“Islam Overtakes Catholicism as the World’s Largest Religion”has been a headline that has hit the blogosphere hard and taken off running… But there are some points to ponder when taking in this story…
Islam is not a singular cohsesive institution… There are divisions. If we are going to compare all adherents to forms of Islam to another group, wouldn’t it be all adherents to forms of Christianity? If we are going to compare the largest sub-groups… Well Holy Mother Church still is the largest single religious body the world has ever known. And we are still growing.
Something to really consider though – Muslims have more children.
This isn’t about who is winning the race in the door-to-door Mormon style door knocking missionary work. The numbers aren’t a function of who is converting the non-believers quicker. It is about who is “making their own”.
On that score one may think I am suggesting Catholics start hunkering down and having as many babies as possible from ages 16-45… That isn’t quite the case. (Though I would applaud anyone who went for the family of 15!)
I believe the decline represents who the West is missing and has forgotten – the generations that were silently terminated.
Add up all the abortions – both surgical and chemical that take place annually – and have now taken place for decades – among a post-Christian cultures that treat children and families as burdens rather than the wealth families truly are, and we begin to see what has happened and is happening.
On another forum there is a poster who keeps asking “why is Islam more attractive than Catholicism?” which to me was like asking my grandmother – one of 13 Quebecois kids growing up on a farm“Why was Catholicism more attractive to all 13 of the LaVoy children?” The answer: Because Henri and Yvonne LaVoy made it the exclusive attraction!
As long as the bastions of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular (Europe) continues to depopulate, any group or movement that continues to replace and expand population will grow larger.
Having said that, keep an eye on sub-Saharan Africa and on SE Asia. The fertility rates are higher there (they haven’t learned to fear large families as representing a “drain on their wealth” yet) and Christianity is outpacing Islam in conversions in many of these mission fields.