Christianity is no longer centered on Europe, according to a Pew study. Christianity is the largest religion in the world with 2.2 billion followers (there are 1.6 billion Muslims), but it no longer regions traditionally known as Christian. Meanwhile new areas are receiving Christianity at a faster rate than ever before.
What is Christianity?
Christianity as defined by the AP and Pew appears to mean any religion that is not Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or atheist. In secular terms, Christian often means Roman Catholic and could include Protestants and Baptists. Truth in the Word believes Christians are those who have received the New Birth through faith in Jesus Christ. After all, how else can anyone be Christ-like?
The terms used in the Pew study seem to include almost everyone who is neither Jewish nor Muslim in the group under the Christian label. Because of its broad definition of Christianity, the new report shows a demographic shift that is both cultural and religious. For many, the report signals a disturbing trend.
Religious shifts reflect the cultural, moral and political decline of Europe. Where the continent once hosted one-third of all Christians, it now hosts just one-quarter. Two times as many Christians live in Brazil as live in Italy, and Nigeria has double the number of Christians as Germany has.
Strong in the Americas
About 37 percent of the world’s Christian population lives in North and South America, but South America has seen the largest expansion of the faith. Meanwhile, the U.S. Christian population continues to erode as the nation embraces Islam and other alternatives.
Just because Christianity is spreading doesn’t mean adherents hold consistent beliefs throughout the world. In the U.S. and Europe, many mainstream denominations including the Church of Rome have diluted their beliefs to accommodate secular trends such as gay clergy, sodomite marriage, non-literal interpretations of the Bible and lax enforcement of Christian doctrine.
In Africa, South America and Asia, Christianity is distinctly more conservative, causing problems among Denominational leaders who want to strengthen international ties.
Often in the Minority
According to the study, 90 percent of all Christians live in countries that have a Christian majority. This leaves much of the world, including the Middle East and North Africa hosting minority Christian groups that are often targets of violence. Since turmoil in Egypt overthrew the pro-western government there, Egyptian Christians have become systematically attacked by that nation’s Islamic majority.