Who Am I? World Religions Edition

Zoe Samuel

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

It is estimated that some 84 percent of the world's population belongs to a faith, though some people are involved more by habit than by their actual beliefs. About one-third of the world belongs to a Christian denomination of some sort and about one-fifth live under the umbrella of Islam. However, even these groups have multiple divisions within them, meaning that there are dozens of religions before you even go outside of the big names! Add to these Abrahamic faiths, the many religions of the Far East, Africa, India, and beyond, and there are hundreds of ways that people all over the world are currently connecting to the Divine. It's a beautiful, diverse, and confusing cornucopia, and the best part is that no one can be 100 percent sure which one has nailed the facts of our existence the most closely.

While there are certainly different origin stories for humanity and the universe in general, most religions do agree on some basic principles, like helping the less fortunate, being honest, not resorting to violence, except in self-defense, and not hogging all your good fortune to yourself. These are ideas that people from all faiths, and even those who find the entire idea of Divinity absurd, can get on board with, meaning that it's possible for us all to co-exist peacefully if we put our minds to it. Part of that means knowing about each other's beliefs and honoring and accepting them if they agree to reciprocate with the same respect. So take this quiz to see how much you know - and find out where the gaps might be!

I am a Christian sect, I date from the early Christian period, and I think the Fall was a great idea. Who am I?

Gnosticism is a mostly-Christian sect of heretics from the 2nd Century who regarded "gnosis" (Greek for knowledge) as the ultimate good. This means they thought that Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge was a grand idea, as it brought humanity closer to Divinity by increasing our knowledge.

I am one of the Abrahamic religions, I have 1.6 billion followers, and five pillars. Who am I?

Islam is the youngest of the three Abrahamic faiths. The prophets of the two older faiths are all included in its theology, which is largely aligned with its predecessors. It was founded by the prophet Mohammed in about 632 AD and its main holy book is the Koran, though it also regards the Bible very highly.

I believe in never injuring a living thing, I am nontheistic, and I believe in reincarnation. Who am I?

Jainism comes from India and was founded by the Jina Vardhamana Mahavira. Jains commit to honesty, chastity (not celibacy necessarily), not stealing, many-sidedness and not getting overly attached.

I was founded by a series of gurus, I am monotheistic, and I herald from the Punjab. Who am I?

Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak just over 500 years ago. Its founding beliefs are that all are equal before God, rejecting the caste system of its native India.

I'm from the Far East, one of my main figures is Mencius, and my founder might just be the most misquoted fellow on the internet. Who am I?

Confucianism is a human-centered religion that can coexist with a person's other faith, as it is more a philosophy than a religion for some people. Its beliefs include ancestor reverence and simply being nice to people when you can.

I am the oldest Abrahamic faith, I explicitly encourage followers to question my tenets and God alike, and I have about 15 million followers. Who am I?

Judaism is among the most ancient monotheistic religions, being at least 3,500 years old. The Bible is its key text, with the Torah (the first five books) being the most prominent. Judaism has 613 "mitzvot" or commandments, the most noted 10 of which are very famous indeed.

I am notably found in Scotland, I involve layfolk in the hierarchy, and I am a Christian denomination. Who am I?

Presbyterianism is usually found in Scotland. It is a Protestant branch of Christianity whereby things are handled by a minister working in conjunction with elected community elders.

I am the biggest Christian sect, the most hierarchical, and my first leader was called Peter. Who am I?

Catholicism is the biggest Christian branch and was entirely dominant for the first 1,500 years of Christianity prior to the Reformation. It has more than 1.3 billion adherents and is noted for beliefs such as opposition to fornication (that is, any sexual relations outside of a heterosexual marriage where procreation is the goal).

I have about 80 million followers, I was founded by John Wesley, and I am a part of Christianity. Who am I?

Methodism is the brainchild of John Wesley, whose vigorous missionary work means it became widespread. It enjoys a great many different types of worship and is noted for its music, being especially popular in African-American churches .

I come from Persia, I am monotheistic, and I am also known as Mazdayasna. Who am I?

Zoroastrianism is a pre-Islamic faith in Persia - modern-day Iran - which has about 190,000 remaining adherents still living. It lasted for about 1,000 years as the dominant theology in Persia before Islam came along.

I am found in Greece and Russia (in various forms), I am noted for my priests' enormous beards, and I see bishops as heirs of the apostles. Who am I?

