Welcome to this edition of SIMNOW with a focus on the major religions of the world; Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.
I pray this will be a great resource for you, who like the leaders of the tribe of Issachar (1Chron 12:32), seek to understand the times.
The Christian faith is growing worldwide with one-third of the global population being born-again believers. We may, for the first time in history, and in our life-time, see this population surpass the thirty-percent mark; a tipping point. It will however look very different than it did 30 years ago. Today 70 percent of the worlds' Christians live in the majority world and not in the industrialized West. We see this reflected at SIM as more and more of our missionary workers are from the Global South.
Here in Canada, in 1971, we were a predominantly Judea-Christian culture with less than one percent of Canadians identifying as “no religion” in national surveys. Today 25 percent of Canadians identify as “Nones,” having no religious convictions and rejecting the exclusive claims of any religion, especially the Christian faith. “Nones” or secularism, is the fastest growing religion in our country and competes with Christianity in the marketplace of ideas. This humanist worldview had its birth in the Enlightenment period of the 1800's. Those having a secular humanist worldview reduce religion to a matter of individual preference rather than a comprehensive vision of life. They are also quite possibly one of the more difficult least-reached communities to reach with the gospel.
Another trend which will impact the church in Canada is immigrants. Canada Revenue Agency [CRA] data shows Canada accepts almost 400,000 immigrants per year with just under 47 percent of these classifying themselves as Christian (includes Catholic).
We live in interesting times. God is at work!