This study, released today, has significant finding about the decline of Christian affiliation but does not provide explanations for the declines discovered in their surveys. I would suggestion the following reasons:
Personal rather than political reasons
The breakdown of families, which normally have held people in churches
Church-life feeling more hurtful than helpful
Social norms that caused people to say they were religious in the past are fading. People are more comfortable admitting they are unaffiliated.
America’s Changing Religious Landscape | Pew Research Center.
The article describes how Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the registration process for religions has led to suppression of groups that are not Russian Orthodox. The end of the article includes a link to an historical article about the conflict in the Ukraine.
Europe’s ‘Unlikely Bible Belt’ Officially Disappears | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com.
A good essay built from recent church history. The author also points out that Christians outside Europe and the United States—where the growth is taking place—still hold to biblical doctrine and practice as standards.
Must Christianity change its sexual ethics? History may hold the key (COMMENTARY) – Religion News Service.
Here is a much more detailed analysis of the recent surveys and projections about religion generally and the growth of Christianity and Islam. The article includes helpful visual data.
The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050 | Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.
This article describes the higher birthrate of Muslims, which is projected to make the Muslim population surpass the Christian population by 2070. The article speculates that violence will be a likely result as shifts in power take place.
These demographics should help Protestants understand why Roman Catholics have maintained there views on birth control (that is, not using birth control). In the Near East, Christians and Muslims have adopted harsh customs to ensure that members of their communities do not cross over to the other religion due to the dangers that go along with depopulation. Marrying into the other religion will mean getting shut out of the family and could even mean death, things hard for those in the west to understand.
Islam projected to be world’s largest religion by 2070.