Religion and its projected increase in the 22nd century

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In 2012, the W. Edwards Deming Institute published a report by the World Future Society which indicated:

In 2100, however, the world will likely be only 9% unaffiliated — more religious than in 2012. The peak of the unaffiliated was in 1970 at around 20%, largely due to the influence of European communism. Since communism’s collapse, religion has been experiencing resurgence that will likely continue beyond 2100. All the world’s religions are poised to have enormous numeric growth (with the exceptions of tribal religions and Chinese folk religion), as well as geographic spread with the continuation of migration trends. Adherents of the world’s religions—perhaps particularly Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists—will continue to settle in the formerly Christian and ever-expanding cities of Europe and North America, causing increases of religious pluralism in these areas. Christians and Muslims together will encompass two-thirds of the global population—more than 7 billion individuals. In 2100, the majority of the world’s 11.6 billion residents will be adherents of religious traditions.[1]

Pew Research indicates: "By 2055 to 2060, just 9% of all babies will be born to religiously unaffiliated women, while more than seven-in-ten will be born to either Muslims (36%) or Christians (35%)."[2]

In 2011, Eric Kaufmann wrote in his academic paper Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century

Today, values play a more important role in fertility behaviour, throwing the contrast between religious pronatalism and secular low-fertility individualism into relief. Over several generations, this process can lead to significant social and political changes. Early Christianity’s exponential rise during its gestation period from 30 to 300 A.D. has been traced to its superior demography (fertility, mortality and female sex ratio), which maintained a rate of growth similar to contemporary Mormonism: 40 percent per decade. For Christians, this led to a jump from 40 converts to 6 million inside three centuries. (Stark 1996) Christianity became the religion of an empire and a continent. In the United States, conservative sects increased their share of white Protestantism from roughly a third to two-thirds during the twentieth century – largely on the back of higher fertility. On the other hand, sects like the Shakers and Cathars, which permitted entry only through conversion, rapidly faded from the scene. Demographic religious revival is a medium and long-term phenomenon, but awareness of shifting population composition can lead to political soul-searching and instability well before the full impact of demographic change takes place. This is clear in ethnically-tense societies like Israel, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Lebanon, Cote D’Ivoire or Assam.[3]

See also: Atheism and fertility rates and Acceleration of 21st century desecularization

Christianity and the 22nd century

See also: Global Christianity and Growth of evangelical Christianity and Growth of Christianity in China

The Gospel Coalition declares:

But if we were to jump forward into the 22nd century, I wonder what we would see.

Most likely, we would see a world in which the explosive growth of Christians in South America, China and Africa has dwarfed the churches of North America and Europe. And the lesson we learn from a century ago will probably still be true: The churches that thrived were those that offered their world something more than the echo of the times.[4]

See also

References

  1. The 22nd Century at First Light: Envisioning Life in the Year 2100: A special report by members and friends of the World Future Society, Religious Belief in 2100 by Gina A. Bellofatto
  2. The Changing Global Religious Landscape, Pew Research 2017
  3. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann, Belfer Center, Harvard University/Birkbeck College, University of London (PDF)
  4. Which Churches Will Thrive in the 21st Century?