not too sure abt this, but as far as i know and from what i've read, the only connection is that buddha was a hindu..once. And hinduism is often mis-quoted as religion and it can be argued that hinduism represents a collage of many religions... just like a nation of different states.

because by definition, a religion is where a group of people come together since they share the same faith and hold the same values and beliefs.

In hinduism, that is in India, each state has a different god, each caste has a varying custom and there is a complete disparity in their forms of worship... very little do they share in common...

After 1200AD the humanity spread at a drastic pace, so that could possibly explain this concomitant spread of religion.

Id it is said...

"Also, are we to assume that the indigenous people of Africa, N.America and Australia had no religions before the advent of Christianity and Islam?" That bothered me as well, but I guess here we are looking at institutionalized religions and the African religious practices obviously had not achieved that distinction.

I wasn't aware that different states worshiped different Hindu Gods. That's interesting no doubt.

Teri said...

hey - this is really interesting! thanks!

EXSENO said...

Very interesting post, which also brought about some very interesting comments.

I have found that when it comes to reading about or looking things up on the net, when it comes to religion, sometimes it depends on who is telling the story and the story is not always quite the same.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

I did not know that Hinduism is the world's oldest religion.

Very interesting post!

Anonymous said...

Buddhism also cannot be strictly called a religion. It falls somewhere in-between philosophy and religion. And, yes, there were emissaries that were sent to Sri Lanka and other south-Asian countries to spread the word of Buddha, though I doubt that anyone was converted was done by force.


abu1115 said...

Can you tell me where the nice image with the religious symbols comes from? I would love to be able to use it.