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Christianity on the Rise

As relief editor for CathNews I have been away from reading the international news in the intensive way that Michael Mullins does each night as a matter of course. The most obvious change in twelve months -- besides many of the large newspaper chains now beginning to charge for accessing their online services -- has been the explosion in the reporting of what is going on in Islam. In the Western world there now appear to be as many stories on Islam being reported in the media each day as on Christianity. Fox News carried a report On Friday though that Christianity is still on the rise and by 2025 can be expected to have more supporters than any other system of belief.

It's a popular notion that Islam is the world's fastest-growing religion, and Christianity is on the decline. But it's not true, according to╩information╩that suggests both faiths are expanding worldwide, with Christianity on the rise in places like South America, Asia and especially Africa.

Christianity's supporters say news reports on the scandals in the Catholic Church, which recently led to the resignation of Boston's Bernard Cardinal Law, have painted an incomplete picture of the religion. They argue that in many developing countries, the Bible's word is actually booming.

The media has focused too much on problems within the religion, say some. "They're much more interested in what's wrong with Christianity and not in where it's flourishing, and where it is vital," said Father Thomas Rausch, of Loyola Marymount University. "The third world, the Southern Hemisphere is mostly poor, and it's in these countries where Christianity is mushrooming."

The numbers cited by╩certain╩experts seem to support that argument. Christianity was rare at the turn of the century in Africa, but some say almost half of the continent -- as many as 360 million people -- now worships Jesus.


7 Jan 2003