If Faith is Weak, then so is Doubt

Issue 1905

24 April 2019

A few years ago, Conrad Hackett, head of the team that published the Pew Research Center’s report on the spread of different religions, made this statement to the Wall Street Journal: “Between 2015 and 2020, Christians are projected to experience the largest losses due to switching. Globally, about 5 million people are expected to become Christians in this five-year period, while 13 million are expected to leave Christianity, with most of these departures joining the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated.”

In reference to Europe, he said: “In the majority of countries, including England, Germany and Italy, deaths among Christians have exceeded births by six million between 2010 and 2015. This natural decline in aging Christian Europe is unique in contrast to other parts of the world. The Christian population of Europe will likely decline by 100 million in the coming decades, declining from 533 million in 2010 to 454 million in 2050. By 2050, nearly one quarter of Europeans (23 percent) will not have any religious affiliation.”[1]

This kind of sociological data is certainly not comforting. Nevertheless, undoubtedly more troubling is the persistence in Europe of the cultural process that has assailed the religious world and imposed a sense of its irrelevance, even at the popular level.

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