December 16, 2009

User-Created Geographies of Religion: Allah, Buddha, Hindu, Jesus

Are there distinct geographies to religious references in user-created content indexed by Google? The following maps will demonstrate that there undoubtedly are.

User Generated References to Allah

User Generated References to Buddha

User Generated References to Hindu

User Generated References to Jesus

High rankings (in terms of specialization and absolute references) are often found in the most likely regions. For example, the Middle East, North Africa, and Muslim parts of South and Southeast Asia are all characterised by a significant amount of specialization and a large number of references to "Allah."

References to "Buddha" are similarly clustered in East and Southeast Asia, the Himalayas and Sri Lanka. The geography of references to "Hindu" is even more clustered. Here, the Indian Subcontinent, Afghanistan, Angkor Wat, Bali, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (two cities with large Indian populations) have a large number of references.

References to "Jesus" are more broadly distributed than any of the other three terms, but still show an incredible degree of concentration. The Americas, Western Europe and the Philippines are blanketed by references to Jesus.

Unlike user generated references to sex and business, religious search terms tend to display a geographic concentration in both absolute and relative terms. Or in other words, it is interesting that sex and business are far more global in scope than even these four very global religions.


  1. Of course, this depends a great deal on your actual search terms and how you are disambiguating. "Jesus" is a common first name in many countries, whereas "Allah" is certainly not. ("Mohammed," in various forms, might be the equivalent.)

  2. To:A. Venter
    How is Amy as the first name for a God in a Unnessary Confusion?

  3. they clipped me again.
    clipped meaning snipped and ...ooooo they did it again.

  4. How in the world could there be so many references to Hinduism coming out of Afghanistan? The authors should have addressed this anomaly, since it seems to cast doubt on the validity of the data.

  5. WELL! Compared to those below me who just tried to discredit this map... I think this is very interesting. Shows how much simple location can have an effect on religion, as well as sheer determination. Beware the Christians.

    1. Let's say accepting the research, but not limited too; "The Americas, Western Europe and the Philippines are blanketed by references to Jesus." Why is there more hatred, envy, jealousy, greed & discrimination?; Why cant we experience more peace, love & happiness?. It is obvious, the world needs balance!

  6. Perhaps there is more reference to 'hindu' in Afghanistan because of the Hindu Kush mountain range and related geographical variants rather than theological references. This seems even more likely with so few internet users in Afghanistan per capita.


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