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    Default Hinduism: The world's third largest religion

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    Hinduism is generally regarded as the world's oldest organized religion. It consists of "thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since 1500 BCE." Because of the wide variety of Hindu traditions, freedom of belief and practice are notable features of Hinduism.
    Most forms of Hinduism are henotheistic religions. They recognize a single deity, and view other Gods and Goddesses as manifestations or aspects of that supreme God. Henotheistic and polytheistic religions have traditionally been among the world's most religiously tolerant faiths. As a result, India has traditionally been one of the most religiously tolerant in the world.


    However in 1998, a Hindu nationalistic political party the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) controlled the government of India. The linkage of religion, the national government, and nationalism led to a degeneration of the separation of church and state in India and a decrease in the level of religious tolerance in that country. An escalation of anti-Christian violence was one manifestation of this linkage. With the subsequent change in government, the level of violence has diminished, and India is once more a country of relative religious tolerance and peace.
    Hinduism has grown to become the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam. It claims about 14% of the world's population. It is the dominant religion in India, Nepal, and among the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
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