Is Religion the Root of World's Ills?

According to a recent global survey organized by U.S. News and World Report, 30 percent of people living in the so-called "Best Countries" believe religion is the "primary source of most global conflict today." ("Power," which was not defined, came in second at 23 percent, and economic issues placed third with 21 percent.)

The article quotes noted neuroscientist and atheist apologist Sam Harris as saying religion makes people see differences along "tribal lines," with folks "seeing themselves as irretrievably different from their neighbors."

But while religion is negatively perceived in this survey, which U.S. News said evaluated "80 countries across 24 rankings," religion is not going away anytime soon.

The Pew Research Center, an independent group in Washington, D.C., forecasts a drop in the number of people who claim no religious affiliation to 13 percent in 2050, down from 16 percent in 2010. The world's Muslim population will grow to 30 percent by mid-century, up from 23 percent. The world's Christian population will remain at 31 percent, nearly one in three people then, as it was in 2010.

But the geographic distribution of Christians will change: By 2050, only 16 percent of the world's Christians are expected to reside in Europe, the continent known as the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation, as well as the home of the Roman Catholic Church.

What about the United States? There's been much talk of increasing secularization in America, but an article at The Federalist suggests this may be a question of where some disaffected believers are going.

"When the so-called 'progressive' [mainline] churches question the historicity of Jesus, deny the reality of sin, support abortion, ordain clergy in same-sex relationships and perform their marriages, people desiring real Christianity head elsewhere," The Federalist notes.

The website picked up the trends from a study by academics at Harvard University and Indiana University's Bloomington campus. Adherence to religion still benefits from a "persistent and exceptional intensity" among Americans, offering a "potential counter example to the secularization thesis."

Moreover, while young "millennials" often stop attending worship in their "independent years," as sociologist Rodney Stark called them, they'll return once they marry and have children. Add to that the fact that more conservative religious believers tend to have more children, and you've got a formula that assures more participation in religion, and not less.

The challenge for those seeking to follow God in sincerity and truth is to find a church that teaches His Word-all of it. The twelfth chapter of Revelation offers dramatic clues about where the "true church" is and how to identify it. Our free online booklet Search for the True Church offers those details in a way that's easy to understand. Click here to read it.

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