The Different Types of Religion


In history, religion has been a central force in society. It has played a positive role, as in the Protestant Reformation, but it has also played a negative role, as evidenced by the wars of religion in Europe. Today, religion is seen as a source of repression and social instability. Critics view religion as irrational and inexplicable, as a system of belief that is untestable.


Toleration of religion is not a policy that tries to eliminate religion altogether. There are principled arguments for tolerance, but these arguments don’t specifically target religion. For example, in Canadian and American constitutional law, religion is given special treatment, but toleration of religion is not the same as allowing religion.

Coercion of religious belief

The Catholic Church has long held the right to coerce people into religious belief. While the Church has no formal jurisdiction over unbaptized people, it has the right to enforce its doctrines and laws. It also has a duty to carry out the mission of the Church. In order to enforce its jurisdiction, the Church has used coercion, both spiritually and earthly. While it cannot coerce unbaptized people into religion, it can use coercion to defend its jurisdiction against false proselytizing.


Restorationism is a branch of Christianity that rejects much of contemporary Christianity in favor of a return to the ways of Jesus. The Mormon church is an example of a restorationist church.

Totemistic religions

Totemistic religions are based on animal spirits and are associated with tribes, families, or local groups. They may be patrilineal or matrilineal and can be complex or simple. Some totems may represent parts of an animal or plant. Others are more complicated and may be classified as “principal” or “subsidiary” totems.


Animism is a religion based on the belief in the existence of spirits and other spiritual beings. This belief was first documented by Sir Edward Burnett Tylor in his work Primitive Culture (1871). While none of the major world religions are animistic, most tribal religions are. This fact makes an ethnographic understanding of animism important in studying the religion.

Deist religions

Deist religions reject the idea of divine revelation and instead assert that the best source of divine knowledge is empirical reason and observation of nature. Generally speaking, this is a rationalistic position.

Animist religions

Animists believe in the power of spirits to guide humans. They believe that spirits are real and have every trait of man, including the ability to do good and evil. Animists try to influence spirits by performing elaborate ceremonies and urging them to behave in a certain way. Some of these spirits are hostile to people and communities, while others are more amicable.

Monotheistic religions

Monotheistic religions are based on a belief in a single creator god. Monotheistic religions include Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Judaism has traditionally practiced monotheism, and uses the term ‘Shituf’ to refer to non-monotheistic ways of worshiping God. Muslims, for example, venerate Jesus as a prophet, but reject the idea that he is God’s begotten son. Lastly, Rastafari is a new religion, based on a social movement without a central authority. People who follow this religion are often known as Rastafarians.

Religions that descend from Abraham

Abraham is a central figure in three of the world’s major monotheistic religions, as a patriarch, father of faith, and ancestor of the Israelites. According to the Book of Genesis, God called Abraham to the Promised Land, and he was promised that his offspring would multiply and become great. Abraham’s descendants are regarded as the fathers of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. However, the story of Abraham and his children raises many theological and historical questions.

Religions that accept many gods

The term polytheism is used to refer to a group of religions that accept multiple gods. Some examples of polytheistic religions are Hinduism, Shinto, Pantheism, and Voodoo. Some polytheistic religions also include a belief in numerous ghosts and demonic forces. These supernatural forces are often malevolent and lead people astray.