Fundamentalist evangelical Christians like to state that they are members of the largest religion in the world and imply that the 2.1 billion global Christians all think the same as they do and that Christianity is rapidly growing. That is clearly incorrect.
In Australia, of the roughly 64% identifying as Christian in 2006, the largest proportions were either Roman Catholic (25.8%) or Anglican (18.7%), with the third largest group being the 5.7% affiliated with the Uniting Church in Australia. Baptists account for 2.5% of the total Christian population. The National Church Life Survey found about 8.8% of the Australian population attended a church in one of the covered denominations in a given week in 2001. That means that 91.2% of the population didn't attend church. Australia is thus hardly a Christian nation but one of the most secularised nations in the world.
Church attendance in civilised Western countries countries is falling as are the number of people calling themselves Christian.
"many scholars around the world are noticing how the trend of Christianity is losing its light in the West but rising as the new light in Asia, Africa, and Latin America." - the less educated countries. ""In Western Europe, we are hanging on by our fingernails. The fact is that Europe is no longer Christian."
Found in http://
" American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS 2008)
Prior to 1990, the popularity of Christianity had been stable in the U.S. About 87% of adults identified themselves as Christians. The country then experienced a major change. Significant numbers of American adults began to disaffiliate themselves from Christianity and from other organized religions. By 2008, the percentage of Christians had reached 76% and is believed to be continuing its decline.
The ex-Christians do not seem to have joined new religious movements (NRMs) or other world religions; they mostly left organized religion entirely.
Since World War II, this same process had been observed in other countries, like the U.K., other European countries, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Other links confirming this:
For statistical purposes: Groups which self-identify as part of Christianity include (but are not limited to): African Independent Churches (AICs), the Aglipayan Church, Amish, Anglicans, Armenian Apostolic, Assemblies of God; Baptists, Calvary Chapel, Catholics, Christadelphians, Christian Science, the Community of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("Mormons"), Coptic Christians, Eastern Orthodox churches, Ethiopian Orthodox, Evangelicals, Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Local Church, Lutherans, Methodists, Monophysites, Nestorians, the New Apostolic Church, Pentecostals, Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterians, the Salvation Army, Seventh-Day Adventists, Shakers, Stone-Campbell churches (Disciples of Christ; Churches of Christ; the "Christian Church and Churches of Christ"; the International Church of Christ); Uniate churches, United Church of Christ/
Obviously most in this list think that the others are "not true Christians".
If one looks at the numbers in each denomination one finds that of the 2.1 billion Christians on the face of the earth 1.2 billion are Catholics and only 670 million are Protestants. Protestants say that Catholics are "not true Christians" so, to be truthful, fundamentalist conservative evangelical Protestants should only count their 670 million as "true Christians" and from that number subtract all Mormons, Jehovah's witnesses, liberal Christians and other Protestant groups they think are "not true Christians". This puts fundamentalist conservative evangelical Protestants who are "true Christians" a little less in numbers than traditional Chinese religion (ranked 5th).
The numbers of total Christians (which include those whom Christians think are "not true Christians") does not reflect the very small number of Christians they think are "true Christians". So Christians include those whom they think are "not true Christians" when it comes to global numbers that are beneficial to them but exclude those same "not true Christians" in daily practice. It's called hypocrisy and double standard.
There are massive differences between Catholic and Orthodox theology compared to Protestant theology and even greater differences when it comes to comparison with the small minority of fundamentalist conservative Protestant Christians.
World Christian Database as of 2007 estimated the growth rate of Christianity at 1.38%. This is far from "considerable". Compare this to other religions:
1.94% - Islam
1.70% - Bahá'í Faith
1.62% - Sikhism
1.57% - Jainism
1.52% - Hinduism
1.38% - Christianity
Christianity is lagging behind those other religions.
Then , of course, there has been the growth of atheism. The figures released in 2007 of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census figures on religion demonstrates no-religion has increased by a marked 3.2% - that is 239.89% of the growth rate of Christianity.
Often quoted by evangelical Christians is the great numbers of Christians in the Sahara.
" the Christian share of the population of sub-Saharan Africa has soared over the past century, from 9% to 63%. Meanwhile, the think-tank says, the Christian proportion of Europeans and people in the Americas has dropped, respectively, from 95% to 76% and from 96% to 86%." - http://www.economist.com/node/21542195
The article at http://pewforum.org/Christian/
Evangelical Christians like to say that Catholics, Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons are "not true Christians" in ordinary everyday practice but when it comes to global numbers of Christians they are suddenly their best buddies. Nothing so wonderful as Christians counting heretics in their numbers.
Should we now mention how Christian belief has plummeted over the past 100 years in the West? " Europe now accounts for only 25.9 percent of the global Christian population, down 40 percent from a century ago."... While the majority of Christians lived in Europe in 1910, by 2010 only about one in four Christians live in Europe.” Europe accounted for 66.3 percent of the world’s Christian population in 1910. Today, it represents 25.9 percent. The proportion of European Christians has dropped from 94.5 percent of the population to 76.2 percent in 100 years.... The researchers used a broad definition in determining the number of Christians worldwide, with a sociological purpose rather than a theological one. “We are attempting to count groups and individuals who self-identify as Christian,” the report states. “This includes people who hold beliefs that may be viewed as unorthodox or heretical by other Christians. It also includes Christians who seldom pray or go to church.” ... Christianity has remained roughly one-third of the global population (35 percent in 1910, 32 percent in 2010), calling it a “picture of relative stability” as world population has grown.
“Growing churches continue to grow and declining churches continue to decline,” according to the National Council of Churches’ 2011 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches. What many of these reports do not say is that the churches that are growing, are simply picking up the members of those leaving the declining churches. ...
“If the current decline in church attendance were the medical case history of a hospital patient, the diagnosis would read: “Chronically ill; resistant to change; on life support; likely terminal.” The church itself is the one institution most in need of the very thing it proclaims to the world — salvation.”