Christianity on the Rise in 21st Century?

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NEW YORK, APR. 5, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Despite the growth of Islam in recent years, at least one reference work is predicting that Christianity´s share of the world´s population will grow by 2050.



The updated World Christian Encyclopedia, just published by Oxford University Press, says that by midcentury there will be 3 billion Christians, constituting 34.3% of the world´s population, up from the current 33%.

Christians now number 2 billion and are divided into 33,820 denominations and churches, in 238 countries, and use 7,100 languages, the encyclopedia says.

The first edition of this encyclopedia arrived 20 years ago. The current two-volume, 1,800-page work is edited by American David B. Barrett, an Anglican minister with a background of missionary activity in Kenya.

The encyclopedia estimates there are about 10,000 religions in the world. Nonbelievers and atheists constitute about 15% of the world´s population. Christians head the list of religions; half of them, or 17.5% of the world´s population, are Catholics. They are followed by Muslims, with 18.9%; Hindus, 13.3%; Chinese religions (of which Confucianism is only a minimal part), 6.6%; and Buddhists, 6%.

The Bahai faith comprises 0.1% of the world´s population and is found in 218 countries. Jews comprise 0.2%. Christians are in the majority in two-thirds of the world´s countries.