How many scientists are Christians? (Does it matter?)

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Statistics of religiousness are a hot topic.

A friend recently initiated a discussion regarding science, religion and the ‘war’ between them. One of the basic elements of the discussion was the number of scientists who are Christians and of course the actual number of christians in the world to-day. The discussion heated up, with many people invoking researches and polls where the number of scientists who are religious or atheists was documented, explained or projected, while taking into accounts multiple criteria and factors.

Yes, the number of religious scientists may be falling.

On the other hand, there could be polls claiming otherwise.

But at the end, does it matter at all?

Should Christianity care about diminishing or increasing numbers of christians?

If we take a good look we will understand that we are looking at the whole topic from the wrong angle. The problem of Christianity to-day is not that it has a dropping number of faithful going to the church. Or an increasing number of people going to the church. The problem is that Christianity (and christians) care about the number of people going to the church…

Nietzsche once said that the first and last Christian died at the cross. Whether this is true or not I do not know, however I do know that I would surely prefer to have Christianity with only one Christian who is a good and humble person, than having billions of followers who argue and debate about whether the numbers of Christians are rising or falling…

And since the discussion is abour religion and science, the same applies to science as well. I would also prefer science with only one proper scientist, open to all possibilities, self-criticizing eveything and with a free spirit, rather than millions of self-proclaimed scientists who are just parroting the same things over and over again because someone else has said them.

In every case, remember: Less is more…

Be aware and be worried when your followers increase too much.

You are doing things suspiciously right…

PS. All the above also apply for atheism and agnosticism as well.

Atheistic census, fake “war”, stupidity…

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Atheists are having a ball! The Dawkins Foundation is leading a worldwide census so as to determine the numbers of atheists around the world.

But… wait a minute!

How can an atheistic site begin an objective census on religiosity percentages? Well, the answer is simple: IT CANNOT! The very word “census” is misleading. Not too honest if you ask me – especially for the Foundation of Dawkins…

The caption of the picture says more than the picture: “This chart shows 2005 percentages of people who believe in god in Europe. Numbers have improved since all over the world. Part of the point of the census is to show progress and build momentum. The more the merrier! Enjoy“.

IN OTHER WORDS: “We are at war and we want to win! (EVEN do a non-scientific census but still name it Census)”. And no, the words “for fun” (which in any case are absent from the official census page here) do not fix things…

My two cents in the discussion…

Most religious countries are more poor. In money. Not in things that count…

I have news for you atheists: No one is “at war”! Nothing is “improved” if a percentage of believers or non-believers is increased! The world is One! The world is about Love. The hippies have said it, but someone else said it too long ago. Maybe so long ago that we have forgotten it.

We should stop being so much over-consumed by our will to conquer our enemies and learn that traits like forgiveness and love is what separates us from the animals. A fake “census” on the Internet will not show the way to “victory” (and this applies to religious people as well).

The tables have turned and atheism, along with money, is the new trend. And trends come and go. Atheists should be really careful not to become the “bad” type of religion which has turned so many people away from God.

Religiosity statistics among scientists – A tale of oppression

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A demographic survey of TED Conference attendees [1] showed that very few scientists selected any kind of religious affiliation (e.g., Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.9%, Buddhist 1.6%, etc. [2]

Could this mean that the higher intellectual status of TED attendees is the cause for them not being religious?

Not.

Many other researches have shown that the percentage of scientists who are religious or believe in some kind of spirituality remain constantly high and about 60-70% of the total number of scientists surveyed. It is of great importance to note that this percentage went up to 90% for medical doctors. [3, 4, 5]

It seems that the hostility of the people who dictate mainstream science is the reason behind most of the scientists in specific cases not crying out loud their faith.

It is not the first time it happens. It will not be the last. The oppression and censorship of the few often intimidate the many. It is now “in fashion” to be an atheist. And very few people have the stamina and will to put their career on the line just in order to state the obvious – they they believe they are more than a lifeless set of flesh and bones…

So the next time you are with fellow scientists think twice before denying your faith in your own existence. Believing in “nothing” is much more unscientific. Why hide behind lies just due to “social pressure”? Unless you think it is more “logical” to claim publicly that everything came to be from nothing for no reason and due to a random process with no purpose at all….

Additional resources

Religion Statistics & Trends

This is an article about the number or religious and non-religious people in the world. It presents in a simple way the main statistics concerning religion and atheism so as to let readers draw their own conclusions about the future of religiosity in the world. Any comments or corrections are welcomed.

