Many of the books are religion books that we own. The majority are books we have borrowed from libraries. These can generally be classified as 1) broad surveys of the major world religions; 2) more in depth examinations of one class of religions (i.e. "religious which began in America" or "mainline Protestant denominations"); or 3) books about a single religion (i.e., The Amish).
Other books are general reference works, such as atlases, encyclopedias, books of lists and statistics, almanacs, etc. We have also used government publications which contain census records, history books, geographical books which focus on a single region (i.e. Japan), and others.
We have used books which range from scholarly anthropological studies to children's books. Most of the material is from objective, academic, or sympathetic sources. It should be noted, however, that we have included some citations from opposing sources. These are sources (usually written by "anti-cult" groups, hate groups, or apologetics writers) which purport to expose the errors of minority religious groups, or whatever religious groups the writer doesn't approve of. Such material is usually intended to malign the targeted groups in an attempt to lessen their appeal to members of majority faith groups. Typically this class of writing is of little or no value for sociological research. But we have sometimes used statistics from some of the less vitriolic opposing sources. This is because we have found that--although their descriptions of theology and practice are unreliable--the adherent statistics in most opposing works are no less accurate than statistics from many other sources.
In many books the statistics we cite were obtained directly by the author through careful studies, surveys, historical research, etc. Many citations in books, however, are secondary -- the author has obtained them from another source. The original source, if known, is usually identified in our notes. Most books cited by Adherents.com are listed on the Print Resources page.
We add to the database (and the web site) all adherent statistic citations that we encounter, even including duplicate occurences of the same statistic if the same figures are cited by multiple authors. If one takes a careful look at our records, one can see that we have many citations which present original data, obtained by the authors, as well as citations which mention the exact same figures, sometimes giving credit to the original source and sometimes not, depending on the nature of the literature.
Some of the works cited most often by other authors are:
It could be pointed out that most of these religions are confined to a fairly restricted geographical region and often to single ethnic groups. The Major Religions of the World web page lists only 22 "major world religions." This is far fewer than the 150 religions Barrett lists which have 1 million or more adherents. This is because the list of "major world religions" only includes religions with a significant presence beyond a single country.
For the number of religions in the United States, the best source to consult is the excellent Encyclopedia of American Religions by J. Gordon Melton.
Long answer about how many religions there are in the world: I don't know. It depends on how you count the religions.
People often mean different things when they say "religion?" Do you mean individual denominations and religious bodies, or do you intend to count only broad "religions" (which are really classifications), counting Buddhism as one religion, Hinduism as a second religion, etc?
The Levels of Classification of Faith Groups document is useful in considering such terms as "religion", "denomination", "branch", etc., in a technical, taxonomic sense. But people do not always use the word "religion" in a taxonomic sense.
Also, there are countless definitions of "religion." In counting religions, do you only count groups that claim to be religions? Or do you add groups that religious scholars identify as religions? Or do you include all groups that sociologists identify as religions or pseudo-religions, including Animal Rights, Star Trek, Communism, Humanism, etc.
Frequently a useful identifying characteristic of a religion is its own insistence that it is not a religion. For instance, Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) adherents frequently say that they represent a "movement," or a form of "exercise" or a whole-life philosophy. But some of these statements may be based on legal realities within China rather than attempts to be linguistically precise. Other Falun Dafa adherents (and essentially all non-adherent observers) consider the movement a religion.
Likewise, Zen Buddhists, Sufis, Hindus, Jews, etc. all have among their numbers writers and leaders who point out that their movements are not "religions." It is not uncommon to hear Christians pointedly proclaim: "Christianity is not a religion. Islam and Judaism and Buddhism -- those are religions. But Christianity is a relationship with Jesus."
Of course, there's nothing wrong with saying that. But statements such as this are not useful in statistical research. In answer to the question, "How many religions are represented by the students on this college campus?", one would not expect to be given an answer such as: "3 percent are Jewish, 2 percent are Muslim, 1 percent are Buddhist, and 9 percent claim no religious affiliation." What about the other 85 percent? "They have a relationship with Jesus. But that's not a religion."
But statistically speaking, most people who consider themselves Christians are proud to be Christians, and have no problem with the notion that Christianity is their "religion."
The Adherents.com database has a large number of church/religious service attendance estimates for the United States in various year, for foreign countries, and for individual denominations and religious groups. However, statistics pertaining to affiliation, not attendance, are the primary focus of the database.
