Ten Global Trends in Religion

Back in 1997, WNRF published an article listing Ten Global Trends in Religion. Given that was thirteen years ago, how do you think their prediction stacked up? The identified religious trends were:

  1. The persistence of Religious Persecution
  2. The attraction of Militant Fundamentalism
  3. A rising growth rate of Islam
  4. A shift to non-white Christianity
  5. The growth of Pentecostal and non-denominational Christianity
  6. A decline of Tribal Religions
  7. A level growth of Nonreligious Persons
  8. An increase of Pluralism in society
  9. An increase of Women in pastoral roles
  10. The anticipation of a New Millennium

Now, apart from number 10, the death of which we should have seen coming, I think these turned out reasonably accurate. So, do we see these trends continuing into the future? If so, how might that shape our decisions and actions?

5 thoughts on “Ten Global Trends in Religion

  1. I thought these were describing what’s happening, as much as predictions of what would happen. Although those trends have continued.
    As for no.10, the world saw 2000 AD coming, looked forward to it and now it has been.


  2. Number 10 died with September 11. Back in 1997 huge numbers were looking forward to 2000 with what can only be described as eschatological expectation. There was the New Age Movement with propecies fueled by Nostradamous, Edgar Cayce and other channellers, Mayan Calanders (actually this one is still hanging around but that’ll die too in another two years), the postmodern paradigm shift and of course, the procession of the equinoxes into the Age of Aquarius. And of the Christian side there was all sorts of end times rubbish, sometimes drawing from some of the same sources. Those expectations of world cataclism followed by a new golden age came crashing down in the changed geopolitical realities following the Al Qaeda attack.


  3. Now that I think about it, I was influenced by the 2000 mark coming up. In about 1994/95 the possibility was suggested to me that we were possibly about to hit end times, or the 2nd coming, or something, in view of:
    – Possible creation date around 4004 BC
    – A day ~ 1000 years
    – So we’ve had 6000 years, corresponding to six days of creation, and the day of rest corresponded to another millennium mentioned in Revelation.
    So there was a possibility of the world as we knew it finishing around 1995-2000. Although we never dwelt on that, it affected the way I thought about my future. I was more concerned with serving God in the present than planning out the 50 years in front of me. I was never much into acquiring goods.
    Now 2012 is coming. There will always be something on the calendar.


  4. Eric, I was caught up in it as well, but from the New Age side. Fritjof Capra’s “The Turning Point” was an early influence. It goes along way towards explaining my own “yawn” response when people started getting so excited about “pomo Christianity” ten years after New Agers had done the same thing. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. We have to adapt, sure, but no golden age was ushered in. These days my eschatology is far more focessed on how we can manifest the future in the present than worrying about when the future will hit us.


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