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Global growth of religions

(56 Posts)
absent Thu 09-Apr-15 22:20:14

I have just watched an item on this morning's news about research into the growth of religions. (It's morning where I live.) I didn't catch who had done the research. A professor from Massey University in New Zealand was discussing the research but, as in all news programmes, he was allocated a fairly short slot.

What he did say was that it seems that Islam will become the biggest religion in the world by the end of this century, that Christianity is increasing but at a much slower rate than Islam and, perhaps most surprisingly, the number of those with no affiliation to any religion is decreasing world wide except in three countries. New Zealand is one of the three.

Africa seems to be central in the growth of Islam as tribal beliefs break down. He also said that the fact that Moslem families tend to be bigger than Christian ones these days needs to be taken into account when looking at reasons for the growth of this religion.

While the Catholic church has a global agenda focused on both Africa and Asia, he thinks that other Christian churches tend to concentrate more on what he called their own patches. The research suggests that Africa will have the largest Christian population in the world by 2050.

As an atheist I found the no affiliation decrease particularly interesting but there wasn't time to discuss that. I would suspect that there are lots of people who claim a loose affiliation with a religion – like always ticking C of E in the religion box on old-fashioned forms – rather than being actively involved. Perhaps the uncertainty of global politics, especially the extent of recent terrorist activity, has also made people "storm converts".

thatbags Thu 09-Apr-15 23:03:04

72% of 18-24 year olds say religion is not important to them and 62% say religion is they are not religious according to UK Yougov surveys, so I'm sceptical about what you heard today, absent.

thatbags Thu 09-Apr-15 23:03:33

Sorry about the grammatical mistakes.

absent Thu 09-Apr-15 23:15:26

thatbags Presumably those figures apply only in the UK. You would find a very different percentage in the USA, for example. Btw importance of religion or otherwise wasn't mentioned, just affiliation.

Eloethan Fri 10-Apr-15 00:28:30

I think that people often start aligning themselves with a particular religion when they feel that other religions with which they feel no cultural connection are a threat to them.

Frankly, I am not a fan of any religion - though I feel sure there are many people of all religions who try to live good lives. Unfortunately, it often seems to be those people who are unable to see the good in anything but there own religion and who insist on its superiority who are given the most attention. But perhaps that is a natural consequence of religious faith - that, even when there is no malign intent, it divides people into "us" and "them".

soontobe Fri 10-Apr-15 13:32:38

absent is talking about the world, thatbags.
It is easy to think of things in terms of UK only.

I am not surprised by those findings absent. My children[who are all religious] are going all over the place, and meeting and working alongside and living with people of a multitude of nations.
What they are finding is what absent says. Religion in other countries, not necessarily the uk is growing a lot.

My theory, for what it is worth, is that there is a general breakdown amongst families. And lots of troubles in the world in general.
That causes people to feel the need of religion, as some sort of guide and comfort and belonging to a group.

Soutra Fri 10-Apr-15 14:15:32

Do we have evidence for an increase in family breakdown in e.g. The Thirld World? I could understand this argument if it tallied with an increase in religious affiliation in the UK but the YouGov poll suggests the opposite. Growth in the Catholic Church in S America is I believe massive as well as Africa. IF one is looking at the Middle East is it perhaps in parallel with political identity?
Food for thought.

soontobe Fri 10-Apr-15 14:24:17

The UK is only 1 nation out of about 196 countries.

Political identity may have something to do with it. You could be right.

It is difficult isnt it to have a general conversation about the whole world, when it is hard to generalise about even 1 individual country.

feetlebaum Tue 14-Apr-15 17:09:23

Even in the USA the numbers of 'nones' is quite rapidly increasing.

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 14-Apr-15 17:34:59

I knew that Christianity is thriving in Africa, but this amazes me!

Who'd have thought it?

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 14-Apr-15 17:36:14

I think it's sad that Islamism will soon overtake Christianity in the UK.

Tegan Tue 14-Apr-15 18:26:36

I heard something the other day about Islamist Fundamentalists forbidding children to be vaccinated against polio sad. Found that very worrying as things like that cause a knock on effect, surely.

Ana Tue 14-Apr-15 18:41:08

I think that's a bit of an exaggeration, jingl. According to this article, by 2050 45.5% of the UK population will describe themselves as Christian, 11.3% will say they are Muslim and 39% will be 'without religion'.

