01: More than eight in ten of the world’s people identify with a religious group, although the unaffiliated are the third largest religious group after Muslims and Christians, according to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.
The report estimates that there are 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe—2.2 billion Christians, 1.6 billion Muslims, 1 billion Hindus, nearly 500 million Buddhists and 14 million Jews as of 2010.
02: The Southern Baptist Convention has shown a larger growth of African-American congregations than any other ethnic group in its drive to become a more diverse church body.
New data from the SBC’s North American Mission Board (NAMB) showed an 82 percent increase in African-American congregations since 1998. Hispanic and Asian congregations grew by 63 and 55 percent respectively. There are an estimated 3,400 black churches in the SBC, and last June, the denomination elected its first African-American president, Fred Luther.
Despite the growth of these ethnic congregations, officials from the NAMB noted that there are still a “variety of ethnic groups in North America with no Southern Baptist presence among them.”
(The NAMB report can be downloaded from: http://www.namb.net/nambblog1.aspx?id=8590124402&blogid=8589939695)
03: Frequent church attenders are less likely to choose romantic partners from another race, according to research cited by Christianity Today.com.
The blog cites Samuel Perry of the University of Chicago who found in data from the 2007 Baylor Religion Survey showing that about 50 percent of those who attend church only once a year or never said they had dated a person of another race, whereas only 27 percent of those who attend church weekly or more said the same.
But Perry also found that those who pray and read the Bible more often were likelier to date outside of their race. The blog cites another study from Joshua Tom and Brandon Martinez of Baylor University showing that religious affiliation alone made no statistically significant difference in whether someone was in an interracial marriage—except for Catholics, who were twice as likely to be in such a marriage, especially if they were frequent attenders.
The growing Catholic Hispanic population may be the reason for the Catholic difference. In conclusion, the research finds that being in a church with few others from differences races makes a difference in choosing romantic partners.
(Christianity Today.com, http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/)
04: The proportion of the British (England and Wales) population reporting that they had no religion has increased from 14.8 percent in 2001 to 25.1 percent today, according to the 2011 British census.
Those identifying as Christian decreased from 71.7 percent to 59.3 percent during the same period. The religion question on the 2011 census was the only one that was voluntary and 7.2 percent of the people did not answer that question. Christianity is still the largest religion (claiming 59.3 percent of the population), while Islam, as the second largest religious group, has grown the fastest, from 3.0 percent to 4.8 percent.
London was the most diverse region, while the northeast and northwest of England had the highest proportion of Christians; Wales had the highest proportion of people reporting no religion.