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Author: Spiros Kakos

Harmonia Philosophica Facebook page

Religion-Science Philosophy articles series

Scope

The purpose of this article is not to say something in favour or against religion. The purpose of this article is to simply present hard data on the number of religion-affiliated people based on the most valid (and publicly available) sources, so that the readers can extract their own conclusions on spirituality in the world. I have made an attempt to use sources that can be found by everyone on the Internet, so that the validation of things written here is easy. Any comments and corrections are more than welcomed!

Difficulties in counting religious people

There is an inherent difficulty in counting the number of religion-affiliated people. The main difficulty has to do with the fact that there are no religion-related questions in census questionnaires. And if there are, in most cases they are not obligatory to answer. So one can understand that there is a difficult area to explore. Without official hard data, we must rely in most cases upon the surveys conducted by various individuals and private organizations, often with not the best intentions and certainly not with “truth” as their goal…The difficulty becomes more obvious if one thinks of the sensitiveness of the topic of religion. Most of the abovementioned organizations and individuals undertaking a statistical survey to record religiosity, are inclined in favour or against religion. That means that most surveys are biased towards one way or the other. Seeing the truth requires being alert for bias and ability to read between the lines. But we can do that…

Main sources

I have made an effort to find free and reliable sources for religion statistics. The task was not easy. I was surprised to see that Wikipedia had one of the most astounding collections of data for religiosity around the world – it seems that the collective effort of many people is unmatched these days. On the other hand, the official CIA Worldbook seems to be the most “official” data source one can find referring mainly to census data, even though I guess the data contained there are somewhat biased (although I admit I do not know in which direction). The main sources I have found during my investigation in the Internet are the following:

I. Wikipedia Main Articles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religions_by_country
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_by_country

II. CIA Factbook

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2122.html?countryName=&countryCode=&regionCode

III. Adherents articles

http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

IV. Britanicca articles

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/497215/classification-of-religions#
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/869229/religion-Year-In-Review-2002#

V. The future of religion

Study for the future of Religion: http://www.wnrf.org/cms/next200.shtml
Growth of religions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fastest-growing_religion

Most of the above sources are free and constrantly updated and that is why they seem to be the best we have at this moment. The Global Christian Encyclopedia also is a good source of religion statistics, but it is not offered for free and that is why it is not included in the list. Any comments for new sources are welcomed.

Religion numbers

It would take hundrends of pages to just present all data from the abovementioned sources. That is why I will try to present the main data only for Christianity and Islam here. These are the two main religions in the world and their analysis offers a very good perspective of religiosity all over Earth.

Christianity in the World

Here I will just show the numbers related to Christianity for some major developed countries of Europe. The source I use for these numbers is the respective page of Wikipedia for religion demographics. It seems that Christianity continues to hold a high and stable over the years percentage in western countries.

Country Population % Christian
Austria 8,199,783 78.3%
Belgium 10,392,226 48%
Bulgaria 7,322,858 84%(2001 census)
Cyprus 788,457 98.1%- 82%
Czech Republic 10,228,744 28.9%(2001 census)
Denmark 5,468,120 98% – 60%
Finland 5,238,460 84.7% (2006 census)
France 63,718,187 51% – 67%(2006 report)
Germany 82,400,996 68%
Greece 10,706,290 98%
Italy 58,147,733 90%
Luxembourg 480,222 87%
Malta 400,000 98%
the Netherlands 16,570,613 51% (2002)
Norway 4,627,926 90.1%
Poland 38,518,241 91.4% (2002)
Portugal 10,642,836 86.7% (2001 census)
Romania 22,276,056 99%(2002 census)
Russia 141,377,752 78%
Serbia 10,835,001 91.6% (2002 census)
Slovakia 5,447,502 83.8%
Slovenia 2,009,245 58.7%
Spain 40,448,191 76%
Sweden 9,031,088 87%
Switzerland 7,554,661 79.3%(2000 Census)
Ukraine 46,299,862 96.1% (2006 est.) 35%- 51.7%
the United Kingdom 60,776,238 71.6%(2001 Census)
the United States 301,139,947 78.5%(2007 est.)
Vatican City 921 100%

Source: Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_by_country] [1]

[Retrieved at 24/12/2009]

From the above table one can easily understand that Christianity is still strong in all European countries, despite the hard materialism that some try to impose on the modern era. It seems that religiosity is not dying – quite the contrary. Countries where technology, fashion and consumer goods have a great footprint, still have a vast and stable majority of Christians in their populations.

