Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Godless Wednesday: The World Will Become Less Godless

Joe.My.God highlights a study projecting the worldwide growth of Christianity from 1970-2020. The study (Christianity in its Global Context, 1970-2020) is published by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The main conclusion of the study is that the world is getting more religious, not less, on a global scale. The figure above indicates that the number of Christians in the world will more than double from 1970to 2020. While this is happening, the fraction of the world that is godless is decreasing.
The world in 2010 was more religious than in 1970, and this trend will continue to 2020 and perhaps beyond. The year 1970 was the symbolic height of the world’s agnostic and atheist populations, which at that time together claimed 19.2% of the total population (see figure at right). While secularization had been slowly in progress around the world, especially in Europe, the numbers of agnostics and atheists increased greatly under Communism in Eastern Europe and China. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, large numbers of the non-religious returned to religion. One of the most profound examples is Albania, the first officially atheistic state, which in 2010 was 62.7% Muslim and 31.6% Christian. Russia also experienced a resurgence of religion, rising from 38.4% Christian in 1970 to 71.2% in 2010, with a projected increase to 81.2% by 2020 (these gains are being made primarily by the Russian Orthodox Church).

Projections to 2020 indicate a sustained decrease of the global share of the non-religious. This is due primarily to the resurgence of Buddhism, Christianity, and other religions in China, and Christianity in Eastern Europe. If this trend continues, agnostics and atheists will be a smaller portion of the world’s population in 2020 than they were in 2010. Although the number of atheists and agnostics continues to rise in the Western world, the current growth of a variety of religions in China in particular (where the vast majority of the nonreligious live today) suggests continued future demographic growth of religion. From the point of view of 1970–2010, there has been a global religious resurgence, and it seems likely to continue into the future.
I guess the only good news about this is that at least the Western World is moving in what I would assess asa positive direction, with less religiosity rather than more. However, it can not be a good thing for humanity as a whole for more and more people to believe in an unknowable, mythical creature from which blessings and punishments flow.

This sad result can be seen in the following graphic:

Hat/tip to Joe.My.God

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