By Sammy Said | 8 December 2013
A lot of people believe in the existence of a god that will help save a person’s soul. Preserving the institution that can help you believe in God requires a lot of money however. Here are the 10 richest religions in the world.
10. The Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is devoted to the promotion of the belief system of Scientology. L. Ron Hubbard established the religion in 1952, succeeding an earlier self-help system that he had set up called Dianetics. The church was incorporated the following year in New Jersey. It has gained celebrity adherents along the way, the most famous of which is Tom Cruise. The religion is based on subscription, with members going up in rank as one pays a required fee. The highest rank is Operating Thetan VIII that costs around $256,000. The church once spent more than $3 million to purchase some gold bullion and more than $14.1 million for a cruise ship.
While Freemasonry is not really a religion in the real sense of the word, its members are required to believe in a supreme being. A vast majority of its members are rich and high net worth individuals. Some people believe that Freemasonry is actually the richest organization in the world. Its members are said to be powerful and their symbol even appears on the dollar bill and the seal of the United States. Masonic lodges can be found all over the world.
Protestantism is a division of Christianity. It actually involves any denomination in the Christian world that deny the authority of the pope in Rome. It affirms the principles of the Reformation and believes in the primacy of the Bible as the only source of truth. There are probably over 33,000 Protestant denominations, but it all started in 1517 when Martin Luther reacted against the medieval doctrines and practices being followed by the Catholic Church at the time. Research in the United States shows that Protestants are in the middle in terms of wealth accumulated by its believers.
Televangelism is not exactly a religion but rather, it is an element of Christianity where believers are addressed by a minister through television broadcasts. It also adheres to Christian principles, but it focuses on personal morality as viewed by preachers. Televangelism relies mainly on advertisements, donations and merchandise; all these are done free of tax. Television evangelists are known to live a luxurious life, building expensive homes and traveling by private jets. Put together, it is estimated to be a $2.3 billion business.
The Episcopal Church traces its origins to the Church of England in the American colonies. It is the 14th largest denomination in the United States with almost two million members. The church split from Anglicanism as clergy of the Church of England are made to swear allegiance to the British monarch. Aside from the United States, it has dioceses in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Taiwan. Its members are considered to have attained the most wealth among all religious believers in the United States.
5. The Church of England
In a way, the Church of England is also a form of Protestantism. It was only formed because of the desire of the King of England, Henry VIII, to get a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. It was something that the Catholic Church would not give him. Also known as Anglicanism, it used to be the biggest landowner in Great Britain. It sold off most of the land to build up an investment portfolio of $6.7 billion that earns more than $255 million each year. It also gets more than $320 million in donations and $400 million through its events and services.
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is considered to be one of the fastest-growing and richest religions in the world. Its members are called Mormons and can be found everywhere, from Scandinavia to Japan. At the turn of the 21st century, Mormon assets were already being estimated to be at over $30 billion. It also has an annual revenue of $6 billion, with nearly 90 percent of the amount coming from member contributions called tithing, in which members are required to give 10 percent of their entire income.
Those practicing Judaism are said to have accumulated the most wealth among all believers in religions in the United States. This is not stereotype profiling, as Jews are known to be adept in the world of business. It actually came from a sociological research done in the country. Though Judaism is monotheist, it is not homogenous as it does have a lot of different views. The largest streams and movements are Rabbinic Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism. Aside from its homeland in Israel, its members also have enough economic clout in the United States to form a powerful lobby that can influence and sway the decisions of political leaders.
Islam is a monotheistic religion that is the second largest and one of the fastest growing in the world. While Muslims are found all over the world, most of them live in sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia, South Asia and the Middle East. As a result, Muslims actually have control of the abundant oil found in the Middle East. Some of the richest countries in the world follow strict Islamic laws. Estimates in 2012 put the assets of the Islamic financial industry alone to be at nearly $1.6 trillion.
1. Roman Catholic Church
Catholic priests are expected to make a vow of poverty, so it is ironic that the church is actually the richest religion in the world. The Catholic Church owns some of the greatest art works ever made. It also has vast gold deposits and billions of dollars in assets. It also earns a significant amount of income from the tourism sector as the Vatican is considered an independent city-state. It also has more than a billion members around the world.
Animated map shows how religion spread around the world
Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook