Growth of religion is the spread of religions and the increase of religious adherents around the world. The statistics are commonly measured by the absolute number of adherents, the percentage of the absolute growth per year, and the growth of the number of converts in the world. Projections of future religious adherence are based on assumptions that trends, total fertility rates, life expectancy, political climate, conversion rates, secularization, etc will continue. Such forecasts cannot be validated empirically and are contentious, but are useful for comparison.
Studies in the 21st century show that, in terms of percentage and worldwide spread, Islam is the fastest-growing major religion in the world. A religious forecast for 2050 by Pew Research Center concludes that global Muslim population is expected to grow at a faster rate than the non-Muslim population due primarily to the young age and high fertility rate of Muslims. Religious conversion has little impact on Muslim population because the number of people who convert to Islam is nearly offset by those who leave Islam.
World religions statistics place the Bahá'í Faith around 0.1% of the world population in recent years. The World Christian Encyclopedia estimated only 7.1 million Bahá'ís in the world in 2000, representing 218 countries, and its evolution to the World Christian Database (WCD) estimated 7.3 million in 2010 while accredited through the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA). However the WCD stated: "The Baha'i Faith is the only religion to have grown faster in every United Nations region over the past 100 years than the general population; Baha'i [sic] was thus the fastest-growing religion between 1910 and 2010, growing at least twice as fast as the population of almost every UN region." This source's only documented flaw was to consistently have a higher estimate of Christians than in other cross-national data sets. 2015's estimate is of 7.8 million Bahá'ís in the world.
From its origins in the Persian and Ottoman empires of the 19th century the Bahá'í Faith was able to gain converts elsewhere in Asia, Europe, and North America by the early 20th century. John Esslemont performed the first review of the worldwide progress of the religion in 1919. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, son of the founder of the religion, then set goals for the community through his Tablets of the Divine Plan shortly before his death. Shoghi Effendi then initiated systematic pioneering efforts that brought the religion to almost every country and territory of the world and converts from more than 2000 tribes and peoples. There were serious setbacks in the Soviet Union where Bahá'í communities in 38 cities across Soviet territories ceased to exist. However plans continued building to 1953 when the Bahá'ís initiated a Ten Year Crusade after plans had focused on Latin America and Europe after WWII. That last stage was largely towards parts of Africa. Wide-scale growth in the religion across Sub-Saharan Africa particularly was observed to begin in the 1950s and extend in the 1960s. There was diplomatic pressure from northern arab countries against this development that was eventually overcome. Starting in the 1980s with Perestroyka the Bahá'ís began to re-organize across the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. While sometimes failing to meet official minimums for recognitions as a religion, communities of Bahá'ís do exist from Poland to Mongolia. The worldwide progress was such that the Encyclopædia Britannica (2002) identified the religion as the second-most geographically widespread religion after Christianity. It has established Bahá'í Houses of Worship by continental region and been the object of interest and support of diverse non-Bahá'í notable people from Leo Tolstoy to Khalil Gibran to Mohandas K. Gandhi to Desmond Tutu. See List of Bahá'ís for a list of notable Bahá'ís.
ARDA/WCD statistics place the Bahá'í Faith as currently the largest religious minority in Iran (despite significant persecution and the overall Iranian diaspora), Panama, and Belize; the second largest international religion in Bolivia, Zambia, and Papua New Guinea; and the third largest international religion in Chad and Kenya. In 2014 the religion was officially recognized in Indonesia and in addition to various countries it is the second largest religion in state of South Carolina – a fact that, despite its small size, got some attention in 2014. Based on data from 2010, Bahá'ís were the largest minority religion in 80 counties out of the 3143 counties in the United States. The countries with the fastest annual growth from 2000 to 2015 per annum, where a country has over 100,000 people, were, (starting with the fastest): Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Western Sahara, South Sudan, and Niger, ranging from 3.90% growth per year up to 9.56%.
Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha, who lived and taught in northeastern India in the 5th century BC. The majority of Buddhists live in Asia; Europe and North America also have populations exceeding 1 million. According to scholars of religious demographics, there are between 488 million, 495 million, and 535 million Buddhists in the world.
According to Johnson and Grim, Buddhism has grown from a total of 138 million adherents in 1910, of which 137 million were in Asia, to 495 million in 2010, of which 487 million are in Asia. According to them, there was a fast annual growth of Buddhism in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and several Western European countries (1910–2010). More recently (2000–2010), the countries with highest growth rates are Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and some African countries. The Australian Bureau of Statistics, through statistical analysis, held Buddhism to be the fastest-growing spiritual tradition in Australia in terms of percentage gain, with a growth of 79.1% for the period 1996 to 2001 (200,000→358,000).
And according to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey, over the next four decades the number of Buddhists around the world is expected to decrease from 487 million in 2010 to 486 million in 2050. The decline is due to several factors such as the low fertility level among Buddhists (1.6 children per woman), and the old age (median age of 34), compare to the overall population.
According to a survey of religion in China in the year 2010, the number of people practicing some form of Chinese folk religion is near to 950 million (70% of the Chinese), of which 173 million (13%) practice some form of Taoist-defined folk faith. Further in detail, 12 million people have passed some formal initiation into Taoism, or adhere to the official Chinese Taoist Association. Comparing this with other surveys, evidence suggests that nowadays three-fifths to four-fifths of the Chinese believe in folk religion. This shows a significant growth from the 300–400 million people practicing Chinese traditional religion that were estimated in the 1990s and early 2000s.
This growth reverses the rapid decline that Chinese traditional religion faced in the 20th century. Moreover, Chinese religion has also spread throughout the world following the emigration of Chinese populations, with 672,000 adherents in Canada as of 2010.
