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Growth in religious affiliation

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 24 Mar 2013

A major survey of religious identity and trends in world Christianity since 1910 has indicated that religious affiliation has surged globally since 1970, and Christianity and Islam both make up growing segments of the world’s population. So much for the triumph of secularism and atheism.

The study, by Dr Todd Johnson of Gordon-Conwell Seminary in Massachussetts, found that 12 per cent of people claimed no religious affiliation in 2010, compared with 20 per cent in 1970. Currently Christians comprise 33 per cent of the world’s population, while Muslims compromise 22 per cent.

The strongest growth in Christian affiliation over the past century has been in Africa, rising from a low 9 per cent to 47.9 per cent claiming Christian affiliation.

The fastest growth was among agnostics and atheists, though both categories have been shrinking since 2000. If present trends continue, by 2050 36 per cent of the world’s population will identify as Christian, and by 2100 two-thirds of the world’s population will be either Christian or Muslim.

I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.

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