To help you remember the many and diverse religions of the world, my seven categories of all religions past and present offer you assistance and support.
Modern Religion – the last of my categories – allows you to easily isolate the more recent religions from their ancient inspiration. A modern religion is any and all religion that has a founder or foundation after the beginning of the nineteenth century. Modern religion contains at least one, but most often several, of the following:
Modern religion contains at least one, but most often several, of the following: a connection with, or a correction on, one of the living world religions, dissatisfaction with modern industrial or technological culture, and a modern religion frequently offers an alternative culture and alternative lifestyle.
Modern religion regularly incorporates the discoveries or theories of contemporary science, borrows freely from modern psychology, and borrows freely from a variety of the religions of the past.
The majority of modern religions hold that modern life separates us from our real self, or destroys our soul, or teach that spiritual life is in direct conflict with the modern world.
It is also interesting for the student to note that the majority of the modern religions have an eschatological focus (concerning the end of the world or the end of humanity), or have an obsessive dissatisfaction with a particular nation-state or culture.
There are hundreds of modern religions most of which claim some orthodox practice of an ancient, Hindi or Chinese tradition, or claim to be a pure or orthodox form of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.
In this way, the student can introduce themselves to some of the very recent political religious groups, for example, the so called ‘Boko-Haram’ in Nigeria, as a Modern Religion. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13809501
Modern religion can also contain an aspiration for syncretism (the combining of different beliefs and traditions of different origin), or the desire to unite various religions, or the teaching that all religions have the same goal.
The Bahá’í and the Theosophical Society are examples of this openly syncretistic view.
image at top : The Mahikari-no-Waza Temple at Takayama, Japan. bottom image: The Theosophical Society headquarters of Chennai (Madras)