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PREDICTIONS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY'S FUTURE:

PART 3

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Sponsored link.

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Opinions of:

bulletJefferson 21st Century Institute: an organization dedicated to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
bulletTodd Johnson, a senior research coordinator.
bulletDavid Martin, a Professor of Sociology.
bulletOCRT, the sponsors of this web site, and rank amateurs at prophecy.
bulletRochester branch of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State

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Jefferson 21st Century Institute:

This is an institute which is dedicated to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the principle of separation of religion and government. They observe and predict:

bulletThe Institute predicts that the Vatican will shortly release an encyclical which analyzes New Age religious philosophy from a Roman Catholic perspective.
bulletChurch/state issues during the later 20th century had focused on the Religious Right and its leading issues: abortion access and compulsory prayer in high-school.
bulletGroups outside of traditional Judeo-Christianity, (e.g. Christian-Environmental, New Age, Neopagan, Environmental, and Native American) have been assumed to be small and have been largely ignored. However, church-state conflict prompted by Neopagan and other small religions will increase. 
bullet"New Age religious movements stress 'holistic spirituality.'...They insist that for peace and harmony to exist on earth, the spiritual may not be separated from the physical whether animate or inanimate; neither may spiritual be separated from science or government."
bullet"Neo-paganism thus merges science, religion and government into an inseparable trinity wherein spirituality challenges objective knowledge essential for governmental decision making."
bullet"New Age holism directly challenges the foundations of the principle of separation of religion and government. As a result government is now under siege to establish New Age religious beliefs and will be increasingly so in the Twenty-First Century." 1

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Todd Johnson:

Using data from various United Nations sources and the World Christian Encyclopedia, Todd Johnson compared the expected numbers of adherents of each of the major religions in the year 2000 with predicted numbers in 2025. He concluded that:

bulletThe total world population will grow from 6.261 billion to 8.504 billion.
bulletChristianity will grow from  33.4% to 35.5% of the world's population.
bulletIslam will grow from 18.5 to 20.2%
bulletNonreligious will drop from 16.1 to 15.0%
bulletAtheists will drop precipitously from 3.7% to 2.8%
bulletChinese folk religions will drop from 3.4% to 2.7%
bulletTribal religions will drop from 1.5% to 0.9%
bulletOther religions (Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, etc. will remain quite stable.

He also suggests three scenarios for the year 2200: 

bulleta "most likely" scenario, 
bulleta case where Islam makes major inroads into the West
bulleta case where Islam is negatively affected by secularization. 2

In a second article, he summarizes the predictions of many other futurists; they range from a "collapse of organized religion beginning in 2006" to the "extinction of not only polytheism (including Hinduism) but also of all major religions except Christianity." 3

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David Martin:

David Martin is emeritus professor of sociology at the London School of Economics. He wrote "Tongues of Fire: The Explosion of Protestantism in Latin America." 4 He discussed the following topics:

bulletBoth East and West Europe are falling away from Christianity - particularly in those countries where religion and ethnicity were not linked. Protestantism declined first. This is now being followed by Roman Catholicism.
bulletDue to religious pressure and a low birth rate, the number of Christians is falling in the Middle East.
bulletReligious trends in North America are different:
bulletDenominational loyalties are corroding.
bulletChurch attendance is very high.
bulletLiberal Protestantism is under the greatest pressure.
bulletConservative Protestantism "stays relatively resilient."
bulletBoth the English and French speaking regions of Canada may follow the secular direction of Europe rather than the American path.
bulletLatin America, which includes "more than a quarter of the world's Christians and half its Catholics,"  is undergoing rapid change. Roman Catholicism is in decline. "...there emerged a charismatic faith, autonomous, self-steered, self-improving, combining motifs from the religion of poor blacks and poor whites."
bulletAfrica now accounts for more than 20% of the world's Christians. Pentecostalism and Roman Catholicism are the big winners here.
bulletAsia is "the big question mark." Generally, Christianity has been unsuccessful in Asia; Christians total fewer than 200 million -- fewer than in the U.S. South Korea is an exception; 30% are Christians. China's official churches, both Catholic and Protestant, have stagnated. But "free-range" Christianity [in the form of house churches] has exploded. Elsewhere in Asia, many Christians are found among marginal peoples (e.g. in India or Nepal) and in the new middle class (e.g. Singapore, Indonesia, etc). 
bullet"Some things are pretty obvious. One is that the Christian religion is on the wrong foot in those old heartlands where it was tied up in established powers and forms. In the U.S., by contrast, it is in alignment with a plural society in motion and well attuned to a messianic nationhood. Other continents also seem to be finding their own trajectories." 5

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OCRT:

