Global Religious Trends to 2020

Anybody using British religious statistics in a comparative context may find a new discussion paper by Peter Brierley (head of Brierley Consultancy) of interest.

It is entitled Global Religious Trends, 2010 to 2020 and has been prepared for this year’s Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, being held in Cape Town. The 57 page paper is available (price £12, inclusive of postage) from Dr Peter Brierley, 1 Thorpe Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent, TN10 4PW.

The paper examines ten key secular and religious trends which will impact upon global Christianity during the coming decade and seeks to quantify them. The secular trends include those of ageing, immigration, family and technology. Key elements of the religious scene include the static number of Christians overall (relative to population), combined with a growing proportion of Evangelical Christians and Muslims.

There is a particularly interesting account of the ‘tribes’ of evangelicalism, largely informed by a new analysis of data from Christian Research’s English Church censuses (the latest from 2005).

Otherwise, there are few specifically British statistics. Global data are used wherever practicable, disaggregated by continent. Major sources include the World Religion Database and the World Values Surveys (the latter particularly for churchgoing).

Naturally, the usual caveats apply to the quality of some of the forecast data, not least those which are projected as far forward as 2050.

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