Fertility rates show that the Lord is using Africa to carry Christianity into the future.
Last year, in an article I wrote for TGC, I discussed the intimate relationship between fertility rates and levels of religiosity.
That’s now the subject of my new book, Fertility and Faith: The Demographic Revolution and the Transformation of World Religions (Baylor University Press). Briefly, I argue that societies with high fertility rates have high levels of religious faith and practice, while declining fertility correlates closely to shrinking institutional faith, and to secularization. Let me stress, this doesn’t necessarily mean a decline in actual belief, but rather in expressions of faith: believing can continue after belonging has all but vanished.
Christianity, the African Religion
In 2002 my book The Next Christendom explored Christianity’s shift to the Global South. I suggested that this move would become more pronounced as time progressed. Since the book was written, the main change has concerned the plunge in fertility rates in many nations across Latin America and East Asia, which certainly affects any detailed estimates of Christian numbers.
But what hasn’t changed is my central emphasis on Africa. As the century proceeds, Christianity will become ever more markedly a religion of Africa and the African diaspora. African numerical dominance within the faith will arrive sooner than I argued—and it’ll be more sizable, too.
Read the full article titled, The Future of World Christianity Is African | The Gospel Coalition
Philip Jenkins is a professor of history at Baylor University and co-director for Baylor’s Program on Historical Studies of Religion in the Institute for Studies of Religion.