The easiest way to find attendance data is to go to the home page, click on the letter "B" so that the full "Religion by Name" index loads. (The home page only has groups which start with the letter "A.") Once the full "Religion by Name" index loads, use the browser FIND command (Command-F or Control-F) to look for the word "attend" on this page. You will find various links to attendance statistics.
For attendance statistics for the general population of various countries, the category with the most data is "attendance - weekly". These data are based primarily on polls (often done by Gallup) which ask the question: "Other than special events such as weddings and funerals, did you attend a religious service during the previous week?" Sociologists familiar with this area of research are aware that this question yields a higher-than-actual response. In general, the actual proportion of a country's population which is in attendance at religious services during the week is one-half to two-thirds what this polling question indicates. This particular polling question is more indicative of what proportion of the population thinks of itself as regular church-goers, rather than the proportion physically in attendance during a given week.
Attendance data is also available for specific denominations and religious groups. These data are available by clicking on links in the "Religion by Name" index such as "Catholic - attend weekly", "Protestant - attend weekly", "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - attend weekly", "Judaism - attend at least monthly", "Orthodox Judaism - attend weekly", etc. Data for specific denominations are generally more accurate than polling-based data.
Researchers may also be interested in a related statistic: The number of "active" members of various denominations. For instance, "Catholic - active", "Anglican - active". Who is counted as "active" varies with each denomination.
Researches may also be interested in "affiliated" data. General estimates of the proportion of the population which is "affiliated" (i.e., registered with a specific denomination, congregation, synagogue, etc.) are under the "affiliated" link. Estimates of the proportion of specific groups which are affiliated (i.e., "Judaism - affiliated") are also available.
Answer: One indicator that group or movement is functioning as the sociological equivalent of a religion is that its constituents strongly object to being classified as a religion. To say that something clearly non-religious such as "being blonde" or "being a Michael Jordan fan" is a religion would incite little or no protest. Blonde people and Michael Jordan fans have little group identity associated with blondeness or with Michael Jordan. Such a statement may appear to have so little meaningful truth in it, or be so innocuous, that they feel no need to counter it.
On the other hand, to say that the environmentalism is a religion is likely to draw protests by proponents who do not wish their movement to be associated with religions they or others don't like ("unwanted baggage"), who do not wish to think of themselves as a "member" of a religion other than another one they identify with, or who do not wish to lose the advantages a non-religious movement has in dealing with the public sphere (schools, government, media, etc.). Transcendental meditation is one recent example of a religious movement which had considerable latitude in introducing itself into public schools and government programs, until it was recognized as a religion.
Essentially all religions have adherents who claim that their religion is not a religion. This could even be considered one of the distinguishing characteristics of a religion. An oft-repeated sermon proclaims that "Christianity is not a religion; it is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ." There is nothing wrong or false about this statement when considered in the context of a sermon, a person's sincerely held belief, or a marketing campaign. But the slogan "Christianity is not a religion" is irrelevant to sociologists studying and describing the importance of religion in the lives of people. Such a statement is even more irrelevant to statisticians and demographers. However often this sentiment is repeated, it is unlikely that pollsters and census takers charged with counting a country's population will stop counting all self-identified Christians and simply group them with others who profess "No Religion." You are probably never hear a religious statistician say: "The largest religion in the United States is Judaism. What about Christianity? Oh, that's not a religion. We group them with atheists and agnostics and people who have no religious preference."
Similarly, many Muslims say something like "Islam is not a religion; it is a way of life." One can find Buddhists who say "Buddhism is not a religion but rather a science of mind." Some people say "Judaism is not a religion but rather a nation." "Confucianism is not a religion, rather a set of rules regarding relationships." "Sikhism is not a religion -- it's a reality of the factual experience!" "Hinduism is not a religion, it is a Dharma." "Wicca is not a religion but a way of life." "Transhumanism is not a religion; it is a philosophy." "Ethical Veganism is not a religion; it is a lifestyle." All of these statements are true - from the perspective of the adherents making these statements. We have absolutely no argument with the belief that Islam is a way of life, Buddhism is a science of the mind, Judaism is a nation, Confucianism is a set of rules, Sikhism is a reality of factual experience, Hinduism is a Dharma, and Wicca is a way of life. But if none of these belief systems are religions, it makes the compilation of religious statistics and data impossible. For the sociologist and for the statistician (as for most people), these are all religions. Claims about not being a religion are pithy slogans contrived by people inventing a new definition of "religion" for the express purpose of emphasizing the benefits of their particular religious preference.
