Recent surveys suggest that the westernized nations are steadily becoming more secular, good news for most of us. On the other hand, third word nations are seeing a rise in theism. Unfortunately I have not seen direct demographics as to what religions are spreading the most. I have seen some references that seem to indicate that Islam is the current fastest growing religion. Evidently third world nations are outpacing population growth over westernized nations. So like it or not, theism world wide is in fact growing. Christianity certainly dominates Islam in western nations. The greatest, less educated populations are evidently dominated by Islam. So if this is indeed the trend, then should we expect Islam to become a more dominant religion than Christianity has ever been? With the education level of first world countries, should we expect to see a steady decline in Christianity and a powerful increase in an Islamic influence throughout the world?
Here's one chart.
In the long stretch of history, we can't assume that the planet will remain hospitable to burgeoning masses of people of all faiths and ethnicities, in all areas equally.
Despite the massive humanitarian tragedy of it all, an awful lot of the Muslim population is in low-lying areas, such as Indonesia (something like 250 million people there) with 42 million people at risk of drowning in about 30 years. Then there's Bangladesh - highest population density in the world, 168 million people, which sounds like it will be almost uninhabitable in about 20 or 30 years, plus many of the people in the Arabian peninsula and North Africa who will not be in a more habitable place either, with encroaching and worsening desertification on the one hand - and face it, we've been letting Africans die of disaster and famine for generations, and do nothing about it - and rising sea levels on the other. As awful as it is to contemplate, it seems that many of the world's Muslims are set to receive a disproportionate proportion of climate catastrophe. And the rest of the world is not set to receive them now, let alone in the next few decades, which means, essentially, a massive passive genocide, maybe hundreds of millions of people, by climate, famine, and neglect. One new strain if influenza, not caught in time by a new vaccine, and a place with teeming, impoverished people like Bangladesh, will loose many millions by disease as well. In the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, 50 to 100 million people were killed worldwide, and that was when the world population was much smaller and much less connected.
That leaves those who are in higher and more habitable lands such as Iran and Afghanistan, although I wouldn't call Afghanistan exactly Eden-like. Then there's those in Europe and the West, where nonMuslims are starting to say "enough is enough" due to the terrorist issue and nonassimilationism and generalized bigotry and tribalism.
Just free associating here, and I do not have god-like ability to predict the future. I'm just saying, cheer up! There will probably be massive, unprecedented, horrific humanitarian disaster on the planet, before Muslims outnumber the rest of us! :-)
So, there are many forces out there, human, local, global, economic, climatic, political, that interact with these trends. Maybe Muslims in the West or even in the Muslim heartlands will start to question how, if their god is the one and only god, and blesses his people, can they be so cursed. Then again, a lot of it is cultural and tribalism, and those are noncognitive processes.
I'm not going to worry too much about it. There's no way to predict, and who knows what will happen?
More serious image, chart with religious trends.
Thank you, Daniel
The Pew Report matches my predictions; or is it the other way around? In any event, the next and future generations have massive changes facing them.
Permaculture is capable of rebuilding dead soils caused by plowing and using chemicals that kill microorganisms in the soils. Farmers can restore soils ... IF there are water and enlightened techniques used.
Coastal food production areas destroyed by flooding creates demand for more agricultural land. Farmers from America's coastal areas will move up the rivers and streams.
Refugees of many nations and all religions will be flooding our agricultural areas. If they come and repeat the mistakes that past farmers made, they will deplete the soil. When I ride through the farmlands of northeast Washington state, I see many farmers who continue to leave their lands bare to the elements of wind and water. If refugees also make that mistake, our fertile top soils will be blown or washed away even faster than it already is.
Who will claim to own the land and water?
Daniel, I agree that "I'm not going to worry too much about it. There's no way to predict, and who knows what will happen?" However, I can encourage people to grow food for their families using enlightened methods.
Is it not interesting that modern farming techniques come from those methods employed by farmers centuries ago and the art and science of those ancient peoples return to modern agriculture?!
Just ask Lindsy Lohan.