Will Christianity Die Out by the End of this Century?
The latest Australian census figures are out and, like clockwork, the press is positively giddy that Christianity is on the decline. Hence one headline: Abandoning God: Christianity plummets as ‘non-religious’ surges in census.
In 2016, 52% of Australians identified as “Christian” and 30% identified as having “no religion.” But in 2021, only 44% of Australians identified as “Christian” while 39% identified as having “no religion.” If you like at previous censuses going back to 1996, there is a very steady decline of Christianity in Australia happening!
But that is not the whole story of religion in Australia. Due to immigration, Hinduism has grown by 55% in four years and now represents 2.5% of the total population. Also, Islam has grown from 2.6% in 2016 to 3.2% in 2021. Also, for the first time, the Jewish population in Australia has hit the 100, 000 mark!
For the most part, I think we are seeing a pruning of cultural Christianity which is literally dying off with the Baby Boomers and Australia is becoming more religiously diverse. Note, since the 1990s, Australia has had more Buddhists than Baptists, and since 2010, Pentecostals are our second biggest denomination! That said, there is a decline in some evangelical and traditional churches, accelerated by several factors, such as the invention of the iPhone and people not connecting after COVID. The same appears to be true in other Anglophone countries like the UK and Canada.
Is Christianity dying? Yes, but will that be the end of Christianity? No, simply because death and resurrection are our Lord’s specialty!
While Europe might treat Christianity as a relic that its hedonistic socialism reclines upon and North America treats religion as nothing more than a weapon in its intractable cultural wars, those are not the only stories playing in the global village. Christianity continues to grow and thrive in Africa, South America, and Asia. There are between 8 to 18 million Anglicans in Nigeria alone. There are more Christians in China than people in Australia.
Pundits have been predicting the end of religion for almost 300 years and yet religion persists. While religion has been declining since 2007, we must remember that from 1980 to 2005 that religion had a massive global surge. So things can go up and down across a century!
I do not know if the church you are attending will still be there in 25 years, 50 years, or 100 years. But I remain confident of this: Christianity is not going to disappear any time soon. We may one day invent hoverboards, maybe cure cancer, empires will rise and fall, social mores will come and go, but as long as history tarries, there will be people who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But what do you think, too optimistic or too pessimistic?