Here are several-recent research-based articles and books about religion that make fascinating reading.
Brazil’s Changing Religious Landscape
The Pew Forum published a report on Brazil’s Changing Religious Landscape (July 2013), which documents the rise of Protestant Churches in the world’s largest Roman Catholic Country. However the percentage of Roman Catholics in Brazil is declining. The fastest growing Protestant Groups in Brazil are Pentecostal, growing through conversion. This report is based on the Pew Forum’s analysis of Brazilian Census Data and provides a transferable model of how to analyze Census data from other countries. http://www.pewforum.org/2013/07/18/brazils-changing-religious-landscape/
Christianity in its Global Context (June 2013)
Christianity in its Global Context, published by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell Seminary (June 2013), provides an overview of global Christian growth trends for the period 1970-2020. This has been a period where the majority of Christians has shifted from North America and Europe to South America, Africa and Asia. The report provides a region by region analysis of the world and data to better understand the growth of Christianity in each region. This report can be viewed at www.globalchristianity.org/globalcontext.
Canada’s Changing Religious Landscape
The Pew Forum’s report on the Canada’s Changing Religious Landscape (June 2013) documents the decline of those in Canada who consider themselves Protestants or Catholics and the rise of the “unaffiliated”. The report also draws attention to the rise of minority religions during the also 40 years largely due to immigration. Helpful comparisons are made to the United States. http://www.pewforum.org/2013/06/27/canadas-changing-religious-landscape/
The Global Catholic Population
The Pew Forum provides an analysis of the Global Catholic Population from 1910 to 2010. The report points out that the percentage of Catholics in the World has remained about the same in the last 100 years, however there has been a sharp decline in the percentage of the world’s Catholics in Europe between 1910 and 2010 (65% to 24%). This decline was offset by increases in North America, Latin America, Asia and Africa. A section looks at trends among Catholics in the United States. http://www.pewforum.org/2013/02/13/the-global-catholic-population/
The Global Religious Landscape
The Pew Forum offers an executive summary as well as a complete report of the Global Religious Landscape based upon the analysis of 2,500 censuses, surveys and population records (December 2012). The maps and charts effectively communicate the distribution of the world’s religious populations. http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-landscape-exec/
God is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America by Frank Newport (Gallup)
Frank Newport, Editor-in-Chief with the Gallup organization, provides an analysis of Religion in America based upon more than one million Gallup Interviews. Newport provides a new evidence-based perspective on Americans’ religious beliefs and practices and offers thought provoking predictions about religion’s future in the U.S. Hardcover book published by Gallup Books, December 2012. http://www.gallup.com/press/159017/god-alive.aspx
The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity
The Pew Forum published the results of 38,000 face to face interviews with Muslims from 39 countries (August 2012). This report provides insight into the faith and practice of Muslims around the world. The report indicates a high level of unity regarding the essentials of Islamic beliefs, but diversity regarding secondary matters of belief and practice. The report also details the differing levels of commitment of Muslims by county. An interesting finding is how Sunni and Shia Muslims view each other. This finding provides insight into the tensions and conflicts within the Muslim world. This report is valuable reading for anyone who works with Muslims or desires to understand how Islamic beliefs influence current events. http://www.pewforum.org/2012/08/09/the-worlds-muslims-unity-and-diversity-executive-summary/
Patrick Johnstone, The Future of the Global Church: History, Trends and Possibilities (2011)
This book represents Johnstone’s tour de force base on his 50+ years of research on global religious trends. This colorful book is filled with tables, maps, and graphs that assist understanding of the trends that are shaping the future of the Global Church. In addition to the book, there is a digital collection that includes the information from the book and 60+ PowerPoint presentations. http://www.thefutureoftheglobalchurch.org/
Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation. (2010)
Operation World’s 7th edition provides a region by region, country by country look at the world, focusing primarily upon the state of Christianity and how believers can pray for the global Church. This book should be daily reading along with one’s Bible. The several digital options are available, which provide the Operation World data base, maps, charts and presentations. Individual country profiles and ordering information are available at http://www.operationworld.org/
The Atlas of Global Christianity (2010)
This atlas documents the changing status of Global Christianity in the 100 year period following the monumental Edinburgh 1910 World Missionary Conference. The authors claim that this is the first scholarly atlas to depict the twentieth-century shift of Christianity to the Global South and the first to map Christian affiliation at the provincial level. The Book also comes with a companion CD that is useful for preparing presentations. Considering that this book/CD package is being sold for $250+, this might be an item to obtain though inter-library loan. http://www.atlasofglobalchristianity.org/
Have you come across a report or book that is fascinating reading? Feel free to share your “fascinating find” in the comments section.