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In addition, three of the world's religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam— share a common origin: all three trace Rebecca, then age 17, explains the influence that her religion, Judaism, has on her life: I recognized that it was important.
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Article 3 of 3 by Dr Marlene Winell

Officials have said that party membership and religious beliefs are incompatible, and they discourage families of CCP members from publicly participating in religious ceremonies. Although these regulations are not always strictly enforced, the party periodically takes steps to draw a clearer line on religion. Chinese folk religions have no rigid organizational structure, blend practices from Buddhism and Daoism, and are manifest in the worship of ancestors, spirits, or other local deities. Though the number of traditional Chinese religious adherents is difficult to measure accurately, the building of new temples and the restoration of old temples signals the growth of Buddhism and folk beliefs in China.

Since Xi has come to power, experts have noted an apparent easing of tough rhetoric against, and even a promotion of, traditional beliefs in China. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of one of the main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Since , he and his exiled government in India have played a prominent role in garnering international support for Tibetan autonomy.

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Experts say that discontent among Tibetan Buddhists stems in part from economic disparities between ethnic Tibetans and Han Chinese, as well as from religious and political repression. To quell dissent, the CCP restricts religious activity in Tibet and Tibetan communities outside of the autonomous region. There are three state-regulated Christian organizations and many underground house churches of widely varying size. In recent years, China has witnessed a spike in state repression against both house churches and state-sanctioned Christian organizations, including campaigns to remove hundreds of rooftop crosses from churches, forced demolitions of churches, and harassment and imprisonment of Christian pastors and priests.

A report [PDF] from ChinaAid, a Texas-based Christian nongovernmental organization, said that religious persecution, primarily against Christians, was on the rise. The report cited 1, cases of religious persecution, a 66 percent increase from a year earlier. More than 3, people were detained, including church leaders. The Vatican has not had diplomatic ties with China, home to some ten to twelve million Catholics, since Its recognition of Taiwan and a dispute over the bishop appointment process have been major sticking points. However, in a sign of possible warming relations in , the two sides reached a provisional agreement in which Pope Francis recognized several Chinese state-appointed bishops who had been excommunicated.

Christianity in China

The Uighurs, a Turkic people who live primarily in the autonomous region of Xinjiang in northwest China, are also predominantly Muslim. There about ten million Uighurs in this region, making up approximately half of its population. Most Uighurs do not support the ETIM, but they are frustrated with the Chinese government because they face discrimination for having a different religion, language, and culture than the typically wealthier Han Chinese.

The government has blamed militants for a spate of attacks, including bombings, as well as vehicle and knife attacks; according to human rights researchers, some of these attacks were likely spontaneous expressions of discontent and not orchestrated. Recent crackdowns in Xinjiang have been particularly harsh: in August , UN experts estimated that upwards of three million people had been detained or sent to political and cultural reeducation camps.

International human rights groups, scholars of religion, and Chinese human rights lawyers have questioned such designations, criticizing the Chinese government for harsh repression against believers. Demick says that there is likely more activity among banned organizations in China than what is widely thought.

A crackdown on Falun Gong was launched in after the group organized a large, peaceful demonstration outside CCP headquarters to advocate the release of detained adherents and greater freedom to practice.

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At its height, the group was believed to have as many as seventy million followers; Freedom House estimates that seven to twenty million people continue to practice despite nearly two decades of persecution. The demographic study — based on analysis of more than 2, censuses, surveys and population registers — finds 2.

At the same time, the new study by the Pew Forum also finds that roughly one-in-six people around the globe 1. Surveys indicate that many of the unaffiliated hold some religious or spiritual beliefs such as belief in God or a universal spirit even though they do not identify with a particular faith. See Religiously Unaffiliated. The geographic distribution of religious groups varies considerably. Indeed, the number of religiously unaffiliated people in China alone about million is more than twice the total population of the United States. Of the major religious groups covered in this study, Christians are the most evenly dispersed.

This figure does not include subgroups of the eight major groups in this study, such as Shia Muslims living in Sunni-majority countries or Catholics living in Protestant-majority countries. Overwhelmingly, Hindus and Christians tend to live in countries where they are in the majority.

To see the religious composition of each country, see Religious Composition by Country table. Muslims are a majority in 49 countries, including 19 of the 20 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The religiously unaffiliated make up a majority of the population in six countries, of which China is by far the largest. Most members of the other major religious groups live in countries in which they are in the minority.

Israel is the only country with a Jewish majority. There are also no countries where people who identify with folk or traditional religions clearly form a majority. Some religions have much younger populations, on average, than others.

In part, the age differences reflect the geographic distribution of religious groups. Those with a large share of adherents in fast-growing, developing countries tend to have younger populations.

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How Is The Christian Religion Different From All The Other World Religions?

Those concentrated in China and in advanced industrial countries, where population growth is slower, tend to be older. Christians have a median age of 30, followed by members of other religions 32 , adherents of folk or traditional religions 33 , the religiously unaffiliated 34 and Buddhists Jews have the highest median age 36 , more than a dozen years older than the youngest group, Muslims.

Therefore, new data are likely to emerge over the next few years. However, a datacollection cut-off had to be made at some point; this report is based on information available as of early For estimates of the religious composition of individual countries, see Religious Composition by Country table. For details on the methodology used to produce estimates of religious populations in countries and territories, see Appendix A.

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  • The basics of Christian history.

For a list of data sources by country, see Appendix B. There are some minor differences between the estimates presented in this study and previous Pew Forum estimates of Christian and Muslim populations around the world. These differences reflect the availability of new data sources, such as recently released censuses in a few countries, and the use of population growth projections to update estimates in countries with older primary sources.

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  7. For more details, see the Methodology. This study is based on self-identification. It seeks to estimate the number of people around the world who view themselves as belonging to various religious groups. It does not attempt to measure the degree to which members of these groups actively practice their faiths or how religious they are.