Since the 1980s, with the gradual opening of society, folk religion has begun to recover. Especially in the rural areas, the speed and scale of its development are much faster and larger than is the case with Buddhism and Christianity [...] in Zhejiang province, where Christianity is better established than elsewhere, temples of folk religion are usually twenty or even a hundred times as numerous as Christian church buildings.
The number of adherents of the Chinese traditional religion is difficult to count, because:
Chinese rarely use the term "religion" for their popular religious practices, and they also do not utilize vocabulary that they "believe in" gods or truths. Instead they engage in religious acts that assume a vast array of gods and spirits and that also assume the efficacy of these beings in intervening in this world.
The Chinese folk religion is a "diffused religion" rather than "institutional". It is a meaning system of social solidarity and identity, ranging from the kinship systems to the community, the state, and the economy, that serves to integrate Chinese culture.
According to 2011 Pew Research Center survey, there are 2.2 billion Christians around the world in 2010, up from about 600 million in 1910. And according to 2012 Pew Research Center survey, within the next four decades, Christians will remain the world's largest religion; if current trends continue, by 2050 the number of Christians will reach 2.9 billion (or 31.4%).
By 2050, the Christian population is expected to exceed 3 billion. Christians have 2.7 children per woman, which is above replacement level (2.1). According to Pew Research Center study, by 2050 the number of Christians in absolute number is expected to grow to more than double in the next few decades, from 517 million to 1.1 billion in Sub Saharan Africa, from 531 million to 665 million in Latin America and Caribbean, from 287 million to 381 million in Asia, and from 266 million to 287 million in North America.
By 2050, Christianity is expected to remain the majority of population and the largest religious group in Latin America and Caribbean (89%), North America (66%), Europe (65.2%) and Sub Saharan Africa (59%).
According to Mark Jürgensmeyer of the University of California, popular Protestantism is one of the most dynamic religious movements in the contemporary world. Changes in worldwide Protestantism over the last century have been significant. Since 1900, due primarily to conversion, Protestantism has spread rapidly in Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America. That caused Protestantism to be called a primarily non-Western religion. Much of the growth has occurred after World War II, when decolonization of Africa and abolition of various restrictions against Protestants in Latin American countries occurred. According to one source, Protestants constituted respectively 2.5%, 2%, 0.5% of Latin Americans, Africans and Asians. In 2000, percentage of Protestants on mentioned continents was 17%, more than 27% and 5.5%, respectively.
The significant growth of Christianity in non-Western countries led to regional distribution changes of Christians. In 1900, Europe and the Americas were home to the vast majority of the world's Christians (93%). Besides, Christianity has grown enormously in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Pacific. In 2010, 26% of the world's Christians lived in Europe, followed by 24.4% in Latin America and the Caribbean, 23.8% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 13.2% in Asia and the Pacific, 12.3% in North America, and 1% in the Middle East and North Africa. The study also suggested that by 2050, the global Christian population will change considerably. By 2050, 38% of the world's Christians will live in the Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by 23% in Latin America and the Caribbean, 16% in Europe, 13% in Asia and the Pacific and 10% of the world's Christians will live in North America .
Christianity adds about 65.1 million people annually due to factors such as birth rate, religious conversion and migration, while losing 27.4 million people annually due to factors such as death rate, religious apostasy and immigration. Most of the net growth in the numbers of Christians is in Africa, Latin America and Asia. According to Harvard University professor Robert D. Putnam, an increasing number of Americans are leaving their faith and becoming unaffiliated. By 2050, Christianity is expected to remain the majority in the United states (66.4%, down from 78.3% in 2010), and the number of Christians in absolute number is expected to grow from 243 million to 262 million.
Christianity is still the largest religion in Western Europe, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, 71.0% of the Western European population identified themselves as Christians. According to the same study, a large majority of those who raised as Christians (83%) in Western Europe, still identified themselves as Christians today. On the other hand, Central and Eastern European countries did not experience a decline in the percentage of Christians, as the proportion of Christians in these countries have mostly been stable or even increasing.
According to a 2005 paper submitted to a meeting of the American Political Science Association, most of Christianity's growth has occurred in non-Western countries. The paper concludes that the Pentecostalism movement is the fastest-growing religion worldwide. Protestantism is growing as a result of historic missionary activity and indigenous Christian movements by Africans in Africa, and due primarily to conversion in Asia, Latin America, Muslim world, and Oceania. According to Pew Research Center, Christianity is declining in the United states while non-Christian faiths are growing.
The US Department of State estimated in 2005 that Protestants in Vietnam may have grown by 600% over the previous 10 years. In South Korea, Christianity has grown from 2.0% in 1945 to 20.7% in 1985 and to 29.3% in 2010, And the Catholic Church has increased its membership by 70% in the last ten years. In Singapore, the percentage of Christians among Singaporeans increased from 12.7%, in 1990, to 17.5%, in 2010. In recent years, the number of Chinese Christians has increased significantly; Christians were 4 million before 1949 (3 million Catholics and 1 million Protestants), and are reaching 67 million today, Christianity is reportedly the fastest growing religion in China with average annual rate of 7%. Some reports also show that many of the Chinese Indonesians minority convert to Christianity, Demographer Aris Ananta reported in 2008 that "anecdotal evidence suggests that more Buddhist Chinese have become Christians as they increased their standards of education". According to a poll conducted by the Gallup Organization in 2006, Christianity has increased significantly in Japan, particularly among youth, and a high number of teens are becoming Christians. In Iran, Christianity is reportedly the fastest growing religion with an average annual rate of 5.2%.