Pointing out that the "my religion is not a religion" notion has no importance in sociological and statistical research should not be viewed as criticism of people who say that Christianity or any other religion is "not a religion." To be fair, most Christians think this notion is a bit silly and don't try to tell people that their religion isn't a religion. They recognize that the word "religion" is neutral, not pejorative, and that essentially all people have a religion. What is important to researchers is how people believe and act, not what word or label is used to categorize the basis for their beliefs.
We rarely maintain information specific down to the city level. Only for a few large cities do we have very much information, and it's already on the web site. (Some of these cities are Houston, New York City, Los Angeles and some others, as listed on the Location Index. Occasionally we have one or two statistics for other cities, but not enough to provide a picture of the overall religious makeup of the city.) You might try looking in your local phone book under churches or religious organizations. That won't tell you percentages, of course, but it will give you a non-comprehensive idea about what denominations are there.
As for counties, you may also be able to obtain data from the national statistical/census government agency in your country. Countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand include a thorough religious preference question in their census. The United States, however, has not done so since 1936.
For the United States, probably the best source of nation-wide county-level data is the American Religion Data Archive (but you'll have to do a little digging and processing).
We have already downloaded the 1990 (latest available) data set, which has figures for about 130 denominations for all U.S. counties. We have written some programs to extract data from the raw data files, but it's really too much information to put on our web site. So if you really need information for a specific county, or information for a specific state that you don't see on Adherents.com, let us know and we might be able to send you the data.
Nationwide, in the U.S., this is an easier question to answer. Gallup, Harris, and other polls, including Kosmin (1990 survey of 113,000 Americans) consistently indicate that between about 91 and 96% of Americans say they believe in God.
A worldwide figure is more difficult to ascertain, but a recent estimate based on a country-by-country study is available. Pitzer College sociologist Phil Zuckerman compiled country-by-country survey, polling and census numbers relating to atheism, agnosticism, disbelief in God and people who state they are non-religious or have no religious preference. These data were published in the chapter titled "Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns" in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, ed. by Michael Martin, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK (2005).
Zuckerman totaled the survey-based and poll-based estimates of non-believers from the top 50 countries with the highest proportion of people who do not believe in God, and added to this number the non-believers from highly populous countries (Mexico, Poland, Moldova Romania, Georgia, Uzbekistan, India, Ireland, and Chile). The remaining countries had proportionately miniscule populations of atheists/agnostics/non-believers. Zuckerman concluded, "the grand total worldwide number of atheists, agnostics, and non-believers in God is somewhere between 504,962,830 and 749,247,571."
The lower and higher numbers reflect that differences from different studies and surveys conducted in each country. The higher number (almost 750,000,000 people worldwide who don't believe in God) is calculate using the highest possible number from each country. If one postulates that even that number is too conservative and raises it to 800,000,000 worldwide who don't believe in God, that means that 12.4% of the world total of 6,437,993,942 people (26 April 2005, U.S. Census Bureau figure) don't believe in God or are agnostic or undecided. Using the lower figure (504,962,830) would mean that 7.8% of the world's population does not believe in God. Conversely, 87.6 to 92.2% of the world's population has a stated belief in God or a Higher Power.
Keep in mind that these figures are from an academic book entirely dedicated to the study of atheism, and this study is from a very atheist-friendly chapter. Much of the chapter extols the statistically ascertained positive social health indicators seen disproportionately in countries with high levels of "organic" atheism (rather than government-forced atheism). Also, this study isn't simply based on the relatively small number of people who identify themselves as "atheists." The study counts people who answer a number of different questions designed to determine belief in God.
In evaluating these numbers, keep in mind that "nonreligious" is not the same thing as "atheist" or "agnostic." Many of those who identify themselves as nonreligious do claim to believe in God. Such people simply don't consider themselves a member or adherent of any specific religion. Philosophically or intellectually, they believe God exists, but they may have a personalized form of spirituality, or feel that affiliation with a specific religion is unnecessary. For some people, the question of whether or not they believe or disbelieve in God may seem to not be of immediate concern. Such people may be so "undecided" that they aren't even agnostic; they may spend no more time considering ontological questions than most people spend choosing a favorite Latvian composer.
The precise number of people who believe in God depend on how the question is defined. Most people take no exception to the traditional view of God/Higher Power presented by the religious group they consider themselves a part of. But many individuals have a more personalized or more vague view.