Eastern Orthodoxy is a faith found mostly in Greece. It involves really big beards, even bigger hats, and maintains that it practices the original Christian faith, unlike what it holds to be the diluted practices of other denominations.

I am known as the Religious Society of Friends, I come from 17th century England, and I have the best oats. Who am I?

Quakers come from England but are mostly found in America and Africa now. There are about 400,000 in the world. Beliefs include the idea that all humans have a little spark of Divine goodness in them and it is up to us to find it and bring it out.

I don't believe in miracles, I do believe in a Prime Mover God, and I came about during the Enlightenment. Who am I?

Deism is a faith that agrees there is a God but doubts that God is involved in running the world from day to day, meaning it's up to us to live well and not expect help. American Founders, like Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, were deists, and their ideas forged the principle that America is a place of religious freedom.

I demand empiricism, I reject the Divine, and I am only arguably a religion at all. Who am I?

Humanism is the idea that humanity is prime and there is no Divinity up there to answer to. We just have to figure stuff out for ourselves.

My church was founded in 1966, I am politically very active in demanding equal rights, and I see God less as a good guy than as a patriarchal figure. Who am I?

Satanism is not actually all about sacrificing and drinking blood, though the Inquisition certainly claimed it was. It is more about not bowing too much to God and also trolling the heck out of various extreme Christian sects in the U.S. that have tended to try to bend the law to their beliefs, usually by copying whatever they're doing to make it look silly.

I am pre-Christian, a lot of Celts followed me, and I am polytheistic. Who am I?

Paganism is what early Roman Christians called the religions of the British which they found predated Roman conquest. It is bigger than that, though, with branches through the pre-Christian world. It is still around, with concepts like experiencing the Divine directly instead of through a priest or hierarchy and being in connection with nature.

I am the un-religion, Richard Dawkins is as close as I get to a high priest, and my nuttier adherents invoke evolutionary psychology as if their take on it is gospel. Who am I?

While atheism is not itself a religion, movement atheism has taken on the attributes of one, with a philosophy and a set of elders who guide and fight for what they believe. It has suffered from an issue over notable members co-opting religious sentiments like male domination over women and trying to reframe such traditions as inevitable and natural, therefore right.

I am distinctly anti-Catholic, I've been around about 500 years, and I started with a note pinned to a church door. Who am I?

Protestantism is what the many branches of Christianity are called that split with Rome during the Reformation. They got a powerful ally when Henry VIII of England ditched the Catholic faith over the handling of his divorce from Katharine of Aragon and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn.

I have over 1 billion followers, I am polytheistic, and I am the biggest faith in India. Who am I?

Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world and the biggest in India. Its beliefs include the idea that you will reincarnate as whatever creature your deeds in this life cause you to deserve. It also has a really excellent variety of deities, including Ganesh, the elephant-headed god.

I am a very extreme sect within Sunni Islam, I was founded to prop up the Saudi monarchy, and I demand absolute female subservience. Who am I?

Wahhabism or Salafism is an extremist sect within Islam that was founded largely to support the Saudi monarchy and expanded in the 1970's and 1980's in order to "out-Islam" the Iranian ayatollahs. Al-Wahhab, its founder, believed in female submission, forced conversion of all unbelievers, and violent jihad. Whether or not people know it when they refer to radical Islam, they are nearly always invoking a belief that comes from the Wahhabist or Salafist minority, who are actually only 3.8 percent of the world's Muslims. For example, in mainstream Islam, "jihad" is used not so much to talk about killing unbelievers but to discuss the struggle within yourself to be your best, kindest, most charitable self.

I am a branch of Islam, I come from the Punjab in India, and I date from the 1880's. Who am I?

Ahmadiyya is a part of Islam that comes from India and is deeply pacifist in nature. Many British Muslims are Ahmadis. They often suffer from persecution by more extreme sects who regard them as heretics. Ahmadi understanding of "jihad" comes in three types: the struggle to overcome your basest instincts (e.g. greed, lust), the peaceful spreading of God's word, and taking up arms only in defense.

I am a parody religion, my symbol is a collander, and I am all about religious freedom. Who am I?

