Christianity,Islam among fastest-growing religions, Buddhism too: Study

Christianity,Islam among fastest-growing religions, Buddhism too: Study

April 12, 2015   04:52 pm

If tech futurists are to be believed, by the year 2050, robots will do many of our errands and drive our cars. If a new study on religious trends is to be believed, many of those robot-controlled cars will stop and park at mosques and churches, CNN reported.

Based in Washington, Pew is a nonpartisan “fact tank” that regularly produces sweeping surveys of this kind without taking public policy positions. Six years in the making, its study collected data from 234 countries and territories to predict the fate of five major faiths -- Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam -- as well as folk religions and the religiously unaffiliated, including atheists.

Yes, despite predictions that religion will go the way of dinosaurs, the size of almost every major faith -- sorry, Buddhists -- will increase in the next 40 years, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

The biggest winners, Pew predicts, will be Islam and Christianity.

Islam, the world’s fastest-growing faith, will leap from 1.6 billion (in 2010) to 2.76 billion by 2050, according to the Pew study. At that time, Muslims will make up nearly one-third of the world’s total projected population of about 9 billion people.

Christianity is expected to grow, too, but not at Islam’s explosive rate. The Pew study predicts Christians will increase from 2.17 billion to 2.92 billion, composing more than 31% of the world’s population.

This means that by 2050, more than 6 out of 10 people on Earth will be Christian or Muslim. And, for perhaps the first time in history, Islam and Christianity would boast roughly equal numbers.



The study, which Pew says is the first of its kind, bases its projections on the age of populations, fertility and mortality rates, as well as migration and conversion patterns. Simply put, Muslims are having larger families, retaining more members (conversions are illegal in some Muslim nations) and are younger than adherents of other faiths. More than 1 in 3 Muslims is younger than 15.

But religious trends have never been measured on the study’s vast scale, Pew says, so a few cautions are in order.

-- Hinduism (1.4 billion adherents) and Judaism (16 million) will increase, while Buddhists will be about the same size as in 2010 (5.2 million).

-- In the coming decades, 106 million people are projected to leave Christianity. 
(46 million will convert to Christianity, offsetting the losses a little.)

-- The number of countries with Christian majorities will drop to 151, as Christians are projected to decrease in Australia, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Republic of Macedonia and the United Kingdom.

-- Muslims are expected to make up more than 50% of the population in 51 countries, including the Republic of Macedonia and Nigeria. (Source- CNN)

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