The TV pundits and talking heads always talk about “war against Christmas” (like here, or here) that is implicitly part of a larger war against Christianity. In my own experience, growing up in a family of Southern Baptists, I’ve heard pastors frequently lament the “narrow path” that Christians walk and its unpopularity at large. A new report, however, suggests that these lines of rhetoric have little substance.
“The Global Religious Landscape,” a study released by the Pew Research Center, discusses every major religious group, including humans unaffiliated with any religion, in depth. What’s most striking is the sheer immensity and reach of Christianity.
|Firstly, Christianity has the most adherents in the world. This fact in and of itself likely comes as no surprise, but the gap between Christianity and Islam may: Eight percent of the world population represents around 560 million people.
And the graph below shows how Christianity dominates religious life on at four of the six inhabited continents, while it has a large number of followers on the other two. All in all, 157 of the 232 countries and territories in this study have Christian majorities, and any given Christian has an 87% chance of living in a country that is majority Christian. That’s unparalleled penetration.
While most religions have one or two regions where have demographic significance, Christianity spreads itself almost evenly over five different regions. People don’t tend to associate Christianity with China, but the country has around 60 million adherents and gains more every single day. So, essentially, wherever the next growth boom happens (or continues to happen, in China’s case), Christianity will probably already have a substantial follower base in the area.
So, the “War on Christianity” talk seems to have little to no merit, and if it does, Christianity is kicking ass and taking names. Check the attribution below if you’d like to see more graphs about Christianity or any one of eight major groups.
“The Global Religious Landscape,” Pew Research
via “Our Christian Earth: The Astounding Reach of the World’s Largest Religion in Charts and Maps,” Max Fisher, The Washington Post