Pastafarians are a sort-of religious group founded in the USA to fight against religious overreach by zealots from more serious faiths. They demand equal treatment under the law for their customs, which they say they ought to get as long as similar guarantees are made to other groups. Beliefs include the idea that the world was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster, and prayers end with the word "ramen."

I am a fictional religion, I was part of a campaign to get on the U.K. census form, and I believe in an energy field that surrounds us and binds us. Who am I?

Yep, you guessed it: this one is jedism. While it's not a real religion, it was part of a campaign to get 10,000 British people to say they were members on the census form, which would have required the government to ensure certain rights for Jedi.

I used to be somewhat popular in Hollywood, I require personality tests, and I believe that people are full of something called thetans. Who am I?

Scientology was created by a writer named L. Ron Hubbard who wanted to prove that he could get people to believe just about anything. Traditions include giving birth silently, auditing (which means telling the church all your secrets), and not trusting the profession of psychiatry.

About a third of American presidents were members, you can be in any other religion while a member, and rituals involve a set of tools and a little apron. Who am I?

Freemasonry is actually not a religion, according to itself, but you have to be religious - not necessarily Christian - to join. It's a brotherly order that came about when masons would travel from town to town for work and get connected to one another to find jobs and guarantee the quality of their work. You can visit a Freemason lodge and get a tour, which is a lot of fun.

Many of my followers were burned, I am close to paganism, and I believe in female strength and power. Who am I?

Wicca is a pagan religion which is mostly female oriented. It involves witchcraft, spells, and staying in touch with nature and the Divinity of creation.

I come from Japan, I'm 3,000 years old, and I have about five million followers. Who am I?

Shintoism was the dominant faith of imperial Japan and is a religion based in the Divinity that is spread throughout creation and nature. It has many shrines that are usually in beautiful locations. Many Buddhists also practice Shintoism.

I am a Native American faith, I have Christian elements, and I enjoy shaking off sin. Who am I?

Tschadam is an Indian Shaker Religion that brings together Christian and Native American beliefs. The name of "shaker" comes from a ritual in which participants shake off their sins, literally and metaphysically.

I am known as the Longhouse Religion, I began among the Seneca, and I am now popular among all the Iroquois nations. Who am I?

The Longhouse Religion, as this is primarily known, mixes Christian elements with Iroquois ones. It is still practiced by the Six Nations, which are members of the original Iroquois Confederacy.

I come from Persia, I am only 170 years old, and I teach that all religions are valuable. Who am I?

The Baha'i religion came from Persia - nowadays known as Iran - and has about 7.3 million followers in the world. It is all about unity, of God, humanity, and faiths.

I claim a Jewish heritage, I believe Jesus is the messiah, and I am syncretic. Who am I?

Theologically, Messianic Judaism is actually more a Christian than a Jewish faith, as it accepts the fundamental Christian belief that Jesus Christ is the messiah. However, its own traditions regard it as being of Jewish origin and thus not Christian.

I am known for knocking on your door, I am millenarian restorationist, and I am nontrinitarian. Who am I?

Jehovah's Witnesses emerged around the 1870s and now number up to 20 million members. They are usually pacifists and refuse to fight in wars. They also refuse certain medical treatments. Contrary to myth, however, they are allowed to drink alcohol.

I am mostly found in the Mountain states, my founder is named Joseph Smith, and I am the main topic of a very successful musical. Who am I?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism, is a religion founded in 1800's America by Joseph Smith. It was affectionately lampooned in the musical, "The Book of Mormon," but scored a lot of points with everyone for taking the parody in good spirit and even using it to evangelize with the slogan, "You've seen the show, now read the book!" Most Mormons live in and around the U.S. state of Utah.

I am from Mesopotamia, most followers are Kurds, and I believe that God put the world under the guidance of seven holy angels. Who am I?

Yazidism is a religion that combines all three Abrahamic faiths and elements of Zoroastrianism. Ethnic cleansing has been carried out against Yazidis recently by ISIS, where many have been murdered or enslaved. Yazidis believe in one God and seven holy angels who help look after the world on behalf of said God.

I am a precursor of voodoo, I hail from Africa, and I am mostly practiced by members of Gbe-speaking tribes and peoples. Who am I?

Vodun is a West African faith that comes before Christianity and Islam. The name comes from the vodun spirits who imbue the world and all its parts, and are of varying degrees of power. Vodun has persisted despite strong missionary activity from the Abrahamic faiths.

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