In 1900, there were only 8.7 million adherents of Christianity in Africa, while in 2010 there were 390 million. It is expected that by 2025 there will be 600 million Christians in Africa. In Nigeria, the percentage of Christians has grown from 21.4%, in 1953, to 50.8%, in 2010. In South Africa, Pentecostalism has grown from 0.2%, in 1951, to 7.6%, in 2001.
Catholic Church membership in 2013 was 1.254 billion, which is 17.7% of the world population, an increase from 437 million, in 1950 and 654 million, in 1970. The main growth areas have been Asia and Africa, 39% and 32%, respectively, since 2000.
Since 2010, the rate of increase was of 0.3% in the Americas and Europe. On the other hand, Eric Kaufman, of University of London, argued that the main reason for expansion of Catholicism and conservative Protestantism along with other religions is because their religions tend to be "pro-natal" and they have more children, and not due to religious conversion.
Protestantism is one of the most dynamic religious movements in the contemporary world. From 1960 to 2000, the global growth of the number of reported Evangelicals grew three times the world's population rate, and twice that of Islam. Evangelical Christian denominations also are among the fastest-growing denominations in some Catholic Christian countries, such as Brazil and France (France jumping from 2% to 3% of the population). In Brazil, the total number of Protestants jumped from 16.2% in 2000 to 22.2% in 2010 (for the first time, the percentage of Catholics in Brazil is less than 70%). These cases don't contribute to a growth of Christianity overall, but rather to a substitution of a brand of Christianity with another one.
According to the records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its membership has grown every decade since its beginning in the 1830s, that it is among the top ten largest Christian denominations in the U.S., and that it was the fastest growing church in the U.S. in 2012.
Studies and reports estimate significantly more people have converted from Islam to Christianity in the 21st century than at any other point in Islamic history. According to 2015 Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census study estimates 10.2 million Muslim convert to Christianity around the world. Conversion into Christianity have also been well documented, and reports estimate that hundreds of thousands of Muslims convert to Christianity annually. Significant number of Muslims converted to Christianity can be found in Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, Kosovo, The United States and Central Asia . Many of the Muslims who converts to Christianity face social rejection or imprisonment and sometimes even murder or other punishments for becoming Christians in countries with Muslim majority.
The 19th century saw at least 250,000 Jews convert to Christianity according to existing records of various societies. Data from the Pew Research Center has it that, as of 2013, about 1.6 million adult American Jews identify themselves as Christians, most as Protestants. According to the same data, most of the Jews who identify themselves as some sort of Christian (1.6 million) were raised as Jews or are Jews by ancestry. According to a 2012 study, 17% of Jews in Russia identify themselves as Christians.
While according to Pew Research Center survey it is expected that from 2010 to 2050 significant number of Christians will leave their faith. Most of the switching are expected into the unaffiliated and Irreligion. On the other hand, conversion into Christianity have also been well documented. Large increases in the developing world (around 23,000 per day) have been accompanied by substantial declines in the developed world, mainly in Europe and North America. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, approximately 2.7 million converting to Christianity annually from another religion, World Christian Encyclopedia also cited that Christianity rank at first place in net gains through religious conversion. On the other hand, demographer Conrad Hackett of Pew Research Center stated that the World Christian Encyclopedia gives a higher estimate for percent Christian when compared to other cross-national data sets. While according to "The Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion", approximately 15.5 million converting to Christianity annually from another religion, while approximately 11.7 million leave Christianity annually, and most of them become irreligious, resulting in a net gain of 3.8 million.
It's been reported also that increasing numbers of young people are becoming Christians in several countries. It's been also reported that conversion into Christianity is significantly increasing among Korean, Chinese, and Japanese in the United States. By 2012 percentage of Christians on mentioned communities was 71%, more than 30% and 37%, respectively. In 2010 there were approximately 180,000 Arab Americans and about 130,000 Iranian Americans who converted from Islam to Christianity, Studies estimated approximately that 20,000 Muslims convert to Christianity annually in the United States. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, between 1965 and 1985 about 2.5 million Indonesian converted from Islam to Christianity. Many people who convert to Christianity face persecution.
The 2001 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) survey, which involved 50,000 participants, reported that the number of participants in the survey identifying themselves as deists grew at the rate of 717% between 1990 and 2001. If this were generalized to the US population as a whole, it would make deism the fastest-growing religious classification in the US for that period, with the reported total of 49,000 self-identified adherents representing about 0.02% of the US population at the time.
Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world. Unlike most major religions, Hinduism does not have a core dogma or doctrine and is more like an "open source" code which adapts to regional variations in perspective of god  Hinduism is a growing religion in countries such as Ghana, Russia, and the United States.
79.80% of India's population is Hindu, accounting for about 90% of Hindus worldwide. Their 10-year growth rate is estimated at 20% (based on the period 1991 to 2001), corresponding to a yearly growth close to 2%.
