Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World, Chapter 17
The Changing Global Religious Landscape – Global Impact (Pew Research Center)
Sociological Perspective on the Future of Religion
The Future of Religion – Global Impact
Video – The Future of World Religion (in 2050)
Religion – Data in the News
2018 Religion – Pew Research Center
The World’s Most Committed Christians Live in Africa, Latin America – and the U.S – Pew Research Center
Identify the future of religion, as a global institution
OER Text Material
Section 17.2 Key World Religions Today
(provides some content through the exploration of Cross Cultural Perspectives of Religion - page 656)
Today the world’s largest religion is Christianity, to which more than 2 billion people, or about one-third
the world’s population, subscribe. Christianity began 2,000 years ago in Palestine under the charismatic
influence of Jesus of Nazareth and today is a Western religion, as most Christians live in the Americas
and in Europe. Beginning as a cult, Christianity spread through the Mediterranean and later through
Europe before becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire. Today, dozens of Christian
denominations exist in the United States and other nations. Their views differ in many respects, but
generally they all regard Jesus as the son of God, and many believe that salvation awaits them if they
follow his example (Young, 2010).
Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)
- The Changing Global Religious Landscape – Global Impact (Pew Research Center)
More babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion in recent years, reflecting Christianity’s continued status as the world’s largest religious group. But this is unlikely to be the case for much longer : Less than 20 years from now, the number of babies born to Muslims is expected to modestly exceed births to Christians, according to new Pew Research Center demographic estimates.
- Sociological Perspective on the Future of Religion
Religion is a social phenomenon. Society and, therefore, religion will continue to exist as long as human beings exist. This article explores this syllogism, by analysing two 19th-century social theories on the future of religion. Weber was not positive as to the future of religion and foresaw that religion would die out at the hands of rationality and modernisation. Durkheim predicted that religion would suffer at the hands of rationality and modernisation, but that it would not die out completely. It would disappear from the public domain and become a private matter. As private matter, religion might even grow, according to Durkheim. These theories became the framework for all theories on religion and secularisation. Berger, Luckmann and others followed along these lines. A new appraisal of where we currently stand with the effects of secularisation on religion is necessary. At present, religion is perceived as being vibrant and active. There are reasons why religion did not disappear or become invisible as was predicted. The article investigates certain key characteristics of current society in order to determine the nature of religion in the future. It examines the role of pluralism, individualism and the effect of uncertainty. The result as to the future of religion is a dichotomy of continuity and discontinuity.
- The Future of Religion – Global Impact
More babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion in recent years, reflecting Christianity’s continued status as the world’s largest religious group. But this is unlikely to be the case for much longer: Less than 20 years from now, the number of babies born to Muslims is expected to modestly exceed births to Christians, according to new Pew Research Center demographic estimates.
- The Future of World Religion (in 2050) (video, published on Jul 22, 2015)
What you need to know about the future of world religions: by 2050, the number of Muslims around the world will nearly equal the number of Christians, as Islam will grow faster than any other major world religion. The study by Pew Research Center:
- Religion – Data in the News (with numerous sub-topics)
- 2018 Religion – Pew Research Center (with numerous articles and links):
- The World’s Most Committed Christians Live in Africa, Latin America – and the U.S – Pew Research Center
The study analyzed 84 countries with sizable Christian populations. In 35 of those countries, at least two-thirds of all Christians say religion is very important in their lives. All but three of these 35 countries are in sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America. (The three exceptions are the U.S., Malaysia and the Philippines.)
Additional Student/Classroom Resources
Study Support - Quizlet Link:
Simulation – Create Your Own Religion: In Class Activity – Create a religion with an imaginary founder with a religious vision – fictional:
- Describe the founder in detail – written outline – one page – individual work.
- Pair with a fellow student – compare/combine notes and write a fictional history of the founder and of how a tiny, deviant movement developed into a mainstream church – describe the founder’s “origin story”, describe their early followers, describe the sacrifice and stigma to maintain the founders religious vision.
- Summary: Identify in detail the:
- Specific details of what the founder of your factious religion requires of his/her followers
- These requirements would make most people reluctant to do – examples could include: giving away material possessions, associate with disreputable people, aggressively promote the religion in public spaces, etc.
- These requirements should not be random but should somehow fit into the larger visions of the founder – they should make sense to the religious group.
- Share the groups created religion with the class – try to recruit members...
- Written Assignment:
- Connect assignment content / experience to Weber and Durkheim’s work on religion. (One-page)
- Connect assignment content/ experience to the three sociological perspectives and the future of religion. (One-page)