The Adherents.com database is focused primarily on religious and tribal affiliation data (what groups people are a part of), more than on polling data. Belief in God or a Higher Power usually, but doesn't necessarily, correspond to religious group affiliation.
The Adherents.com database has some actual polling and survey data citations about the percentages of people in a few specific countries who profess belief in God. That data is in the "religion by name" database under "poll - believe in God". Related categories are "poll - disbelieve in God," "agnostic", "atheism" and "nonreligious."
Europe (by choice) and Communist nations (often by force) are the places where belief in God has been lowest. Many former Communist nations, such as Poland, have turned out to have among the highest degrees of religiosity and belief in God once restrictions were relaxed, or "official" government figures were no longer the sole barometer. Cuba and Vietnam both have extremely high levels of religiosity, interest in spirituality, and belief in God compared to many surrounding countries, even while still under Communist rule, now that many restrictions have been relaxed.
Even in China the Christians are among the most devout in the world, although a minority of probably less than 4% of the population, and there are entire provinces which are almost entirely Muslim, in the Eastern parts of the country.
U.S. polls consistently show between about 92 and 95% of the population expressing belief in God. India, with about 1 billion people, is almost universally religious, with most of the population being Hindu, Muslim, or Christian, along with many Jains, Zoroastrians, and Buddhists, almost all of whom believe in God.
Breaking the world down by religions, there are over 1 billion Muslims in the world, and over 2 billion Christians, and easily over 750,000 million Hindus. All of these religions, and most of the people who consider themselves adherents, express belief in God (or Atman or Allah, or some version of Higher Power).
The world's 20+ million Sikhs certainly believe in God. There are also approximately 15 million Jews in the world. While not all Jews believe in God, all major Jewish religious organizations proclaim belief in God.
It is true that many of the world's Western/Caucasian Buddhists do not believe in God, they are atheists or, more often, agnostics if they do not believe in God. But these Buddhists are a tiny minority of the world's Buddhist population. Almost all of the world's Asian Buddhists believe in a Higher Power, whether they believe in Buddha as a transcendent God to whom they pray, or they believe in a more Western-style God, or they believe in Amida Buddha or some other form of Higher Power. Some Western Buddhists say that Buddhism is an atheistic religion, but I've lived in Japan and Thailand (representing both Mahayana and Theravada traditions of Buddhism) and I've studied the situations there, and I can tell you that the non-theistic version of Buddhism exists almost solely among some of the Westerners.
People often ask us about growth rates. It may seem odd that a database which has collected tens of thousands of religion statistics does not store growth rates as well. But we don't. It's not unusual for us to come across studies and data sets which mention growth rates. But this type of data is only in the Adherents.com database if it is part of the text that accompanies the adherent statistics which are our main objective.
As mentioned elsewhere on this web site, comparing adherent statistics from different data sources is problematic enough, because there may have been different conditions used in the data collection, different criteria for how adherents are counted, or different sociological implications to religious membership in different regions and cultures.
But when one discusses growth rates, the variables involved are multiplied to such a degree that comparing growth rates from different data sources becomes meaningless. To say that Religion X has a 15% growth rate or Church Y has a 20% growth rate doesn't really convey any information whatsoever unless one knows the parameters used to calculate these rates. One must know:
Unless one knows the answers to these questions, one can not properly evaluate a single number calculated as a "growth rate" for a religious group, and one can certainly not compare growth rates extracted from different studies.
While it may not be the definitive answer people hope for, our best answer to the question "What is the fastest growing religion?" is: All religions are the fastest growing religion.
Some religions are the fastest growing on a percentage basis, some by raw numbers. Some are growing fast in some countries, but losing ground in others. Some are growing through increased numbers of congregations, but losing overall market share. Some groups are losing members, but growing by other measures. For instance, the Southern Baptist Convention had a net membership loss in 1998, but the percentage of the remaining membership who were attending church was up, indicating a smaller but more committed membership.
What if one carefully defines the parameters and asks a very specific question such as: What is the fastest growing religion worldwide, on a percentage basis, over the past five years?
It is still difficult to provide a single answer to the question, with data taken out of context. To answer such a question on a percentage basis, one must compare very large religions such as Christianity and Islam, which make up one-third or one-sixth of the world's population, with very small religions, such as Jainism, Zoroastrianism or Neo-Paganism, which have only a few millions or hundreds of thousands of adherents. Such a comparison may show a fast growth rate for Wiccans, and zero percentage growth for Christianity, but the two abstract figures don't convey very much meaningful information.
