Can You Identify the Religion From a Photo?

By: Jacqueline Samaroo
Image: By Ratomir Wilkowski,, from Wikimedia Commons

About This Quiz

Do you believe in yourself? Here's a comprehensive world religions quiz to put your knowledge of belief systems to the ultimate test!

Human beings have always felt a need to explain their existence, and because of this, religion is as old as mankind. Some religions have remained strong and vibrant throughout millennia, while others have faded away within a few decades. 

It's no surprise really that most of the religions which enjoy the largest following today are those that have been in existence for thousands of years. Quite a few of them had their origins in the same region of the world, and their stories begin with the same major characters. Take the Abrahamic religions or the religions of India, for instance -  think you have what it takes to tell them apart? We believe in you, so take the quiz!

The world's major religions are fairly easy to spot, but what about those intriguing indigenous religions from various corners of the globe - do you know those? Ancient civilizations in the Americas, for example, had their own complex belief systems, signs of which can still be seen in how the present-day people of the region worship. No doubt you know history well enough to pick those religions out from among the rest. Consider this quiz your rite of passage to prove you do!

If you ever aced Religious Studies 101, then identifying all of these religions should be a breeze! It's time to put a little faith in what you know - start the quiz!

Judaism ranks among the oldest of world religions and is considered to be the forerunner of several other monotheistic Abrahamic religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Rastafari, Shabakism and the Bahá'í Faith. It has over 15 million adherents, putting it among the top ten religions in the world today.

Christianity has over 2 billion followers and is the most widely practiced religion in the world. The religion centers around a belief in one God, as well as the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ.

With an estimated 1.8 billion followers, Islam is the world’s second largest religion, after Christianity. The word “Islam” literally translates to “surrender,” an idea which is a focal point of the religion, as adherents (Muslims) accept that they must surrender to the will of Allah, the god of Islam.

The Bahá'í Faith was founded in Iran in 1863 by Bahá'u'lláh (a title meaning “Glory of God”). It is one of the youngest major religions in the world, and its followers believe that each religion has a true and valid origin. The Bahá'í Faith teaches that Bahá'u'lláh, Moses, Muhammad and Jesus Christ were all messengers from God.

This is the world’s third largest religion, with over 1 billion followers worldwide, most of them in India. It has been estimated that 80% of India’s population are Hindus. Hinduism is sometimes regarded as the oldest religion in the world and is closely related to other religions of India, such as Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

Sikhism has over 20 million followers and is regarded as one of the world’s major religions. It is the youngest major religion, having been founded in the 16th century by Guru Nanak in the Punjab region of present-day India and Pakistan. Guru Nanak was the first in a line of ten human gurus in the religion’s history. Followers of Sikhism now believe that their holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, is the last and eternal living guru.

The origins of Rastafari (or Rastafarianism) can be traced back to the 18th century, but its development as a religion began in Jamaica in the 1930s. Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie (1892 – 1975) is regarded by some Rastafarians as a prophet of God and to others he was God in the flesh. One of the religion’s most popular adherents was reggae icon Bob Marley.

Confucianism grew out of the teachings of Confucius (551 - 479 BCE). He is regarded as the most renowned philosopher and political theorist China has ever produced. Confucianism, along with Buddhism and Taoism, is considered to be one of the major traditional religions of China.

Buddhism has over 470 million followers and is regarded as one of the major religions in the world. It was found by Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha) in India sometime between the 4th and 6th centuries BCE. The ideas, philosophies and practices of Buddhism have become prominent throughout much of Central, East and Southeast Asia.

The Maya are native to southern Mexico, Guatemala and northern Belize. Traditional Maya religion is believed to have existed for over 2,000 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Since then, the Maya religion has become amalgamated with elements of Christianity, in particular Roman Catholicism.

The history of the Sabians is linked to Islam, Judaism and Christianity. This Middle Eastern religious group is mentioned alongside Christians and Jews three times in the Qur'an.

The ancient African Kingdom of Dahomey was located in what is now the country of Benin in West Africa. The religion of the Dahomey (or Fon) people was largely centered around royal ancestor worship and vodun cosmology (a form of spirit worship) from which religious practices such as Vodou in the Western world are derived.

The Yoruba religion is practiced by the Yoruba people who are native to West Africa in areas of Nigeria, Togo and Benin. Yoruba is considered to be an ancient tradition which has influenced several other religious practices in the region, as well as the present day-to-day culture of the people.

The nomadic Maasai people are native to adjoining regions of Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa. The Maasai religion involves a belief in one god, Engai, who has equal and opposite good and evil natures: Black Engai is kind and forgiving, while Red Engai is unforgiving and merciless. Within the Maasai religion, it is believed that the Ol Doinyo Lengai, an active volcano in Tanzania, is the “Mountain of God.”

Jainism is an ancient Indian religion which has non-violence toward all living things as one of its main teachings. Although Jainism has some concepts in common with Hinduism and Buddhism, it is considered to be an entirely separate religion. There are approximately 4 million adherents to Jainism worldwide, but most Jains are found in India.

Bábism is sometimes referred to as the Bábí religion or Bayání Faith. It has its roots in Islam and was founded in 1844 by ‘Ali Muhammad Shirazi who was the first to take on the title of Báb (meaning “gateway”). Bábism is regarded as the forerunner of the Bahá'í Faith.

Cao Dai is a monotheistic religion which has its origins in southern Vietnam in 1921. The religion bears much in common with Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and Roman Catholicism. Cao Dai recognizes many saints, including Joan of Arc, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Julius Caesar, Buddha, Confucius and French novelist Victor Hugo.

Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest religions still in existence. This Iranian pre-Islamic religion is thought to have also influenced the development of both Judaism and Christianity. Over time, Zoroastrianism, which dates back to the 5th century BCE, has spread to become prominent in India, mainly due to Iranian immigrants in that country.

