The Fastest Growing Religion is…

An interesting article from

Despite predictions that religion will go the way of dinosaurs, the size of almost every major faith — sorry, Buddhists — will increase in the next 40 years, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

The biggest winners, Pew predicts, will be Islam and Christianity.

150402130756-chart-projected-religion-growth-exlarge-169Islam, the world’s fastest-growing faith, will leap from 1.6 billion (in 2010) to 2.76 billion by 2050, according to the Pew study. At that time, Muslims will make up nearly one-third of the world’s total projected population of about 9 billion people.

Christianity is expected to grow, too, but not at Islam’s explosive rate. The Pew study predicts Christians will increase from 2.17 billion to 2.92 billion, composing more than 31% of the world’s population.

This means that by 2050, more than 6 out of 10 people on Earth will be Christian or Muslim. And, for perhaps the first time in history, Islam and Christianity would boast roughly equal numbers.

Looking even farther into the future, Islam’s population could surpass Christianity by 2100, Pew says, despite Christians’ six-century head start. (It’s possible that Muslims outnumbered Christians some time in the past, perhaps during the Black Plague that decimated Europe. But scholars aren’t certain.)

Based in Washington, Pew is a nonpartisan “fact tank” that regularly produces sweeping surveys of this kind without taking public policy positions. Six years in the making, its study collected data from 234 countries and territories to predict the fate of five major faiths — Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam — as well as folk religions and the religiously unaffiliated, including atheists.

The study, which Pew says is the first of its kind, bases its projections on the age of populations, fertility and mortality rates, as well as migration and conversion patterns. Simply put, Muslims are having larger families, retaining more members (conversions are illegal in some Muslim nations) and are younger than adherents of other faiths. More than 1 in 3 Muslims is younger than 15.

But religious trends have never been measured on the study’s vast scale, Pew says, so a few cautions are in order.

First, the population projections are based on current data and assumptions about demographic trends. For example, Muslim women have an average of three children, the highest of any religious group. In the future, if education and employment rates rise, those numbers could change.

Second, nobody at Pew has a crystal ball, so events like cataclysmic wars, rampaging diseases, natural disasters and economic meltdowns could throw the numbers off.

But it’s clear from the 245-page report that Pew and the demographic experts they consulted did their homework, so the study is worth taking seriously. With that in mind, here are some of the study’s top findings about what the world will look like — at least, faith-wise — in 2050.

— Atheists, agnostics and religiously unaffiliated people will increase in the United States (from 16% to 26%) but decline as a share of the total worldwide population.

— Also in the United States, Christians will drop from 78% to 66% of population. Muslims will surpass Jews as the largest non-Christian religion in the U.S.

— Sub-Saharan African will be home to 40% of the Christian population and Nigeria have more Christians than any other country except for the United States and Brazil.

— India will have the largest Muslim population in the world, passing Indonesia, but Hindus will retain a majority.

— More than 10% of Europeans will be Muslim, while the number of Christians in Europe will drop by 100 million.

— Hinduism (1.4 billion adherents) and Judaism (16 million) will increase, while Buddhists will be about the same size as in 2010 (5.2 million).

— In the coming decades, 106 million people are projected to leave Christianity. (46 million will convert to Christianity, offsetting the losses a little.)

— The number of countries with Christian majorities will drop to 151, as Christians are projected to decrease in Australia, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Republic of Macedonia and the United Kingdom.

— Muslims are expected to make up more than 50% of the population in 51 countries, including the Republic of Macedonia and Nigeria.


Policing America

The police are under attack in our country. They are disrespected by the public. They are disrespected by politicians with an agenda. They are sent out to do their jobs with their hands tied, which creates a very dangerous situation for them. I’m sure they feel like they are “damned if they do, and damned if they don’t” do their jobs.

Yes, I know their are bad apples, and yes, they do stick up for each other, but in my opinion that is not a reason to demean the entire law enforcement community. It seems like just a couple of years ago that the black community was complaining that the police didn’t care about their neighborhoods. So, efforts were made to change that. Now, they are calling the police an “occupying force.” Again, damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

I came across an interesting article by . Perhaps it will answer some of the questions.

(CNN)In the past week, America has seen how good police work has saved lives by the use of deadly force in Garland, Texas, and how allegedly criminal misconduct landed six Baltimore police officers in jail after the death of Freddie Gray. We’ve been reminded of the ugly truth that police do risk their lives every day with the killing of NYPD Officer Brian Moore.

Every rookie police officer who completes his or her initial training is taught how to defend themselves and others through the use of both lethal and nonlethal means. They are taught when and how they can legally use force against others. They also learn the potential consequences to them personally if they accidentally misjudge a situation or intentionally choose to break the rules.

Although I now practice criminal law, I am a former prosecutor and I have been a certified peace officer in Georgia since 1989 and maintain that certification annually by completing mandatory training in both firearms and the use of force. I have advised heads of law enforcement agencies, represented officers who have used deadly force, and have sued officers who, in my estimation, have crossed the line and used excessive force. That experience has taught me three basic truths about policing in America:

The Good: The truth is that we need our police and we need them to be armed and well trained in the use of deadly force. This week in Garland, Texas, two terrorists armed with high-powered assault rifles and protected by body armor were stopped by an outnumbered and outgunned single patrolman with a .45 caliber handgun. In what can only be called extreme heroism, the single patrolman was able to rely on his training in the use of force and his outstanding marksmanship to save not only his life but also the lives of the citizens he was protecting at a public event.

The Bad: The truth is that within the law enforcement profession there are bad officers — officers who are socialized into an “us against them” culture where officers routinely get away with abusing the citizens they are sworn to protect. In Baltimore, long before we heard a prosecutor lay out stunning criminal allegations against six police officers, including charges in the death of Freddie Gray after what has been described as a “rough ride” in a police van, the family of Dondi Johnson Sr. was awarded $7.4 million after Johnson, a plumber arrested for public urination, suffered paralysis and ultimately death after a police van ride broke his neck.

The Ugly: The ugly truth is that police have one of the most dangerous jobs on Earth. Why? Because there are lawless and evil people who are perfectly happy to take an officer’s life. The latest example came Saturday, May 2, when 25-year-old New York Police Department Officer Brian Moore was killed when, officials said, he was shot in the face during what should have been a “routine” police-citizen encounter. He died shortly thereafter.

The issues being debated nationally in America about the police and the nature of their relationship with the citizenry are vital ones.

So, how can law enforcement better deal with the “bad” and the “ugly”? The answer is a return to the idea of “community oriented policing.” Many police agencies have had great success by sponsoring “citizen police academies” and use those short courses, open to the public, as a foundation upon which to build strong relations within the communities they serve. The students learn about police practices and procedures, ride along with officers on patrol, and in some instances are given training in firearms.

These “CPAs” foster better understanding by the police of the concerns of the community while helping the community better understand what the life of an officer is truly like — not how it is often misperceived. Once the gap of misunderstanding is bridged between the police and the citizenry, perhaps the “bad” and the “ugly” will fade away into oblivion.

The most important thing to understand is that there should not be a national indictment of the police profession in general. Can there be improvement in police training? Absolutely. Can there be improvements in police culture? Of course. Can those who kill police be held accountable? Definitely. Can society survive without police? Not a chance.  (Emphasis added)

Twitter: @PhilHollowayEsq