Muslims > Catholics? > All Christians?

A friend emailed me the news clipping below. It’s about Islam surpassing Roman Catholicism as the world’s largest religion.

This confirms a trend which a Catholic priest shared with me when I interviewed  him in 2004, while Perry and I were in the Netherlands.

Father Ype said that church membership and attendance in the various parishes he had served in the Netherlands had been declining steadily over the years. In fact, he said, some parishes had to be dissolved and merged with adjacent parishes because of the lack of parishioners.

The church has also had to withdraw from some buildings because of lack of funds, aside from dismally low attendance. Some of these church buildings, government properties, were then leased to Muslim communities—and converted into mosques.

Fr. Ype said that this was not just because of the fact that Muslims generally do not practice birth control, although that was true (he surmised that birth control might be against Islam’s teachings, just as its more popular forms are also contrary to official Vatican teachings—the problem is, Muslims generally follow their official teachings whereas Catholics do not practice many of their church’s official teachings).

But much more important than the comparative growth in population, Fr. Ype says, the biggest factor in the decline of the Christian faith in his country and the rapid rise of Islam, is that Muslims pass the faith on to their children, whereas Christians do not.

Muslim parents are generally very diligent in teaching their children about their faith and traditions, and can be very strict in seeing to it that these are adhered to.

In contrast, Christian parents are very lax and lenient. They usually adopt the attitude of letting their children choose which belief, if any, they would follow. And, of course, in the setting of postmodern relativistic Europe, and in the midst of the attendant peer pressure and molding from the educational system and the media, the children, unguided by their parents, usually end up not believing in Christianity.

That is why Fr. Ype predicted, and I also predict, that it will not be long before the Netherlands, and in fact most of Western Europe, will be predominantly Muslim societies. what with the influx of Muslim immigrants with very strong respect for their religion and traditions. Christian households already have less children than Muslim families, yet they do not care to pass on the faith to these few children. When the Christian parents die, who will carry on the faith in the next generations?

The demographics of Europe will change dramatically in the coming years because of strong Muslim influence—and Christian parents who do not care for their faith or traditions.

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Muslims more numerous than Catholics

By ALESSANDRA RIZZO, Associated Press Writer

Sun Mar 30, 2:48 PM ET

Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world’s largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday.

“For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us,” Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Formenti compiles the Vatican’s yearbook.

He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population— a stable percentage—while Muslims were at 19.2 percent.

“It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer,” the monsignor said.

Formenti said that the data refer to 2006. The figures on Muslims were put together by Muslim countries and then provided to the United Nations, he said, adding that the Vatican could only vouch for its own data.

When considering all Christians and not just Catholics, Christians make up 33 percent of the world population, Formenti said.

Spokesmen for the Vatican and the United Nations did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Sunday.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

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10 Responses

  1. Muslims pass the faith on to their children, whereas Christians do not.

    No.

    Muslims pass the faith on to their HAVE children, whereas Christians do not.

    I wrote about this today: Islam Overtakes Catholicism as the World’s Largest Religion?

    The fact of the matter is that Muslims have demonstrated a far better and continued understanding of a basic truth that is Biblical and far too many Christians have forgotten: fertility and children are blessings.

    Before The Lambeth Conference in 1931 where the Anglican bishops of the world gathered and voted to allow birth control – something NO Christian denomination had EVER allowed before – it had been understood since the days of the Apostles that artificial birth control was a sin. It stymied Providence by blocking God from the Marriage bed to bless His faithful as co-creators of new souls.

    When Ven Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical Humanae Vitae 40 years ago in 1968, the world just shook its head at the foolishness of it all. Foolishness to them at least.

    And every single thing predicted therein came true. The destruction of families, the sexual revolution, the exploitation of woman, abortion… The list is well familiar to any Culture Warrior who has not been asleep these four ensuing decades.

    Is Islam growing because Christians are converting to it? Because it is successful in converting people in missionary work? No. Rather simply it is not. As the west depopulates and Russia loses 700,000 souls a year (the equivalent of the population of San Francisco just disappearing every single year, the population of London GONE once a decade…) guess what is happening?

