According to Pew Research Center, by the year 2035 the number of babies born to Muslim parents will exceed the number of births Christian parents. Even more alarming for many Christians is the indication, later in the article, that Muslims are poised to be the fastest-growing major religion in the decades to come.
The problem isn’t isolated to the number of births, which is of enough concern by itself. The other thing to consider in this equation is the fact that older Christian populations, globally, are dying at faster rates than Christian parents are giving birth. In other words, the deaths of Christians – especially in Europe – are beginning to exceed the number of births.
For instance, Pew Research reports that the number of Christian deaths in Germany between 2010 and 2015 exceeded the number of births by 1.4 million. This trend is expected to continue for the next few decades while the Muslim population thrives and grows around the world.
Another Pew article goes on to report that within the next 50 years, the world may see a total shift that will end the reign of Christianity as the world’s largest religion – to be replaced by Islam.
Why is this of concern to Christians today?
There is, obviously, great cause for alarm among Christians who have increasingly become concerned over fear of Christian persecution at the hands of Muslim extremists in other parts of the world. Some fear that this is a sign of a grim future, especially if Muslim numbers begin to surpass the number of Christians around the world.
Other concerns involve the plight of women and religious minorities around the world. This is especially concerning among those who are critical of Sharia law, which condones barbaric acts like female genital mutilation, honor killings, public beheadings, and child marriages. Jordan Times reports that early marriages account for approximately 35 percent of all marriages among Syrian refugees.
Of special concern to women is how this demographic shift affects their civil rights in Muslim-majority countries. As these children grow up and begin to take leadership roles in communities and governments around the world, what will that mean for the children and grandchildren of today’s Christians?
What can Christians do to improve the outlook?
The outlook certainly looks dire for Christians, but there are things churches can begin now to turn the tide for future decades. One of the biggest things is to reach out to younger people. One of the major contributing factors mentioned in the Pew Research article for the growing number of Muslim births in the future has to do with the Christian population aging. The average age of Muslims is 24 while the average age of Christians is 30.
What this means is that Muslims are, on average, of prime childbearing ages while Christians are often past this. Another contributing factor is the relatively high fertility rate of Muslim women.
The bottom line for Christian churches is that they must make outreach to young teens and young adults a priority. This means offering programs that appeal to them and increasing their opportunities to serve as integral parts of the church community.
The other urgent need Christian churches have today is the need to become active in leadership in communities and politics so they can work today to create laws that protect women and Christians (and all religious minorities) today and in the future.
Most importantly of all, though, is that Christians today must begin actively seeking God’s guidance in how to address the changing tide of belief ahead. Christians know that God can move mountains, part seas, flood the earth, and change the hearts and minds of men.
If Christians take a moment to reflect on how great God truly is, there is little else to fear from an uncertain future.
~ 1776 Christian