Islam in the World

The statistics of countries is Middle East, Africa or Asia are more or less the same, but with Islam in the place of Christianism. The following table is again revaling of a very religious reality…

Country/Region % of total population
Afghanistan 99.7
Albania 79.9
Algeria 98.0
Azerbaijan 99.2
Bahrain 81.2
Bangladesh 89.6
Bosnia-Herzegovina 40
Brunei 67.2
Egypt 94.6
Eritrea 36.5
Ethiopia 33.9
Gambia 95
Indonesia 88.2
Iran 99.4
Iraq 99
Jordan 98.2
Kazakhstan 56.4
Kuwait 95
Libya 96.6
Malaysia 60.4
Morocco 99
Niger 98.6
Nigeria 50.4
Oman 87.7
Pakistan 96.3
Qatar 77.5
Saudi Arabia 97
Senegal 96.0
Sierra Leone 71.3
Somalia 98.5
Sudan 71.3
Syria 92.2
Tunisia 99.5
Turkey 98
Turkmenistan 93.1
United Arab Emirates 76.2
Uzbekistan 96.3
Yemen 99.1

Source: Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_by_country] [2]

[Retrieved at 24/12/2009]

From the abovementioned data it seems that people still believe that a First Cause must exist, as Aristotle once postulated… Religion is still alive despite the wishes of many…The atheism mystery…If one looks at the atheism numbers at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism he/she will be able to see one more interesting thing: the remaining percentages that are not Christians, are not atheists! Many people tend to claim they are “not religious” but on the same time they do not claim they are atheists. That leaves a lot of room for interpretations and theories. For me this is an indication that many people, although they tend to believe that there is something of “higher power” in the cosmos, they do not feel affiliated with any church because of the wrong-doings of those churches. Because if they were convinced that nothing like a God exists, then they would have no problem claiming “atheists”. As simple as that.

Religion future trends

It is not an easy task to find the trends of religion. The reason is that many factors seem to affect the final result. The trends of religions depend upon the birth rates of already-religious people and it is not always possible to exclude that rate and calculate the “real” growth. From Wikipedia again we have the following numbers for the growth of the main religions:The World Christian Database (WCD) and its predecessor the World Christian Encyclopedia contains large amounts of data on numbers and growths of religions. The following is a tabulation of their results: (Note: The annual growth in the world population over the same period is 1.41%)

1970-1985 1990-2000 2000-2005
3.65% – Bahá’í Faith 2.65% – Zoroastrianism 1.84% – Islam
2.74% – Islam 2.28% – Bahá’í Faith 1.70% – Bahá’í Faith
2.34% – Hinduism 2.13% – Islam 1.62% – Sikhism
1.67% – Buddhism 1.87% – Sikhism 1.57% – Hinduism
1.64% – Christianity 1.69% – Hinduism 1.32% – Christianity
1.09% – Judaism 1.36% – Christianity
1.09% – Buddhism

Source: Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fastest-growing_religion] [3]

[Retrieved at 24/12/2009]

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace using the 2000-2005 edition of the World Christian Database, concluded that high birth rates were the reason for the growth in all six; however, the growth of Christianity was also attributed to conversions. Although the World Christian Database does not cite sources, a review examining the reliability and bias of the WCD found it “highly correlated with other sources of data” but “consistently gave a higher estimate for percent Christian.” The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion said that “on the whole we find that the WCD is reliable. Data from Encyclopedia Britanicca(which can be found at the same page) show more or less the same results, but with slightly more increased growth rates for Christianity, reaching to about 6% for the years 1995-2002.As for Islam, it seems to be getting stronger and stronger. The main reason for that seems to be the higher birth rates of Islam believers. Europe has already been witnessing such a growth withing its countries.

Conclusions

Many people argue that religion grows. Others argue that religion is declining. I say that number of religious people stay the same. From ancient times to now, the vast majority of people feel and logically understand the existence of a First Cause for the Universe. From ancient times to now, the vast majority of people feel and understand the intelligence the world has embedded in its mechanisms. And from ancient times to now, the vast majority of people feel and understand the existence of a higher purpose in life, other than just having sex, eating and going to the toilette. In Greece at the old days we worshiped the Moon. Then the 12-Gods religion came into place at the times of Plato and Aristotle. That was then replaced by Christianity. In the future another religion may take that place. No matter how it is called, people find it very hard to believe that they just happened to exist in the world where consuming chips and buying nice shoes is all there is…

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