Apparently, Pew Research projects that Islam will overtake Christianity as the world’s largest religion by the year 2070. This projection is based mainly on birth rates – Muslim women have more children than other religious groups, at 3.1 per woman for Muslims versus 2.3 for others. In addition, the average age for Muslims is seven years younger – 23 – than other religious groups.
Naturally, many American Christians, especially conservative-evangelical types, are terrified. Many already hold persecution complexes, and this knowledge seems to vindicate their xenophobic fear that “they” are taking over (even though by the time Islam becomes the world’s largest religion, Muslims will still only make up about 2% of the US population).
Reactionary violence aside (and no matter what happens, reactionary Christians gonna react), this impending de-throning of Christianity as the world’s largest religion is the best thing to happen to Christianity since the Reformation. Finally, at long last, Christians will have to wake up.
No more can we rest on our laurels, assured that we’ve somehow “won” the game of religion. No longer can Christian spiritual arrogance and chauvinism stand when Christians are a minority.
It will no longer be enough that we have converted the most people, or hoarded the most wealth. Churches will no longer be able to fall back on the argumentum ad populum.
Instead, we will have to fall back on our works and focus our efforts away from empty proselytizing and evangelization. With all hopes of hegemony and worldwide dominance dashed, Christians will have no choice but to busy themselves with the Kingdom of God.
Jesus and the disciples were not a majority. They were a minority sect within a minority religion. Christianity worked best and was most pure before Constantine, when we were the underdogs, the scrappy band of rag-tag prophets and believers going city-to-city and door-to-door striking down hierarchies and living communally.
Maybe 2070 will be a turning point, and an opportunity to go back to that, and finally find the Kingdom of God.