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Wed Dec 19, 2012, 07:50 AM

Our Christian Earth: The astounding reach of the world’s largest religion, in charts and maps

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/18/our-christian-earth-the-astounding-reach-of-the-worlds-largest-religion-in-charts-and-maps/


Filipino Christians crowd into Manila’s streets for the annual procession of the Feast of the Black Nazarene. (David Greedy — Getty Images)

Christmas is an official government holiday in the United States, one that coincides with a smaller and informal but well-known tradition: debating whether or not there is a “war on Christmas.” In this thinking, American Christians are obligated to ”stand up and fight against this secular progressivism that wants to diminish the Christmas holiday,” as prominent Fox News host Bill O’Reilly recently argued. “We have to start to fight back against these people.” This is often portrayed as a global fight; O’Reilly, in one of his books, suggested that the “war on Christmas” is part of an effort to “mold in the image of Western Europe.”
This movement to defend one of Christianity’s most important holiday can sometimes seem to begin from the assumption that Christianity itself is on the defensive in the world, a besieged minority or at least under threat of being made one.

A very different picture emerges from a just-out Pew report, “The Global Religious Landscape.” There are a number of fascinating trends and details in the study, but it’s worth examining what it indicates about the place of Christianity in the world. And, based on this data, the world’s largest religion seems to be doing just fine.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s examine what the visualizations of Pew’s research show us. (You’ll notice that the data is from 2010; it’s not up-to-the-minute, but, given the challenges of a global survey and the slow rate at which global trends move, it’s still relatively current.) First, here is a chart of the world’s major religions by number of adherents.

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Reply Our Christian Earth: The astounding reach of the world’s largest religion, in charts and maps (Original post)
xchrom Dec 2012 OP
Jim__ Dec 2012 #1
cbayer Dec 2012 #2
okasha Dec 2012 #3
xchrom Dec 2012 #5
okasha Dec 2012 #6
ZombieHorde Dec 2012 #4
dimbear Dec 2012 #7

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 09:47 AM

1. The map showing majority religion in each nation is somewhat surprising to me.

I'm surprised to see most European nations - even East European nations and Russia showing Christianity as the majority religion - I would have expected more unaffiliated (only the Czech Republic and the Baltic States (all of them?) show as unaffiliated) and Albania as majority Muslim:


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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:01 PM

2. Great information in there and a few surprises.

I like his conclusion:

"If there truly is a war on Christmas or any other facet of Christianity, then, in global terms, it doesn’t seem to be doing very well."

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 02:35 PM

3. I wish they'd come up with some other term

than "Folk Religionists" for this chart. How about "Indigenous Religionists?" The "folk" is more than subtly disparaging--as in "folk art"--never quite up to museum standards, y'know--or "folk dance"--not the Bolshoi, old thing.

Edited to add: Looks to me like Christmas is winning the "war." Also to correct typos.

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Response to okasha (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 03:11 PM

5. I would respectfully disagree about the word 'folk'.

I think it carries dignity and tradition with in it.

And 'folk art' has attained a very good pedigree - as pertains what you're referencing.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 03:34 PM

6. I think "indigenous" carries greater dignity and tradition,

but maybe that's just my indigenous self.

The term "folk art" has economic strings attached to it. Maria Martinez, the great San Idelfonso Pueblo ceramicist, stopped being a "folk artist" when Santa Fe galleries started selling her larger pots for $55,000.00. (Not a typo!) Those economic strings, of course, are also class distinctions--the educated vs. the gullible, wealthy vs. poor.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 02:39 PM

4. Interesting stuff. nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 09:52 PM

7. Might want to magic marker in Tibet which is certainly unaffiliated very reluctantly.

Neat map.

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