In 1990, 1.1 billion people were Muslims, while in 2010, 1.6 billion people were Muslims. According to the BBC, a comprehensive American study concluded in 2009 the number stood at approximately 23% of the world population with 60% of Muslims living in Asia. From 1990 to 2010, the global Muslim population increased at an average annual rate of 2.2%. By 2030 Muslims are projected to represent about 26.4% of the global population (out of a total of 7.9 billion people). "Although the religion began in Arabia, by 2002 80% of all believers in Islam lived outside the Arab world". On the other hand, in 2010, Pew Forum finds "that statistical data for Muslim conversions are scarce and as per their available information, there is no substantial net gain or loss of Muslims due to religious conversion. It stated that "the number of people who embrace Islam and those who leave Islam are roughly equal. Thus, this report excludes the religious conversion as a direct factor from the projection of Muslim population growth." The growth of Islam from 2010 to 2020 has been estimated at 1.70% due to high birthrates in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The report also shows that the fall in birth rate of the Muslims slowed down the growth rate during 1990 to 2010. It is due to the fall of fertility rate in many Muslim majority countries. Despite the decline Muslims still have the highest birth rate among the world's major religious groups. According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the World Christian Database as of 2007 has Islam as the fastest-growing religion in the world. A 2007 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report argued that some Muslim population projections are overestimated, as they assume that all descendants of Muslims will become Muslims even in cases of mixed parenthood.
Resurgent Islam is one of the most dynamic religious movements in the contemporary world. The Vatican's 2008 yearbook of statistics revealed that for the first time, Islam has outnumbered the Roman Catholics globally. It stated that, "Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world", and stated that, "It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer". According to the Foreign Policy, High birth rates were cited as the reason for the Muslim population growth. With 3.1 children per woman, Muslims have higher fertility levels than the world's overall population between 2010 and 2015. High fertility is a major driver of projected Muslim population growth around the world and in particular regions. Between 2010 and 2015, with exception of the Middle East and North Africa, Muslim fertility of any other region in the world was higher than the rate for the region as a whole. While Muslim birth rates are expected to experience a decline, it will remain above replacement level and higher fertility than the world's overall by 2050. As per U.N.'s global population forecasts, as well as the Pew Research projections, over time fertility rates generally converge toward the replacement level. Globally, Muslims were younger (median age of 23) than the overall population (median age of 28) as of 2010. While decline of Muslim birth rates in coming years have also been well documented. According to David Ignatius, there is major decline in Muslim fertility rates as pointed out by Nicholas Eberstadt. Based on the data from 49 Muslim-majority countries and territories, he founds that Muslims birth rate has significantly dropped for 41% between 1975 and 1980 to 2005–10 while the global population decline was 33% during that period. It also stated that over 50% declined was found in 22 Muslim countries and over 60% decline in Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Libya, Albania, Qatar and Kuwait.
According to the religious forecast for 2050 by Pew Research Center, between 2010 and 2050 modest net gains through religious conversion are expected for Muslims (3 million) and most of the net gains through religious conversion for Muslims found in the Sub Saharan Africa (2.9 million). The study also reveals that, due to young age & relatively high fertility rate among Muslims by 2050 there will be near parity between Muslims (2.8 billion, or 30% of the population) and Christians (2.9 billion, or 31%), possibly for the first time in history. According to Pew Research Center the projected Muslims population will equal the Christian population by 2070. While both religions will grow but Muslim population will exceed the Christian population and by 2100, Muslim population (35%) will be 1% more than the Christian population (34%). By the end of 2100 Muslims are expected to outnumber Christians. According to the same study, Muslims population growth is twice of world's overall population growth due to young age and relatively high fertility rate and as a result Muslims are projected to rise to 30% (2050) of the world's population from 23% (2010).
While the total Fertility Rate of Muslims in North America is 2.7 children per woman in the 2010 to 2015 period, well above the regional average (2.0) and the replacement level (2.1). Europe's Muslim population also has higher fertility (2.1) than other religious groups in the region, well above the regional average (1.6). A new study of Population Reference Bureau by demographers Charles Westoff and Tomas Frejka suggests that the fertility gap between Muslims and non-Muslims is shrinking and although the Muslim immigrants do have more children than other Europeans but their fertility tends to decline over time, often faster than among non-Muslims.
Generally, there are few reports about how many people leave Islam in Muslim majority countries. The main reason for this is the social and legal repercussions associated with leaving Islam in many Muslim majority countries, up to and including the death penalty for apostasy. However, the report also suggest that in future, it is also possible that these societies could allow for greater freedom to religiously disaffiliate. On the other hand the increasingly large ex-Muslim communities in the Western world that adhere to no religion have been well documented. A 2007 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report argued that some Muslim population projections are overestimated, as they assume that all descendants of Muslims will become Muslims even in cases of mixed parenthood. Equally, Darren E. Sherkat questioned in Foreign Affairs whether some of the Muslim growth projections are accurate as they do not take into account the increasing number of non-religious Muslims. Quantitative research is lacking, but he believes the European trend mirrors the American: data from the General Social Survey in the United States show that 32 percent of those raised Muslim no longer embrace Islam in adulthood, and 18 percent hold no religious identification. Studies show that about half of the 4.2 million persons from Muslim background in Germany are no longer embrace Islam in adulthood. Many Muslims who leave Islam face social rejection or imprisonment and sometimes murder or other penalties. According to Harvard University professor Robert D. Putnam, there is increasing numbers of Americans who are leaving their faith and becoming unaffiliated and the average Iranian is slightly less religious than the average American. According to Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, the number of Iranian Americans Muslims decreased from 42% in 2008 to 31% in 2012. On the other hand, conversion into Islam have also been well documented. It is reported that around 5,000 British people convert to Islam every year (most of them are women). According to a report by CNN, "Islam has drawn converts from all walks of life, most notably African-Americans". Studies estimated approximately 30,000 converting to Islam annually in the United States.