(PS, don't ask me what the remaining 4.2% of the population said!)

TerriBull Tue 14-Apr-15 19:11:29

It's hardly surprising that Islam will become the dominant religion given that more and more Muslim countries either totally suppress other faiths or are doing their best to wipe them out. I find the march of Islam quite alarming in the same way Christianity must have been when the Spanish Inquisition started to gain momentum.

Ana Tue 14-Apr-15 19:32:53

Hardly the dominant religion - 11.3% of the UK's population by 2050? confused

Joan Sun 14-Jun-15 13:40:27

No-one knows how many people have a totally different private opinion from what they say openly. If you are Iranian, for instance, and an atheist, you would be insane to tell anyone. Better to go through the motions and just pretend.

As an atheist I find normal Christianity very safe and unthreatening. I don't like evangelical Christianity - it has caused a rift in my family, between my late nephew's widow, and my nephew's atheist Dad, my brother. She has simply rejected her in-laws 'cos they are not co-believers. I think she got involved in the church in York, when my nephew was dying.

Islam is far too 'in-your-face' for my liking. Why wear Islamic dress in a non-Islamic country. All you do is set yourself apart. Praying 5 times a day?? What a nuisance that must be. But I would never be rude to anyone for their religious practices - I just don't understand them. I do believe that even in Western countries there will be many atheists from Muslim families who keep quiet about their lack of belief., for the sake of peace

I have the same attitude to Judaism as to Christianity - it is usually low key and very unthreatening, especially nowadays with so very much intermarriage. Mind you, atheist Jews are not usually reticent about their lack of belief. My last boss was one, and we used to laugh about 'Jewish atheism, and 'christian' atheism.

But - my point is that stats on belief v unbelief are skewed - people have a lot of reasons to fib.

TerriBull Sun 14-Jun-15 14:01:50

Really agree with your post Joan, I'm a great believer in "live and let live". I don't know what the percentage of Hindus and Sikhs we have in this country, but it often occurs to me, that they are in most cases, Sikhs particularly, exemplary examples of religions that are low key and un threatening to the majority. I personally find radical Islamists particularly alarming.

whitewave Sun 14-Jun-15 14:02:28

Personally I would be keen to see the UK become a secular state.

durhamjen Sun 14-Jun-15 14:36:37

That would be interesting. Which political party would take that on? Where would the queen stand? Presumably it would not happen until after Charles became King. He probably would not mind as he wants to be defender of all faiths.

whitewave Sun 14-Jun-15 14:41:15

I would also be keen to see the UK become a republic.

whitewave Sun 14-Jun-15 14:45:04

I can always remember a young French man one Christmas. We were in Paris for the duration and in a hotel, where many of the Brits were watching the Q's Speech.

He grinned and said "That is the difference between us and you. You are subjects, but WE are citizens"

My sentiments exactly!

durhamjen Sun 14-Jun-15 15:10:53

True, but I feel more like a subject of the wealthy Tories than the Queen.
The government has gone back to what it was like in Victorian times with patronage, even down to the birthday honours list.
Never actually been too concerned about the Queen being the head of the church.
If we became a secular republic, would that get rid of church schools?
I had someone telling me yesterday that non-RC should not go to RC schools, which is a problem in this village, which has three schools with every one of them belonging to one denomination or another.

Anyway, what were you doing in Paris watching the Queen's speech? Surely that's the ideal time and place to get away from it.

durhamjen Sun 14-Jun-15 15:15:52

Following on from Joan's post, when did any of you start being honest about your religious affiliation?
I did about 20 years ago, when I stopped saying Christian on hospital forms and started saying none. But for about ten years I still hesitated before saying it.

loopylou Sun 14-Jun-15 15:18:28

I've felt like the subject of every government; I think the majority of MPs, of any persuasion, are in it for their own gain rather than the voters personally.

I've found writing to any local MP or Councillor to be a fruitless exercise (and no, they weren't all Tories), it didn't change a thing.

How many MPs actually ever meet their voters?

loopylou Sun 14-Jun-15 15:23:33

I don't think that I've ever had to put my religion on any form, or perhaps I just left it blank.
I'm a christian rather than of any denomination at the moment.