Hinduism differs from Christianity and other Western religions in that it does not have a single founder, a specific theological system, a single
system of morality, or a central religious organization. It consists of "thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since
Hinduism has grown to become the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam. It claims about 762 million followers - 13% of the
world's population. It is the dominant religion in India, Nepal, and among the Tamils in Sri Lanka. According to the "Yearbook of American &
Canadian Churches," there are about 1.1 million Hindus in the U.S. 2 The "American Religious Identification Survey" is believed to be more
They estimated smaller number: 766,000 Hindus in 2001. Still, this is a very significant increase from 227,000 in 1990. Statistics Canada estimates
that there are about 157,015 Hindus in Canada.
Hinduism is generally regarded as the world's oldest organized religion.
Religions which recognize the existence of multiple deities have traditionally been among the world's most religiously tolerant. Hinduism remains
arguably one of the most tolerant of such religions. However, during the past few years, a Hindu nationalistic political party has controlled the
government of India. The linkage of religion, the federal government and nationalism has led to a recent degeneration in the separation of church and
state in India. This, in turn, has decreased the level of religious tolerance in that country. The escalation of anti-Christian violence is one
manifestation of this linkage.