    The Muslim minority is poised to become a majority by 2030. By 2050 the Yemen will be more populace than Russia. Yemen!

    Why? Consider also: Mother Russia now sees more abortions than babies born.

    What blows my mind is how very many Evangelicals and Catholics who fancy themselves pro-life don’t ever stop to consider that “the pill” is an abortifacient. That is right, millions of souls that are conceived are never born… and it has nothing to do with a surgery. It occurs daily in total ignorance.

    Don’t take my word for it – Read Dr. Janet Smith’s “Contraception, Why Not?” or if you like listen to it: follow the links here.

    Christians, throw out your birth control pills – it is chemical pollution to a woman’s body anyway, and was developped in experiments where women died. Yes, women died in 2007 over new forms of the pill in test trials. Throw that garbage out, cancel the cable, don’t get a new SUV after this one has paid off – count on the Lord for the blessing of children and be grateful for your sons who are like a quiver full of arrows – true blessings when you approach the gate.

    Why aren’t more protestants talking about this?

  2. (Even read if you like what Martin Luther & John Calvin wrote about it.) I forgot to add that.

  3. With regard to birth control, Islam really doesn’t have a position on its usage one way or the other (as opposed to, say, the Catholic church).

    As for everything else (e.g., that we Muslims generally follow their official teachings, Muslims pass the faith on to their children, etc.), yes, that’s true.

  4. Tell you the truth, I don’t really care about all the defections to Islam. Christians follow their religion not because of convenience but because they love God. It’s astounding to see how so many people are switching back to Christianity in their LATER years. I’m not sure they would attain salvation, but it’s really an observation of interest.

  5. Hello, asimplesinner.

    Welcome to the site.

    It’s not an either-or proposition. It’s a both-and situation.

    Christians do have smaller families, AND Christian parents many times also fail to pass on the faith to the next generation.

    Of the two factors, though, I believe that the second one—failure to pass the faith on—is more crucial.

    After all, even if Christian parents have 10 children, and yet fail to pass their faith on to these children, then the population of Christians would still diminish through time. Their 10 children would count as non-Christians.

  6. Hey, JDsg.

    Welcome.

    Thanks for the clarification re Islam and birth control.

  7. ” I don’t really care about all the defections to Islam.”

    IF there were defections, a Christian should care… That as the case may be, this is simply NOT about defections, it is about fertility.

    Melcartera, I do hope that you get a chance to read some of those links or listen to or read Dr. Smiths lecture. We don’t need to exagerate or use hyperbole and start talking about “ten kids” even three is far more than most Americans and Euros would consider these days.

    Why is that?
    Where did that come from?
    Why don’t many Protestants adhere to the teaching that everyone adheared to until about 80 years ago?

    That third, fourth or fifth child to whom you pass the faith might be the missionary that was needed. Why aren’t we open?

  8. Hello, asimplesinner.

    We don’t need to exagerate or use hyperbole and start talking about “ten kids” even three is far more than most Americans and Euros would consider these days.

    As I said, it’s a both-and situation, not just an either-or case. Granted that birth control has played a significant role, the point of the “hyperbole” is this: Passing the faith is still more important.

    Even if you have two or three kids (or 10), but you fail to pass on your faith to those two or three (or 10), then they still count as non-Christians.

    And if God blesses you with only one child, then you should still raise that child in the faith.

    It is the duty of Christian parents to evangelize and disciple their own families, however big or small these may be.

  9. Certainly, to have the faith grow is a function of three things:

    1. Have children, at least 3 per family.
    2. Raise the children in the faith
    3. Evangelize.

    We are doing all three poorly right now.

    I dont think it is rude to discuss 1. any more than to discuss 2. Both are weaknesses we have and both indict modern Catholic couples for being more materialistic than spiritual. Materialism undermines attempts to inculcate the faith and is the primary motivation for having few children or none.

  10. Hello, Fr. J.

    I dont think it is rude to discuss 1. any more than to discuss 2.

    Of course it is not rude to discuss any of the three. In the present context, rudeness has to do with the manner of the discussion, not with the subject matter per se.

    Materialism undermines attempts to inculcate the faith and is the primary motivation for having few children or none.

    Good point.

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