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The world’s Christian population is continuing to decline even as the world’s Islamic population continues to rise.
For the first time in history, Islam will overtake Christianity and become the world’s largest religion later this century. The number of Muslims on the planet will exceed the number of Christians at some point between 2060 and 2100, the Pew Research Center forecasts. There’s lots to consider here.
First of all, Islam is growing at twice the rate of Christianity, as Pew’s researchers have calculated. If Pew’s figures are accurate, then Christians are likely to find themselves as a minority in many parts of the world. There are many factors to consider in such a discussion. For example, I’m thinking here not just about the average Christian’s inability to understand and articulate the Christian faith. I’m thinking also about the average Christian’s ability to defend that faith.
Theology aside, one of the reasons for Islamic growth could be as simple as big families. According to the research, Muslim families are having more children than members of other religious groups. Period.
“In all major regions where there is a sizable Muslim population,” Pew’s Michael Lipka and Conrad Hackett wrote, “Muslim fertility exceeds non-Muslim fertility.”
Islam Is Growing Faster Than Its Rivals
Some figures about Islam’s growth rate for Christians to think about include:
Muslims made up nearly one fourth (24.1%) of the world’s population in 2015.
There were 1.8 billion Muslims in the world in 2015.
The Number Of Muslims On The Planet Is Projected To Grow By 70%
There will be three billion Muslims in the world in 2060 – if Pew’s projections are accurate.
Muslims will make up nearly one third (31.1%) of the Earth’s population in the year 2060, under Pew’s projections.
Another reason is that Muslims tend to be younger than members of other religious groups. The average Muslim was 24 in 2015 while the average non-Muslim was 32 years old.
The Islamic population will soon explode because more Muslims are at childbearing age.
Muslims will become a majority (60.5%) of the population of Nigeria by 2060.
Muslims will make up 19.4% of India’s population by 2060.
There will be 333 million Muslims in India in 2060.
Meanwhile, the world’s Christian population is expected to fall by 72 million people between 2015 and 2060.
The world’s Muslim population will equal the world’s Christian population by 2050.
Furthermore, the total number of atheists and agnostics will decline overall. What is especially relevant is that these numbers are increasing in the United States and Europe.
Christians worldwide will increase by 34% by 2060.
Jews worldwide will increase by 15% by 2060.
Hindus worldwide will increase by 27% by 2060.
Buddhists worldwide will fall by 7% by 2060.
In addition, the number of atheists and agnostics worldwide will increase by 3% by 2060.
The World’s Christian Population And The Pew ResearchThe Pew survey seems somewhat flawed. Most noteworthy is the fact that it does not break religions up into relevant subgroups. Sunni, Shia, and Sufi have not been broken down into any meaningful categories.
Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians likewise have not been subdivided.
Something else to remember is that the numbers do not reflect the number of people who will actually be practicing those faiths. The numbers reflect children born to Christian and Muslim families, not active Christians and Muslims.
Therefore, Christians had better get ready to live in a world in which they are likely to be a minority. This also means that Christianity’s reign as the world’s largest faith, which began in the Roman era, is ending right before our eyes.
Lastly, it would also be important to point out the fact that the Christian church, for the most part, can’t even define itself, let alone agree on a consistent approach to apologetics and evangelism.
For example, Christianity is Trinitarian. That distinction alone has tremendous family, social and political implications. If we, as Christians, are to love our Muslim neighbors, that means sharing our faith. The sad fact of course is… it’s pretty hard to share a faith that you don’t understand yourself.
And because so many Christians have such a thin understanding of the faith they say they believe in, as well as a lack of desire to share that faith, it makes perfect sense that the number of Christians will continue to decline until God sees fit to raise up a generation of courageous believers who will love their Muslim neighbors enough to witness to them.