Shabakism is described as having grown out of a combination of several other religions and religious practices. Its adherents are the Shabak people of Iraq’s Kurdistan and Mosul regions. Shabaks generally refer to themselves as either Shia or Sunni Muslims, but Shabakism is regarded as a religion in its own right, separate and apart from Islam.

Bhakti is a movement within Hinduism which emphasizes a strong mutual love between a follower of Bkakti and his or her personal god. The Bhakti movement originated in South India sometime between the 7th and 10th centuries.

Druze is a small, close-knit religious sect originating in Egypt, with most of its present followers located in Syria, Lebanon and Israel. It is considered to be an offshoot of the Shia branch of Islam. The Druze do not allow persons to convert into or out of the religion.

Also called Chinese shamanism, Wuism refers to several traditional religious beliefs and practices in China. The shaman (male or female) within Wuism is known as a wu and is an integral part of Chinese folk religion in many regions of the country. Wuism is said to one of the predecessors of Taoism.

Shinto, which dates back to the 8th century, was the state religion of Japan up to 1945. Amaterasu, the Sun goddess and principal deity of Shinto, is considered to be the ancestor of Jimmu, founder of Japan’s imperial dynasty.

Throughout Central and Southern Africa, there are up to 600 ethnic groups which fall into the category of Bantu peoples. The groups have much in common when it comes to their mythology and religious practices. For instance, many believe in honoring spirits and that spirits cease to exist when there is no longer anyone who remembers them.

This religion has its roots in the small village of Meivazhi Salai in southern India. Meivazhi, also known as “The True Path,” teaches that there is only one god and that the goal of every individual is to know and reach God. Meivazhi is a blend of influences from several other religions and beliefs but has developed its own holy writings known as the Meivazhi Vedas.

There are approximately 15 million followers of Muism, which is also known as Korean shamanism and Pungwoldo (Way of Brightness). The religion has some beliefs and practices in common with Japanese Shinto and Chinese Wuism.

Falun Gong translates to “Discipline of the Dharma Wheel” or “Dharma Wheel Practice.” The religion rose to prominence in China in the 1990s and became controversial, as the government labelled it a cult. Falun Gong highlights the traits of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance, and has some of its practices rooted in Taoism.

Wicca is considered to be one of the world’s modern religions. It is based on pre-Christian traditions found in northern and western Europe. Its rise as a modern Western practice began in England in the 1950s and is attributed to Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant, who spent much time in Asia where he gained an interest in elements of mysticism.

Yazdânism is an umbrella term for the religious faiths of the Kurdish people, including Yazidism, Yarsanism and Alevism. While the term “Yazdânism” is relatively new, having been coined by a 20th century Kurdish scholar, the roots of Yazdânism pre-date the three major religions of the region – Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Heathenry is both an old and new religion. The historical religion is a pre-Christian one practiced by people who lived in the North European regions around the North Sea. The modern Heathens are groups around the world who are reviving and expanding the practices, teachings and beliefs of the original group.

Around the 4th century BCE, the Druids were an educated class among the Celtic people of Europe. Apart from being religious leaders, the Druids were medical professionals, legal authorities and political advisors. Much of the mysticism which still surrounds their practices and beliefs in often attributed to the fact that Druids chose not to record anything about themselves in writing.

The Yazīdī are a Kurdish-speaking people found in regions of Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Armenia and Georgia. They are a religious minority and prohibit marriage outside of the Yazīdī community. Yazīdīsm is a monotheistic religion, the roots of which can be traced to Judaism, Christianity, Islam and various ancient Iranian religions.

This new religious movement was founded in the 1930s and is known more formally as Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. It was founded in India and according to its website, it is “the largest spiritual organization in the world led by women.”

Taoism is both a religion and a body of philosophy which has been indigenous to China for more than 2,000 years. Also spelt Daoism, this religion can be traced back to before the 4th century BCE. It is centered on the principles of essence, vitality and spirit (the Three Treasures), as well as naturalness, simplicity and spontaneity.

The Dinka people (also called Jieng) are native to areas along the river Nile but are especially concentrated in South Sudan. Their religious practices involve the spiritual leadership of priest-chiefs, called “Masters of the Fishing Spear, as well as a belief in ancestral spirits.

Mandaeism was founded in the third century in Persia by the prophet Mani who was also called the “Apostle of Light” and “Supreme Illuminator.” It is a dualistic religion, with its followers believing that the universe contains two equal opposing forces: good and evil.

Vodou (or Voodoo) is an Afro-Haitian religion which grew out of a mixture of Christianity and the beliefs and customs of the slaves who were brought to the country. Among the ethnic groups identified as ancestors to these slaves are Yoruba, Dahomey and Kongo people. Vodou also reflects some influence from the Taino (indigenous, pre-Columbian inhabitants of Haiti).

This new religious movement was founded in 1993 in Taiwan by Chen Hong-min, a sociology professor. Along with a belief in extraterrestrials intervening in the destiny of humans, Chen Tao also incorporates aspects of older, more established religions, such as Buddhism and Christianity. The movement somewhat dissipated after a series of failed prophecies.

Aztec religion involved a host of deities, festivals and rituals which permeated all aspects of daily life. It is often described as a mixture of pre-Aztec religions and the religions of other groups which the Aztecs came into contact with. Self-discipline, including the practice of abstaining from all forms of indulgence, was a central part of the Aztec religion.

The Din-i llahi religion is often described as being more of a system of ethics than an actual religion. It existed in the 16th century during the lifetime of the Mughal emperor Akbar, who sought to have members of his diverse society display acceptance of each other’s beliefs and practices. Din-i llahi’s total number of adherents was never more than 19.

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