The following list of influential figures from world history comes from Michael H. Hart's book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. In the book, Hart provides brief biographies of each of the individuals, as well as reasons for their ranking.
Rank, Name, Religious Affiliation Influence.
1 Muhammad Islam Prophet of Islam; conqueror of Arabia; Hart recognized that ranking Muhammad first might be controversial, but felt that, from a secular historian's perspective, this was the correct choice because Muhammad is the only man to have been both a founder of a major world religion and a major military/political leader. More
2 Isaac Newton Anglican (rejected Trinitarianism, i.e.,
Athanasianism; believed in the Arianism
of the Primitive Church) physicist; theory of universal gravitation; laws of motion
3 Jesus Christ * Judaism; Christianity founder of Christianity
4 Buddha Hinduism; Buddhism founder of Buddhism
5 Confucius Confucianism founder of Confucianism
6 St. Paul Judaism; Christianity proselytizer of Christianity
7 Ts'ai Lun Chinese traditional religion inventor of paper
8 Johann Gutenberg Catholic developed movable type; printed Bibles
9 Christopher Columbus Catholic explorer; led Europe to Americas
10 Albert Einstein Jewish physicist; relativity; Einsteinian physics
11 Louis Pasteur Catholic scientist; pasteurization