The world is getting more religious, because the poor go for God

Religion itself thrives in places where liberal individualism fails. That’s the real clash of civilisations

Thursday 26 May 2016 12.25 EDT Last modified on Friday 5 May 2017 13.19 EDT

The so-called “masters of suspicion”, Nietzsche, Marx and Freud, all thought that religion would wither and die in the 20th century. Others enthusiastically backed the secularisation hypothesis. Intellectually, the enlightenment had punctured it below the waterline and it was sinking. Religion was dead. Except, of course, the reverse happened: it flourished. In 1900, the year that Nietzsche died, there were 8 million Christians in Africa. Now there are 335 million. And the growth rate continues to accelerate. God wasn’t dead. God was reborn. Indeed, far from being the century in which religion went away, for both Christianity and Islam, the 20th century was numerically the most successful century since Christ was crucified and Muhammad gave his farewell sermon on Mount Arafat. By 2010, there were 2.2 billion Christians in the world and 1.6 billion Muslims, 31% and 23% of the world population respectively. The secularisation hypothesis is a European myth, a piece of myopic parochialism that shows how narrow our worldview continues to be. . .


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