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Unit 1: Redefining World Society and Culture

Lesson B: Division and Diffusion — World Belief Systems

Opening: Looking at World Belief Systems and Religions

There are dozens of major religions and belief systems practiced around the world. Most of these have histories stretching back thousands of years. However, for the most part, each region or country of the world today has only a few major religions. Normally the vast majority of any given population practices the same religion. Let us now look at a pie chart and a map to see what we can learn about the distribution of religions throughout the world.

percentage of religious population who practice a system
Note: Percentages are Rounded to the Closest Whole Number [1]


Map of religions of the world.

Distribution of World Religions [2]

image of classroom blackboard with world history written on it

Classroom Activity - Religious Beliefs Timeline

Discussion Icon Discussion

Directions: Prepare a response to the discussion questions below. Follow your teacher's directions to participate in your class discussion.

  • Are you surprised by any of the information in the chart and/or map? Why or why not?
  • Do you think that getting information from charts and maps is helpful?
  • What are some of the limitations from examining charts and maps? Which types of questions are not answered?
  • What questions do you have about the information in the chart or map?
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Select the link to review the Discussion Scoring Tool (pdf).


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Page Notes:

[1] Source: This pie chart was created based on information in the public domain.

[2] Source: This image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Religion_distribution.png is in the public domain.