By 2010 an estimated 44 million Muslims were living in Europe (6%), up from 4.1% in 1990. By 2030, Muslims are expected to make up 8% of Europe's population including an estimated 19 million in the EU (3.8%), including 13 million foreign-born Muslim immigrants. Islam is widely considered as the fastest growing religion in Europe due primarily to immigration and above average birth rates. Between 2010 and 2015 the Muslim fertility rate in Europe was (2.1). On the other hand, the fertility rate in Europe as a whole was (1.6). Pew study also reveals that Muslims are younger than other Europeans. In 2010, the median age of Muslims throughout Europe was (32), eight years younger than the median for all Europeans (40). According to a religious forecast for 2050 by Pew Research Center conversion does not add significantly to the growth of the Muslim population in Europe, according to the same study the net loss is (−60,000) due to religious switching.
The Pew Research Center notes that "the data that we have isn't pointing in the direction of 'Eurabia' at all", and predicts that the percentage of Muslims is estimated to rise to 8% in 2030, due to immigration and above average birth rates. And only two western European countries – France and Belgium – will become around 10 percent Muslim, by 2030. According to Justin Vaïsse the fertility rate of Muslim immigrants declines with integration. He further points out that Muslims are not a monolithic or cohesive group, Most academics who have analysed the demographics dismiss the predictions that the EU will have Muslim majorities. It is completely reasonable to assume that the overall Muslim population in Europe will increase, and Muslim citizens have and will have a significant impact on European life. The prospect of a homogenous Muslim community per se, or a Muslim majority in Europe is however out of the question. Eric Kaufman of University of London denied the claims of Eurabia. According to him, Muslims will be a significant minority rather than majority in Europe and as per their projections for 2050 in the Western Europe, there will be 10–15 per cent Muslim population in high immigration countries such as Germany, France and the UK. Eric Kaufman also argue that the main reason why Islam is expanding along with other religions, is not because of conversion to Islam, but primarily to the nature of the religion, as he calls it "pro-natal", where Muslims tend to have more children. However, Doug Saunders states that by 2030 Muslims and Non-Muslims birth rates will be equal in Germany, Greece, Spain and Denmark without taking account of the Muslims immigration to these countries. He also states that Muslims & Non-Muslims fertility rate difference will decrease from 0.7 to 0.4 and this different will continue to shrink as a result of which Muslims and non-Muslims fertility rate will be identical by 2050.
According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, the fastest-growing denomination in Islam is Ahmadiyya with a growth rate of 3.25%, however, most of the Muslim population and scholars do not regard Ahmadis to be Muslims. Most other sects have a growth rate of less than 3%.
In 2010 Asia was home for (62%) of the world's Muslims, and about (20%) of the world's Muslims lived in the Middle East and North Africa, (16%) in Sub Saharan Africa, and 2% in Europe. By 2050 Asia will home for (52.8%) of the world's Muslims, and about (24.3%) of the world's Muslims will live in Sub Saharan Africa, (20%) the Middle East and North Africa, and 2% in Europe. As per the Pew Research study, Muslim populations will grow in absolute number in all regions of the world between 2010 and 2050. The Muslim population in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to reach nearly 1.5 billion by 2050, up from roughly 1 billion in 2010. The growth of Muslims is also expected in the Middle East-North Africa region, It is projected to increase from about 300 million in 2010 to more than 550 million in 2050. Besides, the Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to grow from about 250 million in 2010 to nearly 670 million in 2050 which is more than double. The absolute number of Muslims is also expected to increase in regions with smaller Muslim populations such as Europe and North America. Due to young age & relatively high fertility rate, Muslim population will rise nearly 30% in 2050. In Europe Muslim population will be nearly double (from 6% to 10%). In North America, it will grow 1% to 2%. In Asia Pasific region, Muslims will surpass the Hindus by the time. In 2010 Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria was home for (48%) of the world's Muslims. By 2050 Pakistan is projected to have the world's largest Muslim population followed by India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Bangladesh, and expected to be home for (45%) of the world's Muslims.
There exist different views among scholars about the spread of Islam. Islam began in Arabia and from 633 AD until the late 10th century it was spread through conquests, far-reaching trade and missionary activity.
According to Rodney Stark, Islam was spread after military conquests after Arab armies began overtaking Christian regions from Syria to North Africa and Spain, as well as Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Hindu regions in Central Asia, parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia via military invasions, traders and Sufi missionaries. According to some scholars, the Jizya (poll tax) was the most important factor in the mass conversion to Islam, the tax paid by all non-Muslims (Dhimmis – which translated means "protected persons") in Islamic empires (such as Christians under Ottoman Empire's authority, Hindus and Buddhists under regime of Muslim invaders, Coptic Christians under administration of the Muslim Arabs, Zoroastrians living under Islamic rule in ancient Persia, and also with Jewish communities in the medieval Arab world) while some scholars indicate that some Muslim rulers in India did not consistently collect the jizya (poll tax) from Dhimmis. Under Islamic law, Muslims are required to pay Zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims take 2.5% out of their salaries and use the funds give to the needy. ; since non-Muslims are not required to pay Zakat, they instead had to pay Jizya if they wanted the same protections the Muslims received.
According to other scholars many converted for a whole host of reasons, the main statement of which was evangelisation by Muslims, though there were several instances where some were pressured to convert owing to internal violence and friction between the Christian and Muslim communities, according to historian Philip Jenkins. However John L. Esposito, a scholar on the subject of Islam in The Oxford History of Islam states that the spread of Islam "was often peaceful and sometimes even received favourably by Christians". In a 2008 conference on religion at Yale University's The MacMillan Center Initiative on Religion, Politics, and Society which hosted a speech from Hugh Kennedy, he stated forced conversions played little part in the history of the spread of the faith. However, the poll tax known Jizyah may have played a part in converting people over to Islam but as Britannica notes "The rate of taxation and methods of collection varied greatly from province to province and were greatly influenced by local pre-Islamic customs" and there were even cases when Muslims had the tax levied against them, on top of Zakat. Hugh Kennedy has also discussed the Jizyah issue and stated that Muslim governments discouraged conversion but were unable to prevent it.
