After a major new study by the Pew Research Center, the Washington Post ran an article titled, “The World is Expected to Become More Religious—Not Less.” Jurgen Habermas, is a staunch defender of the enlightenment view that only secular reasoning should be used in the public square. He recently startled the philosophical establishment by saying that science and technology alone cannot provide answers to moral questions. Philosopher, Charles Taylor, argues that the beauty of art and nature “hit us hard” because of the “spiritual” aspects of our life. English philosopher, Roger Scruton, speaks of a “sacred order” that “keeps erupting into our consciousness.”
Secular philosophers, leaders and cultural thinkers are noticing a growing trend around the world: people are drawn toward religion and toward God, in ever increasing numbers. The transcendence of love, beauty and meaning just cannot be adequately explained by science, technology and philosophy alone. The “secularization theory,” that as civilizations become more modern, religion declines, has been proven to be empirically false. Countries, such as China, are becoming more religious (Christian), even as they modernize.
Most striking of all the research, is that it’s not religious populations, but secular ones, that are in long-term decline. The April 2015 Pew Study projects that the percentage of atheists, agnostics and the “religiously unaffiliated” will slowly decline, from 16.4 percent today, to 13.2 percent forty years from now. University of London Professor, Eric Kaufmann, calls it the “crisis of secularism.”
The growth of Christianity around the world is stunning. Last Sunday there were more Christians attending church in China than were in all of “Christian Europe.” In East Asia in 1970, Christianity will have grown from 11.4 million Christians, (1.2 percent of the population), to 171.1 million by 2020, (10.5 percent of the population). In Africa in 1910, only 12 million people, (9 percent of Africa’s population), were Christians, but they will number 630 million, (49.3 percent of the populace), by 2020. Evangelical Christianity has grown from 9 percent to 19 percent in Latin America over the last 30 years. Latin American Protestants shot up from 50,000 in 1900, to 64 million in 2000, according to Evangelical scholar William Taylor. Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches make up three-quarters of this number. It’s a great time to be alive!
Bullish on Christianity,
Steve Holt D.D. MA
Research for this blog:
Making Sense of God by Timothy Keller
National Catholic Reporter
Pew Research Center