Will Islam become the world’s largest religion?

religion-882281_640A new study says that Islam will pass Christianity as the world’s largest religion by 2070.

The report says that in 2050, Muslims will make up 10% of the European population.  But they will number only 2.1% in the United States.

Interestingly, the study also says that the number of atheists and non-religious affiliated will decline globally.

This may very well be, but, like many statistical studies, it is mainly just an extrapolation of current numbers over time.  Muslims have a higher birth rate than Christians do, so if we graph that out, their numbers will be higher by 2070.

Other scenarios are not factored in.  For example, what if some of the 10% of the European population that has an Islamic heritage convert to Christianity, now that they can be exposed to it?  That may depend on Christianity reviving in Europe, but that is not outside the possibility of the grace of God.  Or what if the brutality of ISIS and the Islamic terrorism that is rampant in the Middle East creates a reaction against the religion?  Or what if the Westernization of Islamic countries creates a decline in the birth rate?  Or what if the Christian birth rate shoots up?

Lots of things can happen, there being many more variables and unpredictabilities in life than a single statistical trend.

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Chicken sacrifices and overturning the travel ban

512px-Santeria_sacrificeWe now have an answer questions about the appeals court’s legal reasoning in throwing out President Trump’s  seven-nation travel and immigration ban.  The judges did so, in part, by invoking his campaign speeches that he would ban entry to America for all Muslims.  This shows, they said, that the intent of the ban was to discriminate against Islam.  Even though nearly all of the world’s Muslims were unaffected by the ban and can still enter the country.  Just not citizens of seven countries with a history of terrorism.

Politicians say things all the time without their being relevant to interpreting actual laws.  Are we to interpret JFK’s “ask not what your country can do for you” in such a way that it limits welfare applications?

But the courts were following a Supreme Court precedent.  In 1993, a Florida city passed an ordinance forbidding the slaughter of animals.  Lawmakers at the time themselves said that this would be a way to get rid of the Santeria religion, which practices the sacrifice of chickens and goats.  The court ruled that the ordinance forbidding the public killing of animals was a violation of the Santeria followers’ freedom of religion.  So this, in the minds of appeals court justices, justifies rejecting the seven-nation ban, because of what Trump said about all Muslims.

But these cases are not remotely similar, are they?  Not being allowed to sacrifice chickens to prevent all Santerias in the community from practicing their religion.  Not allowing citizens of seven nations into the USA does not affect all Muslims, as Trump was originally saying.  Trump clearly changed his earlier focus from religion to national origin.  If he had listed all Muslim nations, religion being the basis for categorizing them, yes, that would be religious discrimination.  But here nations associated with terrorism is the criterion.

Whether you are pro-immigration or anti-immigration, for Trump or against him, can’t we agree that this legal reasoning is specious?

Photo:  Santeria sacrifices by James Emery from Douglasville, United States (Santeria Sacrifice) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Nationalism joins Islam as reasons for Christian persecution

ARUNPATHAK5Open Door, an organization that monitors Christian persecution, has released its annual report for 2016, which it calls “the worst year yet” for violence against Christians.

The biggest part of the persecution is still committed in the name of Islam.  No longer just a matter of the Middle East, Islamic persecution has risen dramatically in Africa.

As nationalism re-emerges worldwide, ethnic nationalism has become an excuse to persecute Christians.  This is happening especially in Asia, including India, Bhutan, and Laos.

See highlights of the report and a link to an article about the report after the jump. [Read more…]

Islamic exceptionalism

We keep hearing, “All religions are essentially the same.”  But no they aren’t!  That sentiment is particularly unhelpful when trying to understand the different religions.  So it’s refreshing to read a Muslim scholar explaining, in Time Magazine, no less, How Islam Is Different From Other Religions.

Shadi Hamid, the author of Islamic Exceptionalism, shows how and why Islam ties together religion and government and is so resistant to secularism. [Read more…]

Those religious-extremist Anglicans

Yes, American foreign policy is a laughing-stock abroad, but that means at least some of the reaction is funny.  British commentator Douglas Murray discusses the new American counter-terrorism strategy, which, in its written form, never mentions “Islam.”  Terrorist-inspiring religious extremism is a problem, says Secretary of State John Kerry, for all religions.  Which has Mr. Murray worried about what’s going on with those Anglicans. [Read more…]

The varieties of irrationalism

In September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech at the University of Regensburg, which earned him much criticism for dissing Islam.  But what the speech was about was the importance of a proper use of reason to Christianity and the West, something missing in Islam.

Samuel Gregg writes about the address and the issue in a provocative post for the Catholic World Report.   He and the former pope observe that the Logos, from which the word “logic” comes, is essential to Christianity as the ordering principle of the universe, as well as the Son of God (John 1).  Without this order principle, we get irrational violence AND the irrationalities of the postmodern universities, with their “safe spaces,” political correctness, and rejection of truth.  We are also getting the kind of irrationalism that reduces reason to empiricism alone, without considering larger truths, meaning that reason is no longer of much help in addressing moral issues.

Benedict recognizes the problems of scholasticism that subjected Scriptural revelation to Aristotelian philosophy, an imbalance that Luther and the other Reformers castigated in their critiques of reason alone.  What is needed is a proper use of reason.  The address also gives ammunition for classical education, as Benedict argues for the necessity of preserving the “hellenic” heritage of the West. [Read more…]