In today’s media, we often hear how the Catholic Faith and religion in general across the globe have been declining in recent years, as we usher in the modern age of reason and enlightenment. Their message is that religion is a relic and artifact of the past, something that humanity is ready to move past. With the major anti-religion sentiment found in today’s media, some may even feel afraid or hesitant to share their Faith with the world around them, for fear of social backlash or being rebuked by others. However, the reports of religion’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Could it be that atheism is dying out?

Although popular culture likes to say that religion is on its way out, the facts say something completely opposite. A report entitled The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050 by the Pew Research Center paints a very different picture of the world’s religious landscape today and going forward in the future. The most striking statement is one on the percentage of atheists and unaffiliated persons going forward:

“According to the Pew Research Centre, the religiously unaffiliated – referring to atheists, agnostics and other people who do not identify with a religion – are declining as a share of the population.”

Today, the percentage of people across the globe who consider themselves unaffiliated is 16%, predicted to fall to 13% by 2050.

“Sixteen per cent of the population was unaffiliated to a religion in 2010 and Pew predicted by 2050, this would fall to 13 per cent, mainly because individuals in this group are older and have less children.”

Speaking on the decline of Christianity, it is expected to grow globally, with the highest growth of new Christians coming from Africa.

“Sub-Saharan Africa’s Christian population is expected to double, from 517 million in 2010 to 1.1 billion in 2050. The share of the world’s Christians living in sub-Saharan Africa will rise from 24% in 2010 to 38% in 2050.”

What is certain about the religion landscape going into the future is that Catholicism is here to stay and grow, much to the dismay of those who attempt to predict its decline. Unlike the popular sentiment that as we usher in a new modern age atheism will become predominant, atheism is truly on the decline.

Photo credit: GoodIdeas /
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  1. Not if you’re Irish. I live in England, and every time I travel home, the visceral hatred has increased. It is now, ironically given the history, easier to be a Catholic in England than in Ireland, and it is undoubtedly easier to be a priest.


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