Even if the overall world growth rate for a given list of religions is known and is accurate (which is unlikely), one must ask about the religions which were left off the list. If a small religion such as Zoroastrianism is included in the statistics, why not an even smaller religion, such as Eckankar? Or what about Samaritans. With only a hundred or so members, this distinct religion can have a tremendous growth rate with just a few births in one year.
If you have seen claims that a certain religious group is the fastest growing religion, this is true. But the same claim might be made by another group as well, using different parameters.
(Because of the extreme differences in the sizes of various religions, we don't believe a ranked list with raw numbers is meaningful for comparing religions on a worldwide scale. Also, in some cases it is more meaningful to speak of "religious groups" rather than only entire religions, because different divisions within the religion are experiencing different amounts of growth.)
Some Fast Growing Religious Groups, listed alphabetically.
This list is not comprehensive. There are doubtless many religious groups which are certainly growing and dynamic, but are not listed here. Also, it should be noted that religious groups rarely disappear. Those which have declining numbers usually merge with other groups, forming larger groups. So, although there will probably be fewer people in the years to come who call themselves Congregationalists or Methodists, there will be more members of the heirs of these groups: nationally-based United churches and liberal or conservative "post-denominational" Protestant groups.
Won't this be confusing? No. There is no chance that the quotes from fictional sources will be confused with statistics citations. The two databases are separate off-line, and the lists are separate in the online webpages that present the data from these databases. The citations from fiction are in a completely separate section, and a different web directory. Every page of citations clearly indicates whether it is in the Statistics/Geography database or the Literature database. For another thing, most of the quotes from novels do not provide any numbers, so nothing will appear in the "number of adherents" or "percent" or "number of congregations" columns.
The "Religion in Fiction" section is a listing of citations presented online in a format somewhat similar to the Adherents.com main statistics lists. But it contains only references from fiction: novels and short stories. These are primarily references to real-world religious groups, usually mentioned by name. Fiction references are not necessarily statistical in content. They may simply mention a Catholic priest aboard a starship, or a Shinto-derived space empire. Abstract discussion about religious topics such as God or belief or morality, not connected to an identifiable faith group, are generally not referenced. There are currently over 34,000 citations in the literature database, from hundreds of different books and novels.
Why would we do this? In a way, the citations from science fiction novels may be seen as a totally different topic, and part of a different database. Most researchers using the Adherents.com database will simply ignore these citations. Someone who wants only to know how many Muslims are in Canada probably doesn't care that Robert Heinlein wrote about Muslims on Mars 150 years in the future.
But quotations about various real religions from science fiction novels can be seen as an extension of Adherents.com's role as a reference to literature. Instead of citing non-fiction books (about sociology, history, religion, etc.), this is a new category -- citations from novels. Rather than providing a hard piece of real world numerical data, the citations from novels provide a measure of the degree to which certain religious groups have penetrated the popular consciousness. For instance, English science fiction literature from a certain period frequently mentioned Jews, but ignored the existence of the far more numerous Islam. Later novels which describe religion in the future invariably mention Muslims, but never refer to Baptists.
These citations are also interesting because most come from books which take place in the future, sometimes even on distant planets colonized by people from Earth. When science fiction writers such as Robert Heinlein, Greg Bear, and Larry Niven, whose profession is essentially to think about the future, write about the continued existence of Catholics, Muslims, Latter-day Saints and Jews many hundreds of years from now, it may not actually tell us something about the future of these religions, but it says something about how we think of them in the present.
It should be mentioned once again that virtually all the records in the Adherents.com database are quotes or citations from various sources. Adherents.com does not purport to be simply a database of statistics, but a database of statistics and geography citations. If it were a database of statistics, it might provide a single number which tells the number of Buddhists in the world, for instance. But because this is a database of citations, we provide over fifty citations which give the number of Buddhists in the world. Researchers have a choice of sources to choose from, and can see if there is or is not some consensus for a certain figure.
Just as it is inappropriate and offensive to use the 6-letter "N word" in reference to African-Americans, it is inappropriate and offensive to call a Catholic a "papist." Calling a Muslim a "Mohammadan" is equivalent to calling a person of Chinese ancestry a "Chink." A person who uses ethnic or religious slurs indicates that they are disrespectful and that their arguments are probably without merit.
