Sunday, April 05, 2015
Does Religion Have a Future?
In Europe, 10% of the population in 2050 will be Moslem. Some currently Christian nations in Europe, such as Norway, Germany, Belgium and Holland, could end up with either Moslem majorities or large pluralities, especially as the native European birth rate continues to decline and their populations gray and Moslem fertility rates increase. This numerical change could be large enough to make a difference politically and culturally.
The Pew Research results point out that overall, the Christian population in America will continue to decline while non-religious--Atheists and Agnostics---will make up an increasing share of the declining religious population. While Judaism will increase slightly in size globally, it will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion in the US. That honor will, again, fall to Islam. Those who adhere to non-traditional religions such as Native American Spirituality or Wicca, will also see a growth in numbers. Other, more smaller religions such as the Taoists, Jainists, Sikhs, will also see modest growth over the next few decades.
Interestingly, the largest centers of decline seem to be the industrial centers and areas with the lowest birthrates and ageing populations. The same areas which appear to growing in terms of the non-religious. Another factor to look at are those leaving their current faiths. According to the report, Christianity is expected to add around 60 million worldwide, mostly from poorer countries in Africa, and Asia, while at the same time, it's expected to lose some 106 million, mostly in developed countries, with the majority becoming non-affiliated as previously stated. Moslems are expected to add only slightly to their numbers through conversion between now and 2050. Judaism and Buddhism are both expected to experience some losses, due mostly to conversion, but overall their numbers will largely remain steady. In fact, due to the high fertility rate in Africa, all religions can expect to see growth there, along with Asia, but it is Islam and Christianity that will be the big winners.
It is also the poorer nations, which conversely seem to have the highest birth rates, that are also the most politically unstable. It's here that we often find juntas, tribal war lords, and petty thug rule. And it is also here that we find a fertile ground for religious extremists such as we're seeing in places like along the Africa Horn. To ask "why?" is also almost redundant since the poor are the ones who feel they have the least to lose and, as often is taught, it is God the that favors the "dispossessed" most. Many believe or have been convinced to believe that their actions, however horrific, are just; divine in its brutal justice without thought to the loss of human life.
A good friend of mine once told me that Communism doesn't come with armies, warships, and tanks. It comes with food. An old military
So, what's left for those who drearily shuffle through life to do? Their only hope being that of a decent life for themselves and their families; one free from disease, hunger, thirst and the opportunity for knowledge---if not for them, then at least for their children. They hope to find at least some fulfillment in the religion of their choice, yet end up find a more subtle form of abuse and pillage. As for Americans, and perhaps even Europeans, we seem to have lost, not our faith per se, but trust in our institutions, so out of frustration, we've turned inward into ourselves where we can at least find a small measure of security. When we substitute hope for intimidation and trust for corruption, society itself loses. Consumerism can satisfy all of our wants, for a price, except one---the want in our souls for solace. Mankind requires inspiration. It's what drives us. It always has. Real inspiration can't be bought or sold. That is, perhaps the true value, and test of religion; a sense of awe, inspiration, and inner fulfillment that comes without a price tag.
The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010 - 2050
Most Religious Countries And Most Atheists Countries