Religion saves dating

Based in the northernmost regions of the Indian subcontinent (most likely in present-day Nepal) roughly between the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, he was the founder and leader of his own monastic order, one of many sects (known as Śramana) that existed across the region at the time.His teachings began to be codified shortly after his death, and continue to be followed one way or another (and with major discrepancies) by at least 400 million people to this day.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.

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Extremely influential over the development of the Abrahamic tradition, it was the state religion of various Persian empires until the Muslim conquest of the 7th century CE, and survives in parts of Iran, India, and Iraq to this day, reportedly followed by some 200,000 people.

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.

All spiritual systems have roots in beliefs dating back millennia – meaning that the main differences between each are found elsewhere: in their codification and general uniformity, and the age of their wider precepts.

Not included, then, are the various animistic and shamanistic traditions (counting the Chinese folk religion, which lacks consistency and is partly constructed on Taoist and Confucian beliefs), as well as the modern revival of ancient religions such as Neopaganism or Mexicayotl (both traditions that were for a long time eradicated, and may differ in important ways from their original conception).

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