What World Religions Teach

By E. G. Parrinder | Go to book overview

Chapter 22
CHRISTIANITY: (3) CHURCHES TODAY

In the foregoing chapters we have tried to sketch something of the history and teachings of the religions of the world, and also mention their present state. Something similar must be attempted for Christianity. It would be strange to speak of Brahmo Samaj and Ahmadiyya and to omit the Quakers or the Salvation Army. Yet the branches of Christianity are so numerous that only a fraction can be mentioned, and the broad lines alone can be traced. Christianity is the world's largest religion. There are few precise figures, but in 1961 there were said to be 423 million Roman Catholics, 130 million Eastern Orthodox, and 210 million Protestants. These are generally the figures for communicant members, and do not include the large numbers of adherents, particularly in Protestant countries, where membership is reckoned by communicants.

It is much more difficult to obtain estimates for other religions, for none of them keep lists of members, and they have not that interest in statistics that is the fashion in the West. Roughly the numbers are as follows: Muslims 362 million, Hindus 303 million, Jews 12 million, Southern Buddhists 60 million, Northern Buddhists up to 200 million; Taoists and Confucians about 200 million, Shinto 40 million, African and tribal religions about 100 million. Of the small Indian minorities Sikhs number about 6 million, Jains one and a half million, and Parsis 114 thousand.1


THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

English readers of this book may well belong to the Anglican Church, or the Church of England. If they are not members they may still consider themselves within the scope of the State

____________________
1
Readers Digest Great World Atlas, pp. 130, 131.

-184-

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