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Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

January 8, 2013

The Global Religious Landscape

The Pew Forum recently released The Global Religious Landscape: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Major Religious Groups as of 2010, a country-by-country analysis of data from more than 2500 censuses, surveys, and population registers. You may want to explore some of this data with your students. While the content may fit perfectly into a World Religions course, the report really contains information that all of our students should know.

  • 73 percent of the world’s people live in countries where the majority of the population are of the same faith. How do you think that a person’s experience of faith differs if one is in the majority group rather than the minority group?

  • The median age for Muslims is 23, 26 for Hindus, 30 for Christians, and 36 for Jews. (Can a religious group’s median age suggest anything significant about the people in each religious group?)

  • A further breakdown indicates that the median age for Christians in the United States is 39, Europe (42), sub-Saharan African (19) and in Latin America/Caribbean (27). (Do these ages suggest anything about Christianity in the past or future?)

  • Catholics make up about 50 percent of Christians. (Do you think that the Catholic Church has leadership responsibilities or other obligations to the larger Christian community because of its size?)

  • Currently only one percent of the global Christian community lives in the Middle East and North Africa where Christianity originated. (How and why do think that the Christian community spread so far from its location in the time of the early Church?)

  • The study finds that 16.3% of the people in the world are “unaffiliated” with a religious group. (Who are the “unaffiliated?” Why might the majority of the population in China, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hong Kong, Japan, and North Korea be “unaffiliated”?)

Check this link for this data and more.

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