The American Religious Identification Survey gives Wicca an average annual growth of 143% for the period 1990 to 2001 (from 8,000 to 134,000 – U.S. data / similar for Canada & Australia). According to The Statesman Anne Elizabeth Wynn claims "The two most recent American Religious Identification Surveys declare Wicca, one form of paganism, as the fastest growing spiritual identification in America". Mary Jones claims Wicca is one of the fastest-growing religions in the United States as well. Wicca, which is largely a "Pagan" religion primarily attracts followers of nature-based religions in, as an example, the Southeast Valley region of the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area.
The American Religious Identification Survey gave nonreligious groups the largest gain in terms of absolute numbers: 14.3 million (8.4% of the population) to 29.4 million (14.1% of the population) for the period 1990–2001 in the U.S. A 2012 study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reports, "The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling."
A similar pattern has been found in other countries such as Australia, Canada, and Mexico. According to statistics in Canada, the number of "Nones" increased by about 60% between 1985 and 2004. In Australia, census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics give "no religion" the largest gains in absolute numbers over the 15 years from 1991 to 2006, from 2,948,888 (18.2% of the population that answered the question) to 3,706,555 (21.0% of the population that answered the question). According to INEGI, in Mexico, the number of atheists grows annually by 5.2%, while the number of Catholics grows by 1.7%. In New Zealand, 39% of the population are irreligious making it largest percentage of total population in Oceania region.
According to a religious forecast for 2050 by Pew Research Center the percentage of the world's population that unaffiliated or Nonreligious is expected to drop, from 16% of the world's total population in 2010 to 13% in 2050. The decline is largely due to the advanced age (median age of 34) and low fertility among unaffiliated or Nonreligious (1.7 children per woman in the 2010–2015 period). Sociologist Phil Zuckerman's global studies on atheism have indicated that global atheism may be in decline due to irreligious countries having the lowest birth rates in the world and religious countries having higher birth rates in general.
By 2050 unaffiliated or Nonreligious was expected to account 27% of North America total population (up from 17.1% as in 2010), and 23% of Europe total population (up from 18% as in 2010) according to Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. The religiously unaffiliated are stationed largely in the Asia-Pacific region, where 76% resided in 2010, and is expected to be 68% by 2050. The share of the global unaffiliated population living in Europe is projected to grow from 12% in 2010 to 13% in 2050. The proportion of the global religiously unaffiliated living in North America, will rise from 5% in 2010, to 9% in 2050.
Statistics on religious adherence are difficult to gather and often contradictory; statistics for the change of religious adherence are even more so, requiring multiple surveys separated by many years using the same data gathering rules. This has only been achieved in rare cases, and then only for particular countries, such as the American Religious Identification Survey in the United States, or census data from Australia (which has included a voluntary religious question since 1911).
The World Religion Database (WRD) is a peer-reviewed database of international religious statistics based on research conducted at the Institute on Culture, Religion & World Affairs at Boston University. It is published by Brill and is the most comprehensive database of religious demographics available to scholars, providing data for all of the world's countries. Adherence data is largely compiled from census and surveys. The database groups adherents into 18 broadly-defined categories: Agnostics, Atheists,[a] Baha'is, Buddhists, Chinese folk-religionists, Christians, Confucianists, Daoists, Ethnoreligionists, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, New Religionists, Shintoists, Sikhs, Spiritists, and Zoroastrians. The WRD is edited by demographers Todd M. Johnson and Brian J. Grim.
|Religion / Irreligion||1910||2010||Rate*|
|Chinese folk religion||390,504,000||22.2||436,258,000||6.3||0.11||0.16|
|*Rate = average annual growth rate, percent per year indicated
Source: Todd M. Johnson and Brian J. Grim
Projections of future religious adherence are based on assumptions that trends, total fertility rates, life expectancy, political climate, conversion rates, secularization, etc will continue. Such forecasts cannot be validated empirically and are contentious, but are useful for comparison.
This article is about the particular significance of the year 1888 to Wales and its people.Celtic mythology
Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure. For Celts in close contact with Ancient Rome, such as the Gauls and Celtiberians, their mythology did not survive the Roman Empire, their subsequent conversion to Christianity and the loss of their Celtic languages. It is mostly through contemporary Roman and Christian sources that their mythology has been preserved. The Celtic peoples who maintained either political or linguistic identities (such as the Gaels in Ireland and Scotland, the Welsh in Wales, and the Celtic Britons of southern Great Britain and Brittany) left vestigial remnants of their ancestral mythologies that were put into written form during the Middle Ages.Desecularization
Desecularization is a sociological term that describes the proliferation or growth of religion, usually after a period of prior secularization. The theory of desecularization is reactionary to the older theory known as The Secularization Thesis, which referred to the gradual decline religion to a point of extinction. In the last few decades, scholars have gestured to continued church attendance in Western countries, the rise in religious fundamentalism and the prevalence of religious conflict as evidence of the continued relevance of religion in the modern world. A former proponent of the earlier secularization thesis, Peter L. Berger, has now expressed his support for the newer theory, stating that the "world today... is as furiously religious as it ever was.”Fomorians
The Fomorians (Old Irish: Fomoire, Modern Irish: Fomhóraigh) are a supernatural race in Irish mythology. They are often portrayed as hostile and monstrous beings who come from the sea or underground. Later, they were portrayed as giants and sea raiders. They are enemies of Ireland's first settlers and opponents of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the other supernatural race in Irish mythology. However, their relationship with the Tuath Dé is complex and some of their members intermarry and have children. The Fomorians have thus been likened to the jötnar of Norse mythology.
