Religion has been a part of humanity for as far back as recorded history goes. Though it can often feel like these belief systems have remained the same since they were first invented centuries ago, nothing could be further from the truth. Religions change all the time, though it is not always easy to see the shifts. Review these details to learn a bit more about how experts believe world religions will change in the coming years.
Conversions Across the World
According to religious experts, there will be some major changes to the populations of major world religions in upcoming years. The most notable of these shifts will happen with Christians. Within the next few decades, it is estimated that roughly 150 million people who identify as part of this religion will convert away from this belief system. Instead of switching to another religion, it is believed that these people will become religiously unaffiliated or identify as atheist or agnostic. These estimates follow recent trends of younger people across the United States and Europe dropping religious identity in favor of atheism.
Shifts in Religious Populations
As of 2023, Christianity is the most popular world religion. There are currently more than 2.3 billion individuals around the globe who identify as some type of Christian. However, experts predict there will be some major changes to the distribution of religious groups in the near future. Some academics estimate that by 2050 more than half of all Christians will be located in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. This is largely due to how many people in this area currently identify as Christian and how fast people in other regions are converting to other religions.
Interestingly, the same experts have predicted that India will be home to the world’s Muslim population by 2050. Though Iraq and Turkey currently house a majority of individuals who follow Islam, population shifts and changing attitudes have led professionals to name India as the future home for a large chunk of Muslims.
Changes to the Restrictions
Rules surrounding religion often change from one country to the next. For example, some women who identify as Muslim in certain nations are forbidden from pursuing higher education due to religious restrictions. Though these rules are quite severe in some places, experts believe there will be a shift in coming years. It is thought that these restrictions will become a bit more lax in some places, while it is also likely that the rules will become more harsh and strict in more orthodox regions.
In the last century, the world has seen the populations of major religions dwindle. This has coincided with a rise in how many people globally identify as an atheist or religiously unaffiliated. This trend is projected to continue, though experts are split on the exact direction that these numbers are headed. Some believe that there will be a major push against atheism, with younger generations embracing tradition and returning to the religious groups that their grandparents were affiliated with. Others believe that religious influence is growing under the radar amidst members of Gen Z.
However, a majority of professionals believe that atheism and agnosticism will continue to grow in popularity. Religious fanaticism like the kind seen amongst Christians in America is often a huge reason for people leaving a belief system. Since these groups are only growing more and more unhinged, many experts predict it will lead to countless people becoming religiously unaffiliated.
Look to the Future
Though religion is an integral component of the human experience, how humans identify with spiritual systems changes frequently. By looking at what experts have to say about the future of religion, it becomes easier to see what major shifts might occur on the horizon.