Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Christians are gaining in numbers, not atheists

I am redating this post. 

According to this report from Inside Catholic.

HT: Bob Prokop


SteveK said...

"One cluster of comparative growth statistics is striking: As of mid-2011, there will be an average of 80,000 new Christians per day (of whom 31,000 will be Catholics) and 79,000 new Muslims per day, but 300 fewer atheists every 24 hours."


Boz said...

Where is the actual report? I can't find it.

This is interesting because I have read similar reports that show different conclusions - that is - 'none' and islam increasing with christianity decreasing.

Bob Prokop said...

Here's the link to the original report:

Unfortunately, you can't access it unless you register with the website, or subscribe to the journal.

woodchuck64 said...

(free registration needed)

This year’s report continues to document the resurgence of religion. At first glance, however, religion seems to be on the wane. A comparison of 1900 (99.8 percent religious) and 2011 (88.6 percent religious) shows that the world is less religious today than it was 100 years ago. (Add lines 13 and 17 and then divide by line 1 for the percentage of the world that is not religious in a particular year. Subtracting this figure from 100 percent then gives the percentage that is religious.) If we consider the figure for 1970 (80.8 percent religious), however, we can see that the world is more religious today than it was four decades ago. Furthermore, our projections for 2025 point to a more religious world in the future (up to 90.5 percent). What is behind these trends? The main factor is the collapse of Communism. While secularization has been slowly at work around the world, especially in Europe, the largest number of agnostics and atheists emerged under Communism in the Soviet Union and China. The high point of nonreligious adherence was thus around 1970. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, large numbers of the nonreligious returned to religion. One of the most profound examples is Albania, formerly a bastion of atheism, which today is almost entirely Muslim or Christian.

Our projections for the future show a sustained decline of the nonreligious. This is due primarily to the resurgence of Buddhism, Christianity, and other religions in China. If this trend continues, agnostics and atheists will be a smaller portion of the world’s population in 2025 than they are today. {29}

My conclusion? Communist atheists don't "stick".

Boz said...

thanks, bob prokop

Mr Veale said...

Mr Veale said...

Wright's Book

is also excellent, and provides some encouraging news about the state of evangelicalism in the State.


Edward T. Babinski said...

If by "Christian" they mean, "infants born into a Christian family," then I suppose the statistics on the "rise of Christianity" are secure.

Though if by "none" they mean people who move away from their familial faith in their teens or later, then I suppose the statistics for the rise of more moderate, progressive, emergent, liberal, mystical, universal, agnostic, atheistic types of thinking are also secure.

Neither of these things are going away soon.

Bob Prokop said...



I myself am a Christian, but the adjectives (depending by what you mean by them) "moderate, progressive, emergent, liberal, mystical, and universal" also all apply to me. Correct me if I misunderstand you, but are you implying these things are incompatible?

(You do lose me at agnostic and atheistic, of course.)

Al Moritz said...

I myself am a Christian, but the adjectives (depending by what you mean by them) "moderate, progressive, emergent, liberal, mystical, and universal" also all apply to me. Correct me if I misunderstand you, but are you implying these things are incompatible?

Applies to me ditto, and same question.

GREV said...

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I am looking forward to reading this.

David B Marshall said...

I'm afraid I see this as pretty meaningless. It's certainly nonsense to say 1/3 of the WORLD is "Christian" in any real sense.

The stat on atheists is also probably wrong. 78% of Chinese say they have no religion. 39% say they have engaged in some quasi-religious activity, like venerating ancestors, in the past years, or burning incense, but that's commonly done with no belief. Probably there are at least 600 million atheists or fairly strong agnostics in China alone. And my guess is, this survey over-estimates how many Christians there are in China, too.

Atheism HAS lost ground, if you take communist countries into account. But let's not get carried away.

Jason Pratt said...

Obviously the statistical data wouldn't constitute a rise in various religious options (including evangelical Protestant and Roman Catholic Christianity) unless the children stayed in the belief they were raised with in substantial numbers.

Just as obviously, if atheists want to take up the advantages of children being raised in atheistic families holding to atheism (or maybe dropping out in adolescence and returning in maturity), then the solution is to have more children instead of fewer children.

Though then there would be the conceptual problem that many such children would fail the Outsider Test as uncritical atheists who are atheists primarily because of their environmental training. But hey, sauce for the goose, etc. {g}


Jason Pratt said...

That being said, I don't consider an argument from majority numbers or growth/decline statistics to be any substantial barometer of whether a metaphysical position is true or not. It's mostly of interest in evaluating the immediate topical competency of statements like "God is dying, get used to it, NYAAAHHHH! :PPPPPP" or the like.


Riff Rafferty said...


I could've sworn that about 3-4 years ago, I read in Time magazine that atheists only made up about 10% of the world population, whereas now when I look online, every site says we are at 16% now.

i find there are many of us out there, we just choose to not speak up. Which is of course very dangerous...the church has it's fingers in every pie imaginable.