By Christy Barritt
A new study claims that the world is more religious now than it was four decades ago.
The study, titled “Christianity In Its Global Context, 1970-2010,” was conducted by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. Researchers said they expect the trend in growth to continue to 2020 and even beyond.
In 1970, nearly 80 percent of the world’s population was religious. By 2010, that number had grown to 88 percent. The increase is largely attributed to the continuing resurgence of religion in China.
In contrast, the agnostic and atheist populations together in 1970 were 19.3 percent of the world’s total population. This was attributed largely to communism. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, sizable numbers returned to religion.
The report also showed that Christianity is growing in the global south, in areas like Africa and Latin America. However, it’s declining in the global north at “a dramatic rate.”
Most Saintly Cities
According to a new study, the most saintly city in the United States isn’t in the Bible belt.
Using data from the U.S. Census, the real estate blog Movoto listed “America’s Most Saintly Cities.” They assessed 95 cities and focused on certain criteria associated with sin. Some of the criteria, evaluated per capita, included strip clubs, cosmetic surgeons, violent crime, theft, charitable giving, obesity, and physically inactive residents.
The top “Saintly” city was New York, New York.
It was followed by Gilbert, Arizona; Fremont, California; Glendale, California; Chula Vista, California; Chandler, Arizona; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Long Beach, California; San Jose, California; and Irvine, California.
“If anything, between our two surveys of the most and least sinful cities, we’ve found that the long-held belief that the South and Midwest are more traditionally wholesome no longer stands up,” said Randy Nelson of movodo.com.
Pastor Arrested for Preaching Against Homosexuality
A ministry-minded American was charged with “using homophobic speech that could cause people anxiety, distress, alarm or insult” after preaching on a London street corner.
Tony Miano was preaching about immoral living when he cited homosexuality as an example of a lifestyle choice that is contrary to biblical teaching.
Miano is a retired deputy sheriff and former chaplain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He was preaching with a ministry group called Sports Fan Outreach International during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.
Miano said a woman videotaped him and then called the police, who were concerned about homophobic speech. Miano said he didn’t limit his remarks to homosexuality, but also included pornography, sex outside of marriage, and lust.
Though he was ultimately released, Miano said that he fears what happened in Great Britain could soon happen here in the United States as well.
Young Atheists: Why They Left the Church
A recent article in Atlantic Monthly explored the reasons that young Christians leave the faith and embrace atheism. Larry Taunton of the Fixed Point Foundation asked members of the Secular Students Associations on college campuses around the country about their journey to unbelief.
While researchers expected answers to include lure of materialism or even a rebellion against Christian morals, the more typical reason surprised them.
Many students said that their loss of faith coincided with their church’s attempt to ingratiate itself to them instead of challenging them. In other words, they were being entertained instead of being taught.
Other interesting quotes researchers heard included, “the mission and message of their churches was vague,” and the church offered “superficial answers to life’s difficult questions.”
Students also said that ministers they most respected were the ones who “took the Bible seriously” and not those who sought to entertain them or be their “buddy.”
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.