These are some of the key findings of a new report released by the Pew Research Center, called Global Christianity: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population, which provides data on the world’s Christian population by region, country and tradition.
• Almost half (48 percent) of all Christians live in the 10 countries with the largest number of Christians. Three of the top 10 are in the Americas (the United States, Brazil and Mexico). Two are in Europe (Russia and Germany); two are in the Asia-Pacific region (the Philippines and China); and three are in sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia), reflecting Christianity’s global reach.
• Christians are diverse theologically as well as geographically. About half are Catholic. Protestants, broadly defined, make up 37 percent. Orthodox Christians comprise 12 percent of Christians worldwide. Other Christians, such as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, make up the remaining 1 percent of the global Christian population.
• Taken as a whole, Christians are by far the world’s largest religious group. Muslims, the second-largest group, make up a little less than a quarter of the world’s population, according to previous studies by the Pew Forum.
• Although Christianity began in the Middle East-North Africa, that region today has both the lowest concentration of Christians (about 4 percent) and the smallest number of Christians (about 13 million) of any major geographic region.
• Although Christians comprise just under a third of the world’s people, they form a majority of the population in 158 countries and territories, about two-thirds of all the countries and territories in the world.
• Nigeria now has more than twice as many Protestants (broadly defined to include Anglicans and independent churches) as Germany, the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation.
• About 90 percent of Christians live in countries where Christians are in the majority; only about 10 percent of Christians worldwide live as minorities.
Week in Religion
– Jan. 4, 1915, Democrat Moses Alexander, 62, was sworn in as governor of Idaho. He was the first elected Jewish governor in the U.S.
– Jan. 5, 1531, Pope Clemens VII forbids English King Henry VIII to re-marry.
– Jan. 6, 548, this was the last year the Church in Jerusalem observed the birth of Jesus on this date. (Celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 began in the late 300s in the Western Church.)
— William D. Blake, Almanac of the Christian Church
“The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears” by Mark Batterson
What impossibly big dream is God calling you to draw a prayer circle around? Sharing inspiring stories from his own experiences as a circle maker, Pastor Mark Batterson will help you uncover your heart’s deepest desires and God-given dreams and unleash them through the kind of audacious prayer that God delights to answer.
Quote of the week
“There is nothing like a calm look into the eternal world to teach us the emptiness of human praise.” — Scottish clergyman Robert Murray McCheyne
Christian Coalition: A group of political conservatives who generally also represent conservative theological views. It was founded in 1989 by televangelist Pat Robertson and is considered the successor to the Moral Majority, founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell in 1979.
Religion Around the World
Religious makeup of 1995 census
Christian: 26.3 percent
Buddhist: 23.2 percent
Other or unknown: 1.3 percent
None: 49.3 percent
– CIA Factbook
GateHouse News Service