Catholic: The shortened term "Catholic" is used in preference to "Roman Catholic." Many members of the of the Catholic Church based in Rome are not, in fact, "Roman Catholics," as there are non-Latin rites in full papal communion. Some contemporary Catholics consider the term "Roman Catholic" offensive. Obviously terms such as "Roman Church" and "papist" are inappropriate, inaccurate, and offensive. This topic is discussed further here.
Islam - The name of the religion is "Islam." An adherent of the religion is a "Muslim." Terms such as "Muhammadan" are highly offensive. "Arab" refers to an ethnicity (like "Hispanic") and should never be equated with Islam. There are many Arabs who are not Muslims and there are many Muslims who are not Arabs.
Neo-Paganism - There is no single, agreed-upon spelling convention. We generally use "Neo-Paganism" and "Neo-Pagan." Some writers drop the hyphen and write "Neopagan" or "neopagan." Many writers drop "neo" and refer simply to "pagans" and "paganism." Adherents.com generally reserves "pagan" to refer to classical pre-modern paganism. In Western literature, the term "pagan" most often refers to the pre-Christian religious beliefs of Western civilization, particularly Greco-Roman classical religion and ancient Scandinavian/Norse/Teutonic religion.
Wicca - Some writers use the terms "Wicca" and "Neo-Pagan" interchangeably. We do not. Wicca is but one branch within Neo-Paganism.
Judaism - Judaism is the religion of the Jews. "Jewish" refers both to the Jewish religion and to Jewish ethnicity. In the United States approximately one half of all Jews say that Judaism is their religion. Approx. 25% of American Jews say they are are completely secular, with no religion. Approx. 25% of American Jews are adherents of a religion other than Judaism (they are Jewish by ethnicity, but their religion is Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.)
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - There has never been any organization with the name "Mormon Church." Use of the term is inaccurate and potentially offensive. The phrase "Church of Latter-day Saints" (dropping "Jesus Christ") is never acceptable, even by Associated Press standards, and is considered highly offensive. The name "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" has been used continuously since April 1838. In writing about it, the full name (with a lower-case "d" in "day") should be written out. Subsequent references in an article may simply refer to "the Church" or "the church." Officially the Church itself does not use the shorthand phrase "LDS Church," although in practice this is a widely used abbreviated name used by members themselves and not known to be offensive to anyone. Members of the church are known as "Latter-day Saints." The plural form "Latter-day Saints" should never be used as an adjective; it is gramatically awkward. The singular form "Latter-day Saint" is the proper adjective form, as in, "I saw a Latter-day Saint movie" or "I attended a Latter-day Saint college." Older members of the church do not generally mind the nickname "Mormon," in reference to a church member or used as an adjective pertaining to historical and cultural institutions (as in "Mormon pioneer", "Mormon Tabernacle Choir", "Mormon cinema", "Mormon literature"). Many younger members consider "Mormon" disrespectful and prefer that "Latter-day Saint" be used univerally when referring to them in a religious sense. In many forums, "Mormon" is best understood as an ethnicity. There are people who are Mormons in an ethnic sense, but who are not necessarily practicing members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church considers the term "Mormonism" an appropriate word to refer to the complete theological, historical, cultural and artistic movement relating to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members.
Community of Christ (RLDS) - in the year 2000 the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints formally adopted the name "Community of Christ." This religious body was in times past sometimes known as the "RLDS Church" for short. Our statistics are listed under "Community of Christ."
Lingayat - Lingayats and Veerashaivas are equivalent. Veerashaivism (also known as the Lingayat religion) is the religion of the Lingayats.
Quakers - Orginally "Quaker" was a nickname applied by outsiders to members of the Religious Society of Friends. Today, there are multiple Quaker denominations with their own names, not a single denomination known as the Religious Society of Friends. Many Quakers, however, still refer to themselves as members of the Religious Society of Friends. The term "Quaker" is used widely by Quakers today, is not considered offensive, and is the main appellation used by Adherents.com. "Friends", of course, is also an appropriate term to use, but is sometimes avoided as it can be confused with "friends" in a generic sense.
ISKCON - We use the abbreviation "ISKCON" to refer to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Statistics are listed under "I". Members of ISKCON do refer to themselves as "Hare Krishnas."
OCRT has an extended guide on this topic, with particular emphasis on Wicca, on their page: Suggested usage of religious terms in essays, media articles, etc.