The Fomorians seem to have been gods who represent the harmful or destructive powers of nature; personifications of chaos, darkness, death, blight and drought. The Tuath Dé, in contrast, seem to represent the gods of growth and civilization.God
In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith. God is usually conceived as being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present) and as having an eternal and necessary existence. These attributes are used either in way of analogy or are taken literally. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial). Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence (being outside nature) and immanence (being in nature) of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence".
Some religions describe God without reference to gender, while others or their translations use sex-specific terminology. Judaism attributes only a grammatical gender to God, using terms such as "Him" or "Father" for convenience.God has been conceived as either personal or impersonal. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. In pantheism, God is the universe itself. In atheism, there is an absence of belief in God. In agnosticism, the existence of God is deemed unknown or unknowable. God has also been conceived as the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent". Many notable philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.Monotheists refer to their gods using names prescribed by their respective religions, with some of these names referring to certain cultural ideas about their god's identity and attributes. In the ancient Egyptian era of Atenism, possibly the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten, premised on being the one "true" Supreme Being and creator of the universe. In the Hebrew Bible and Judaism, Elohim, Adonai, YHWH (Hebrew: יהוה) and other names are used as the names of God. Yahweh and Jehovah, possible vocalizations of YHWH, are used in Christianity. In the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, God, coexisting in three "persons", is called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Islam, the name Allah is used, while Muslims also have a multitude of titular names for God. In Hinduism, Brahman is often considered a monistic concept of God. In Chinese religion, Shangdi is conceived as the progenitor (first ancestor) of the universe, intrinsic to it and constantly bringing order to it. Other religions have names for the concept, for instance, Baha in the Bahá'í Faith, Waheguru in Sikhism, Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in Balinese Hinduism, and Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism.The many different conceptions of God, and competing claims as to God's characteristics, aims, and actions, have led to the development of ideas of omnitheism, pandeism, or a perennial philosophy, which postulates that there is one underlying theological truth, of which all religions express a partial understanding, and as to which "the devout in the various great world religions are in fact worshipping that one God, but through different, overlapping concepts".God is Back
God is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World is a 2009 book by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge which argues against the secularization thesis and claims that there is a global revival of faith has started in the late twentieth century.
Micklethwait and Wooldridge provided a quick coverage of American history, in which they argue that American religion was dramatically transformed by the disestablishment of churches after the American Revolution. An emerging "free market" of religious choices led Americans to become increasingly pluralistic and tolerant of other forms of Christianity. The voluntary nature of religious association led Americans to take ownership of their own institutions and churches, helping create a democratic sense of responsibility for creating associations and community. These features of American culture, along with the First Amendment's separation of church and state, ensured that American religions could only survive by appealing to the common people. This democratized American Christianity, leading average Americans to shape religious movements themselves. In the post-Revolutionary period, all this led America in an increasingly pluralist and democratic direction.Micklethwait and Wooldridge argue that the religions growing around the world tend to exhibit these same features. World religions—and Christianity, in particular—are growing fastest where they are: competing with other religious alternatives, unsupported by state governments, and entirely dependent upon popular interest. Writing against the fear that the growth of religion will increase warfare and strife, Micklethwait and Wooldridge argue that a democratic and pluralistic culture would help minimize these dangers while maximizing the benefits of religion. Finally, while the authors suggest that Islam too could be modernized and introduced to a pluralistic culture, they suspect that Islam is less amenable for this transition than Christianity.Kirkus Reviews called it "A meaningful contribution to the ongoing conversation about the place of faith in modern life."Henotheism
Henotheism (from Greek ἑνός θεοῦ (henos theou), meaning 'of one god') is the worship of a single god while not denying the existence or possible existence of other deities. Friedrich Schelling (1775–1854) coined the word, and Friedrich Welcker (1784–1868) used it to depict primitive monotheism among ancient Greeks.Max Müller (1823–1900), a German philologist and orientalist, brought the term into wider usage in his scholarship on the Indian religions, particularly Hinduism whose scriptures mention and praise numerous deities as if they are one ultimate unitary divine essence. Müller made the term central to his criticism of Western theological and religious exceptionalism (relative to Eastern religions), focusing on a cultural dogma which held "monotheism" to be both fundamentally well-defined and inherently superior to differing conceptions of God.Henry Nelson Wieman
Henry Nelson Wieman (1884–1975) was an American philosopher and theologian. He became the most famous proponent of theocentric naturalism and the empirical method in American theology and catalyzed the emergence of religious naturalism in the latter part of the 20th century. His grandson Carl Wieman is a Nobel laureate, and his son-in-law Huston Smith was a prominent scholar in religious studies.Hibbert Lectures
The Hibbert Lectures are an annual series of non-sectarian lectures on theological issues. They are sponsored by the Hibbert Trust, which was founded in 1847 by the Unitarian Robert Hibbert with a goal to uphold "the unfettered exercise of private judgement in matters of religion.". In recent years the lectures have been broadcast by the BBC.John Rhys
Sir John Rhys, (also spelled Rhŷs; 21 June 1840 – 17 December 1915) was a Welsh scholar, fellow of the British Academy, Celticist and the first Professor of Celtic at Oxford University.List of calendars
This is a list of calendars. Included are historical calendars as well as proposed ones. Historical calendars are often grouped into larger categories by cultural sphere or historical period; thus O'Neil (1976) distinguishes the groupings Egyptian calendars (Ancient Egypt), Babylonian calendars (Ancient Mesopotamia), Indian calendars (Hindu and Buddhist traditions of the Indian subcontinent), Chinese calendars and Mesoamerican calendars.
