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The Global Religious Landscape


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#1    eight bits

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 06:41 PM

In our discussions here, we frequently need figures on worldwide religious affiliation, or for one or more individual countries, how many belong to what religion (if any),  and where. A new bid to become the standard reference is the Pew Research Center's report, The Global Religious Landscape.

http://www.pewforum....-landscape.aspx

The Pew site offers the report itself, and some online features for stats geeks. Learning the navigation alone will take a day :) .

The big picture? Pew figures a world population of 6.9 billion, 5.8 billion (84%) of whom they find to be "religiously affiliated." Most of the rest, 700 million, are the religiously unaffiliated of China.

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The demographic study – based on analysis of more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers – finds 2.2 billion Christians (32% of the world’s population), 1.6 billion Muslims (23%), 1 billion Hindus (15%), nearly 500 million Buddhists (7%) and 14 million Jews (0.2%) around the world as of 2010. In addition, more than 400 million people (6%) practice various folk or traditional religions, including African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, Native American religions and Australian aboriginal religions. An estimated 58 million people – slightly less than 1% of the global population – belong to other religions, including the Baha’i faith, Jainism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Tenrikyo, Wicca and Zoroastrianism, to mention just a few.


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#2    Sean93

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:17 AM

For places like the UK, there are loads of Atheists/ non-religious people over here but they'll be recorded as being baptised or indoctrinated into a faith and so appear as part of that faith, adding to the overall percentage. I am down as a Catholic but don't actually practice the religion nor consider myself one - Even the schools here (Northern Ireland) are Catholic and Protestant based.

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Kinda' makes you wonder which god/goddess is the right one considering there's thousands of them.

Edited by Sean93, 20 December 2012 - 12:18 AM.

"Regarding life, the wisest men of all ages have judged it alike: It is worthless."

"Be peaceful, be courteous, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."

#3    eight bits

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 07:50 AM

That is something we have discussed here many times, What does it mean to be a member of a religion, or to affiliate with one? In a worldwide survey this is especially difficult. Official censuses vary in what they ask, and in some places, like the United States, the best information (which is also from the Pew organization) is basically a public opinion poll.

So, the idea is to choose a criterion and try to get the big picture. This study looked for current self-described affiliation. So in your hypothetical, especially in places like the UK, you should pick up those people who do not see themselves as members of any religion as "unaffiliated." That would include currently unaffiliateds who may have been affiliated, whether personally or by proxy, in the past.

What do you do about a situation like Germany, where government-recorded church affiliation exposes the individual to an extra tax? Are the people who remain registered especially good churchers, putting their money where there mouth is? Or are they lethargic or socially motivated? What about those who unregister themselves? Are they lousy Christians, or do they take Jesus at his word: Render unto Caesar what's Caesar's, and to God what's God's. Nothing there about rendering what's God's to Caesar for Caesar to reimburse God.

Even apart from statistical problems, I think it would be ridiculous to try to pick out who is a "true" member of a religion. The only time I think that makes any sense is when the charge is "The person is untruthful and deceptive about s religious foundation for their actions." It never works, in my opinion, for situations like "They only go to church for Easter, Christmas, weddings and funerals" or "They use Sirach as a canonical book, when any real Chrisitan knows it's apocryphal."

You also raise another interesting point:

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Kinda' makes you wonder which god/goddess is the right one considering there's thousands of them.

That reflects a parochial Protestant perspective on what religion is: some body of believed propositions. If you do a worldwide survey, then you need to face up to not all religions having a corpus of beliefs, or nobody giving a rat's patootie whether or not you "believe" the shared and distinguishing body of lore.

Even in the modern West, the largest Christian church defines membership, and remaining in good standing, by practice not belief. (So, what a member "teaches" is regulated, but what she "believes" is between her and God). Now turn to Japan. Lots of Shinto affiliators, and Shinto has lots of distinctive mythological content.

What do they do with the myths? The same thing that Western artists do with, say, Greek or Norse mythology: they create ritual art, especially dance in Shinto. The religion is in the dancing. Believing doesn't even come up, any more than anybody asks whether Wagner believed in Odin. To ask the question of Wagner is to misunderstand what opera is; to ask it of a Shinto affiliator is to misunderstand what religion is.

Or worse, to treat an adherent to Shinto as a lapsed Protestant polytheist. In a Shinto context, the "right" god or goddess is the one whose dance you are dancing. What does ontology, much less epistemology, have to do with dance?

Edited by eight bits, 20 December 2012 - 07:55 AM.

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#4    AsteroidX

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 07:57 AM

America is Red atm. Will keep you posted.


#5    AsteroidX

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:10 AM

Yep still REd


#6    and then

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:47 PM

View PostAsteroidX, on 20 December 2012 - 08:10 AM, said:

Yep still REd
Are you saying America is Jewish?

  Imagination is the power in the turn of a phrase.

#7    AsteroidX

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:12 PM

No. Im saying USA is moving towards socialism based upon a consumerism mindset. So Americans are not. Yes in a country of our size there is need for social programs. But violating the Constitution to further this agenda is where we are today. (Tip of the Iceberg statement)





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