The OCRT is the sponsor of this web site. We consist of 5 volunteers: a retired Electronics Engineer, a Registered Nurse, an urban planner, an IT professional and an unemployed waitress. None of us have any particular expertise as "religious futurists. (™ WNRF) However, there exists such a wide range of conflicting predictions by so many different experts that we probably have as good a chance as any of being accurate. We updated these predictions in 2004-OCT, but will not make further changes:

We predict that over the interval 2000 to 2025:

bulletThe pope will retire from office for health reasons or die by 2005 . The new pope will share his conservative views. A schism, driven largely by conflict over sexual policies,  will occur before the year 2015, as the Roman Catholic church in the U.S., Canada, Holland, and some other European countries break away from Rome to form the Western Rite of the Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic church will then become primarily a South American and African organization.
bulletThere will be a rapid growth of Pentecostal denominations in Africa and South America.
bulletBoth conservative Christians and the non-religious will grow in numbers; mainline and liberal Christian denominations will continue to shrink.
bulletThe culture  in North America will become much more polarized between very conservative Christians and very liberal non-believers.
bulletThe percentage of Americans who identify themselves as Christian will continue to shrink by about one percentage point per year. In 2001, it was 76%. By 2025, Christianity will become a minority religion in the U.S.
bulletThe percentage of adults who tell pollsters that they attend weekly church services, will drop from the current 40% in the U.S. and 20% in Canada to about 25% and 12%. (Since many people fib during these polls, the actual numbers of church attendees will be about half those figures.)
bulletA major trend within Christianity will be a return to its original first century format. The home church movement will grow, as attendance in formal congregations declines. Attending democratically structured meetings in small groups in people's homes will become the dominant format of the Christian worship experience by the middle of the century.
bulletNone of the events prophesized in our future by the books of Daniel, Matthew and Revelation will have come to pass by 2025. The reconstruction of the temple at Jerusalem, the resumption of the ritual killing of animals there, the rapture, the war of Armageddon, the second coming of Jesus Christ, the rising to power of the Antichrist, the tribulation, etc. will not have occurred. However, many conservative Christians will still expect these events to happen in their near future.
bulletDue to high birth rates and aggressive proselytizing in Africa, the numbers of Muslims worldwide will approach equality with Christianity by about the year 2025. 
bulletOn moral issues: 
bulletThe number of surgical abortions will be reduced to less than half the current number, as women switch to RU-486 and emergency contraceptive becomes more commonly used.
bulletGays and lesbians will be able to obtain union licenses from the government, and have their partnerships solemnized in most liberal and mainline churches. They will gain all of the benefits and responsibilities that married couples now enjoy. However, their committed partnerships will legally be called civil unions, not marriages. This will happen by 2005 in Canada, and on a state-by-state basis in the U.S.
bulletThe vast majority of couples will enter into one or more living-together relationships before they marry.
bulletThe over 40 million Americans who currently have no health care insurance will grow in numbers by about one million a year. This will eventually be recognized as the main moral issue facing the federal government. The U.S. will follow the Canadian model of health care so that all Americans will have access to health care. The life expectancy of people in the U.S. will grow as a result.

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Rochester branch, Americans United:

Their newsletter, "Protecting the Wall," described future areas of controversy about the separation of church and state. Some of the future trends that they predict are:

bulletSome bills will be brought forwards to grant equal rights to gays and lesbians. These will involve: prohibition of discrimination in employment, hate crimes laws, domestic partnership laws, perhaps even gay marriage legislation. But religious conservatives will promote ballot initiatives at the state level to roll back equal rights. 
bulletInternet censorship in the public libraries will be encouraged or mandated by state laws. In some cases, this will control access to the Internet for adults who do not have any other access to the Internet.
bulletBills will be proposed to require the posting of the Ten Commandments in the schools, and to mandate "captive audience" prayer in the classroom. 
bulletBills to gradually eliminate women's access to abortion will be introduced. 6

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References:

  1. "21st century challenges to separation of religion and government," Jefferson 21st Century Institute, at: http://www.j21c.org/
  2. Todd Johnson, "Religious projections for the next 200 years," at: http://www.wnrf.org/
  3. Todd Johnson, "The future of religion: Rise or decline," at: http://www.wnrf.org/
  4. David Martin, "Tongues of Fire: The Explosion of Protestantism in Latin America." (Out of print).
  5. David Martin, "Will the next era be post-Christian?," National Post, Toronto, Canada, 2000-JAN-1 at: http://www.nationalpost.com/
  6. "Protecting the wall," Rochester Chapter, Americans United, Vol. 3, # 4.

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 Home page > Christianity > Christian beliefs > Christian future > here

or Home page > Religious Information > Christian future > here

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Copyright © 2000 to 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-JAN-15
Latest update: 2004-OCT-21
Author/Editor: B.A. Robinson

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