These are not specific calendars but series of historical calendars undergoing reforms or regional diversification.
In Classical Antiquity, the Hellenic calendars inspired the Roman calendar, including the solar Julian calendar introduced in 45 BC. Many modern calendar proposals, including the Gregorian calendar itself, are in turn modifications of the Julian calendar.Religion
Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life". Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim mostly to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, and other things. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religion groups, namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion. The religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion, atheists, and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs.The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief.Siris (goddess)
The Mesopotamian goddess Siris was the patron of beer who is conceived of as a demon, which is not necessarily evil. She is said to be the daughter of the goddess Ninkasi.Although beer as we know it had its origins in Mesopotamia, fermented beverages quickly spread around the world from Mesopotamia as the drink was shared with kings and rulers.
Siris is considered the mother of Zu; a large bird that can breathe fire and water.Sodom and Gomorrah
Sodom and Gomorrah () were cities mentioned in the Book of Genesis and throughout the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and in the deuterocanonical books, as well as in the Quran and the hadith.According to the Torah, the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah were allied with the cities of Admah, Zeboim, and Bela. These five cities, also known as the "cities of the plain" (from Genesis in the Authorized Version), were situated on the Jordan River plain in the southern region of the land of Canaan. The plain was compared to the garden of Eden[Gen.13:10] as being well-watered and green, suitable for grazing livestock. Divine judgment was passed upon Sodom and Gomorrah and two neighboring cities, which were consumed by fire and brimstone. Neighboring Zoar (Bela) was the only city to be spared. In Abrahamic religions, Sodom and Gomorrah have become synonymous with impenitent sin, and their fall with a proverbial manifestation of divine retribution.[Jude 1:7]Sodom and Gomorrah have been used historically and in modern discourse as metaphors for homosexuality, and are the origin of the English words, sodomite, a pejorative term for male homosexuals, and sodomy, which is used in a legal context to describe sexual "crimes against nature", namely anal or oral sex (particularly homosexual) and bestiality. This is based upon exegesis of the biblical text interpreting divine judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah as punishment for the sin of homosexuality, though some contemporary scholars dispute this interpretation. Some Islamic societies incorporate punishments associated with Sodom and Gomorrah into sharia.The Rise of Christianity
The Rise of Christianity (subtitled either A Sociologist Reconsiders History or How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries, depending on the edition), is a book by the sociologist Rodney Stark, which examines the rise of Christianity, from a small movement in Galilee and Judea at the (supposed) time of Jesus to the majority religion of the Roman Empire a few centuries later.Theodoric
Theodoric is a Germanic given name. First attested as a Gothic name in the 5th century, it became widespread in the Germanic-speaking world, not least due to its most famous bearer, Theoderic the Great, king of the Ostrogoths.Urmonotheismus
The term Urmonotheismus (German for "primeval monotheism") or primitive monotheism expresses the hypothesis of a monotheistic Urreligion, from which non-monotheistic religions degenerated. This evolutionary view of religious development is diametrically opposed to another evolutionary view of religion: the hypothesis that religion progressed from simple forms to complex: first pre-animism, then animism, totemism, polytheism and finally monotheism (see Anthropology of religion).Wilhelm Schmidt (linguist)
Wilhelm Schmidt SVD (February 16, 1868 – February 10, 1954) was an Austrian linguist, anthropologist, and ethnologist.
Wilhelm Schmidt was born in Hörde, Germany in 1868. He entered the Society of the Divine Word in 1890 and was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1892. He studied linguistics at the universities of Berlin and Vienna.
Schmidt’s main passion was linguistics. He spent many years in study of languages around the world. His early work was on the Mon–Khmer languages of Southeast Asia, and languages of Oceania and Australia. The conclusions from this study led him to hypothesize the existence of a broader Austric group of languages, which included the Austronesian language group. Schmidt managed to prove that Mon–Khmer language has inner connections with other languages of the South Seas, one of the most significant findings in the field of linguistics.
From 1912 to his death in 1954, Schmidt published his 12-volume Der Ursprung der Gottesidee (The Origin of the Idea of God). There he explained his theory of primitive monotheism, the belief that primitive religion among almost all tribal peoples began with an essentially monotheistic concept of a high god — usually a sky god — who was a benevolent creator. Schmidt theorized that human beings believed in a God who was the First Cause of all things and Ruler of Heaven and Earth before men and women began to worship a number of gods:
"Schmidt suggested that there had been a primitive monotheism before men and women had started to worship a number of gods. Originally they had acknowledge only one Supreme Deity, who had created the world and governed human affairs from afar." In 1906, Schmidt founded the journal Anthropos, and in 1931, the Anthropos Institute, both of which still exist today. In 1938, Schmidt and the Institute fled from Nazi-occupied Austria to Fribourg, Switzerland. He died there in 1954.
His works available in English translation are: The Origin and Growth of Religion: Facts and Theories (1931), High Gods in North America (1933), The Culture Historical Method of Ethnology (1939), and Primitive Revelation (1939).
On Primitive Revelation, Eric J. Sharpe has said: "Schmidt did believe the emergent data of historical ethnology to be fundamentally in accord with biblical revelation—a point which he made in Die Uroffenbarung als Anfang der Offenbarung Gottes (1913) . . . A revised and augmented version of this apologetical monograph was published in an English translation as Primitive Revelation (Sharpe 1939)."