According to a study using census data from nine countries, religion is set for extinction. The data, stretching back as far as a century from countries that have included a census question on religious affiliation, reflect a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.
Researchers using a technique called non-linear dynamics have predicted that religion will go the way of the dinosaurs in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the Czech Republic.
But there’s no indication of this occurring any time soon, and from what I’ve been able to learn about the research, it seems rather shaky. For example, the research model appears to be based on an earlier study of people who spoke different languages, the idea being that social groups that have more members will gain more, and grow in status. And vice versa.
I’m not at all sure that spirituality, let alone organised religion, falls into the same category. So the door of your local church won’t be closing, and the helping hand will continue to be offered, and God will still be God for the foreseeable future.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 27 March 2011.
Theologian, researcher, teacher, writer, foodie, husband, dad. Works at Moore Theological College.