I know that this may come as a surprise to many people but the 4th place position on the global classification chart of religions is held by human beings who are classified as NON-Religious. Surprisingly, 14% of all Earthlings, depending on the source, consider themselves, for lack of a better term, to be godless.
This hodge-podge group includes:
Dereligionized (sounds quite ominous) or Non-Religious Secularists such as Humanists & Agnostics, who are considered moderates and for the most part indifferent to religion, who account for 12%, and the remaining 2% are noted as Atheists.
It was interesting to discover that Israel has the 4th largest per capita collection of Atheists. Aside from some obvious (ex)Communist Countries Holland was 3rd, Britain 8th, and New Zealand 10th.
Just as the Christian category contains a diverse range of so-called adherents of the message of Yeshua bar Yusef, many of whom consider the others in the group to be heretical hell bent lunatics unworthy to be called true believers, so it is with this Non-religious group.
No matter how you slice it, individually people are either charming or tedious!
The majority of Non-believers are Agnostics, like myself, who are considered wishy washy, halfs-assed 'whatever' quitters by some of those hard-ass uppity know-it-all atheists. Just kidding, relax. My point being that in reality there isn't one big happy homogenous family to be found in any category. An uneasy truce exists in this pigeonhole just as it does in other groups. It makes it easier to make bar graphs.
The Non-Religious bunch is the fastest growing segment in NorthAmerica and now numerically represents about 14% of the population.
The present state of religious tension on the world stage has been provoked by the extreme fundamentalist elements on both sides. This can only increase the growing sentiments of many that religion has had it's chance (5,000 years) and can no longer function as the de facto and diagnostically untouchable moral governor and vehicle for developing charitable, temperate earthlings. WHO LET THE DOGMAS OUT
Here is a snapshot of the current religious status of the 6.5 Billion Earthlings:
+/- 2 Billion Christians
+/- 1 Billion Muslims
+/- 1 Billion Hindus
+/- 1 Billion Non-Religious
this accounts for roughly 5 Billion out of 6.5 Billion Earthlings.
add another Billion with the +/- 300 Million each: Chinese Traditionalists, Buddhists & Primal /Indiginous adherents.
that makes SIX BILLION PEOPLE.
Therefore the next largest groups all squeeze into the remaining 500,000,000 available spaces. These people are the adherents of Sikhism (23M) North Korean/ Juche (19 M) Judaism (14M) Jainism (4.2M) Shintoism (4M) Zoroastrianism (2.6 M) Rastafarians (600 K) Scientologists (500K) and so forth and so on.
Basically Earthlings are 86% Religious and 14% are not-so-much.
Demographers further assert that 54% of us are Monotheists, 20% Reincarnationists and 10% are miscellaneous ethno something or other.
Far be it for me to suggest what is true and what is not.
My personal foray into a walk of faith was handily obliterated by my inability to mesh the origin of our species with the plagarized Babylonian depiction of Creation that is inexplicably still presented as the truth in the Book of Genesis. However as a Secular Agnostic who prefers to be regarded as tolerant rather than wishy washy I am also a devout Integrationist.
This is of course very Politically Incorrect but I do not see any viable alternative. Historically we can see that Homo Escapeons tend to divide themselves into categories by Gender, Skin Colour and Religion. It has taken far too long to achieve a level playing field based on the simple genetic factors: Your ancestors goegraphic location determined your skin tone and your father's genetic material made you a male or a female. I remind you that all vertebrates begin as a female so it is interesting that
all of these gods are male!?
Personally, I find that blatant customary exterior displays of religion automatically establish an us or them menatlity. These situations create an uneasy in your face confrontational 'Go ahead make my day" scenario that is not exactly conducive to recognising that underneath that 'costume' is a 'naked ape' just like me.
Other forms of observing your faith may be less conspicuous. Circumcision for instance (You want me to snip my what?) is an interesting act of compliance that evolved into a cosmetic tradition. I found out how unpopular it is now when my sons were born OY YOY YOY! So before you get all snippy on me about about discarding our little turtlenecks you can see how personal this whole schmazola is.
In conclusion it may be stated that all religions were invented by 'some guy' regardless of whether you view their source as being divinely inspired or psychologically motivated. Many religious ideals extend from the sublime to the ridiculous but perhaps anything that can inspire people to be kinder to others is worth accepting all of the other stuff...does it really matter WHY people are being kind to others?
It certainly does matter if it is the reason WHY humans are killing other humans!
How you ACT towards others is far more important than what you THINK, though in the end they may be inseperable. We are going to be having this discussion until the final Mushroom cloud clogs the atomosphere with radioactive debris that will encircle the globe for ten thousand years.
What do we do until that happens????