Oldest Religions In The World And How They Formed

The oldest forms of worship that can be traced back to ancient times are animism, shamanism and the worship of ancestors. Such kinds of worship were prevalent around 300,000BCE. The oldest organized form of religions is Hinduism followed by Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The origin of Hinduism was in India, while Jainism, as well as Buddhism, originated in Nepal, Taoism in China and Judaism in Israel. Other old forms of religion are Shintoism which is a Japanese spiritual belief and practice. Other old forms of worship are Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, and pantheism.


When we refer to old forms of religion, we refer to evidence of organized form of religions that were practiced based on certain rituals.  Ritual burials were in vogue as early as 300,000 years back. In the pre-organized form of worship, ancestor worship played a large role as well. Shamanism was the practice of people going into an altered form or state of consciousness that allowed them to communicate with animals or spirits. The evidence of such forms of practices is seen in cave paintings, some that date back to 320,000 BCE. These practices related to animism as well, which was a belief that all things have a spirit or soul.

Among the ancient organized religions, polytheism was a belief that included several goddesses and gods. Such a practice was seen in several societies such as among the ancient Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Sumerians and other ancient societies. Most polytheistic religions had similar deities like water deities, mother goddesses, and love and creator deities. Hence, different cultures have similar deities in their ancient religions. Among the oldest religions, Hinduism is a major organized religion in India. It was formed based on different traditions, beliefs, and mythologies across different regions in the country. The two main movements are the cult of Vishnu which is known as Vaishnavism and that of Shiva that is known as Shaivism. Dharma or the ideal way of living is the main doctrine of Hinduism and the belief in karma or the cycle of actions and reactions which result in reincarnation or how the soul moves from one body to another.

Judaism is considered the matrix on which Islam and Christianity developed and is an ancient religion. The belief propagated by this religion is the belief in one God. The Hebrew Bible is considered the oldest religious book of this belief. This religion has a legal status in the Jewish community which establishes a criminal and civil justice system, how family relationships should be, personal values and social responsibilities. Buddhism was formed in the 6th century BCE by Siddhartha Gautama. It became one of the successful religious movements to spread across Asia and India.a