Trends

Are Arabs turning their backs on religion?

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The BBC reports:

Since 2013, the number of people across the Arab world identifying as "not religious" has risen from 8% to 13%. The rise is greatest in the under 30s, among whom 18% identify as not religious.

 
 

The trend in North Africa is significantly greater than the rest of the Arab world. Iranians aren’t Arabs, they’re Persians, but it would be interesting to know the trend there. I think the drift to secularism in Iran would be even greater in response to an oppressive Islamic regime.

Another indicator of rising secularism in the Arab world is the declining fertility rate. In general, the more religious you are the more children you have, the more secular, the lower the fertility rate. Forty years after the Islamic Revolution, Iranians are disillusioned with Islam and becoming secular. They’ve also become the most responsive people to the gospel on the planet. Perhaps the same trend is emerging in the Arab Muslim world.

The US Needs 8,000 New Churches Every Year Just to Keep Up

I think church planting is just about as hard as it has ever been in the history of the U.S.

For years the closure rate of churches [in the US] was about 3,700 a year, and they’re anticipating that that number will move to about 5,500. All the while, there’s going to be probably another 100 million people that will come to the U.S. in the next seven years, either through birth or immigration. So the need continues to grow and grow and grow.

We need to be planting about 8,100 churches per year just to keep up with the population and the closure rates.

Of the new churches that Stadia serves, 42 percent of the attendance of those churches is made up of first time believers.

Justin Moxley
Stadia Church Planting

Engineers of the (Chinese) Soul

Xi Jinping, CPC Central Committee General Secretary

Xi Jinping, CPC Central Committee General Secretary

The production of souls is more important than the production of tanks.... And therefore I raise my glass to you, writers, the engineers of the human soul.

Joseph Stalin

There’s an ideology and strategy behind increased persecution of Christians in China. Unfortunately it’s the new reality under Xi Jinping.

John Garnaut explains.

This is the most important and disturbing article I’ve read on China in a long time, but let’s not forget that as the nations conspire and plot against the Lord and his people, the One enthroned in heaven laughs (Ps 2:1-4).

Religious Commitment: US and W Europe compared

Pew Research

Pew Research

According to Pew Research:

The United States has a religious makeup that’s broadly similar to that of many Western European countries. Most people on both sides of the Atlantic say they are Christian, for example. At the same time, substantial shares in the U.S. and Europe say they are religiously unaffiliated: Roughly a quarter of the American adult population identify as “nones” (23%), similar to the shares in Germany (24%), the United Kingdom (23%) and other Western European countries.

At that point, however, the similarities end: U.S. adults – both Christian and unaffiliated – are considerably more religious than their European counterparts by a variety of other measures, according to an analysis of data from Pew Research Center’s 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study in the U.S. and a 2017 survey of Western Europeans. For instance, about two-thirds of U.S. Christians pray daily (68%), compared with a median of just 18% of Christians across 15 surveyed countries in Europe, including 6% in Britain, 9% in Germany, 12% in Denmark and 38% in the Netherlands.

Similarly, 27% of religious “nones” in the U.S. – those who describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – believe in God with absolute certainty. Across the surveyed nations in Western Europe, however, the share of religiously unaffiliated who believe in God with absolute certainty ranges from just 1% in Austria, France, Germany and the UK to 12% in Portugal, with a regional median of 3%.

At the other end of the spectrum, Americans are much less likely than Western Europeans to say they do not believe in a higher power of any kind (10% vs. a median of 26%).

U.S. adults are also much more likely than Europeans to believe in three traits that are commonly associated with Christian notions of God: that God “loves all people regardless of their faults,” “knows everything that goes on in the world,” and “has the power to direct or change everything that goes on in the world.” About six-in-ten Americans (61%) say that God is all-powerful, for instance, while the median in Western Europe on this question is 25%. And in Denmark and Sweden, only 13% of adults say this.

Related: Christian commitment around the world