The world has become an increasingly smaller place. With global communications, internet and transportation we are more connected than ever. Yet, do we really understand what the world is like?
We hear stories on the news but often fail to grasp the context to rightly interpret what is happening. It is helpful to pull back the veil and give ourselves a bird’s eye view of the realities of the world.
Let us remember this is God’s world. A world He sent His own Son to for the sake of redeeming a Bride for Himself.
• Over 2 billion people around the world identify themselves as “Christians.”
• There are 1.2 billion Muslims. Muslims are the fastest growing major religious group, primarily due to a high birth rate.
• There are 784 million Buddhists
• 811 Million are Hindus, mostly in India
• 918 Million people profess no faith at all
Secularism is a great factor in the world and is growing at a phenomenal rate. This generally refers to being “non-religious” or atheist. The number of atheists around the world grew from 3.2 million in 1900 to 918 million in 2000. Atheism is largely a recent phenomenon only taking strong root over the last 115 years.
A growing number of people around the world are culturally connected to their religion and may live in a very religious environment, yet do not faithfully practice their religion.
For example, 99% of Turks in Turkey say they are Muslim. Yet, less than half of Turks practice the pillars of the Islamic faith.
Atheism and secularism have great implications for the mission movement. What are strategies of reaching them with the Truth found only in Christ?
Folk religion or animism has been defined as the totality of all those views and practices of religion that exist among the people apart from and alongside the strictly theological and liturgical forms of the official religion.
Some would assume that when people come in contact with the modern world, folk religion would cease to hold them. This is far from the truth. You still find folk religion practices in some of the most advanced societies of the world.
Let’s look specifically at the Muslim world:
• The majority of Muslims live in South Asia and Africa
• Over 80% of all Muslims have never heard the gospel in the way they can culturally understand and respond to.
• Yet, they regard Jesus as an important prophet.
• Countries with the highest Muslim population include: Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco