Which is the fastest growing religion in the world?

I saw once on wikipedia not long ago, tha Christianity is, by a big marging(not by percentage). But now im discovering that Guiness world record i believe is saying that Islam is. CNN apperently made a statement that Islam is. Muslims are claiming that Islam has highest conversion statistics. Is this true? I know that muslims have incredibly high birth rates but is this the sole reason fro their “expansion” if so to speak?

Benjamin Disraeli once said “there are three kinds of lies in the world. Lies, damn lies, and statistcs.” I think that has to be remembered here when we have these kinds of discussions.

You would need to determine the factors they are using to calculate their resutl. For instance, are they talking about sheer number of people/converts or converts as a percentage of those that already exist?

Additional note: The religion forbids its members to convert to other religions. In some extreme areas, the punishment is death. On the other hand, they make it very easy for anyone to convert to Islam: simply just recite some words and you are done. All these factors, included one you mentioned about high birth rate make it possible to see Islam as the fastest growing religion. HOWEVER, it also means that there are muslims who do not want to publicly convert to other religion (fear of death), but practice other religion silently. There have been cases in Malaysian and other Islamic countries about the conversion issues, and their petitions all have been denied, some even have to migrate to Western countries to seek safety and freedom of religion.
I no longer put my mind too much on this percentage ( i was before). I think better to stay humble on this one. The number is not important. Really.

I think “non-religion” is the fastest growing religion in the world…in other words, the number of atheists/agnostics.
The last stats I saw (I’m going to look for them) they had doubled in the last few years. Many say a big part of it is people “coming out of the closet” and admitting they don’t believe or follow a religion when for many years they were just going through the motions for their families, etc.
But either way, the numbers are growing fast.
Even the very religion Bill O’Reilly reports this, which surprised me.

(here are some news clips from CNN and other networks from around the world:

And you are asking for fastest growing, right? Not just who has the “most” right now?


The number of people who are truly atheistic will always be very small. Religion is innate to humans, as we are objectively created in the image of God. Adopting an atheistic/agnostic ethos, however, is currently in fashion. The louder you denounce organized religion, the “cooler” you are, regardless of your inner beliefs. Most will privately pray or engage in vaguely spiritual behavior under the guise of meditation, relaxation, etc.

We should be overjoyed that Islam is the “fastest” growing religion in the world, if the reason is the high birthrate. Islam condemns birth control and abortion, and can be an important ally in reversing these evil trends. The vast, vast majority of Muslims are of a moderate persuasion. Condemning it all due to the smallest of violent minority overlooks the good in them. They already have abundant love of God, and abundant love of the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

Only their misguided love of God the Father makes them hesitant to embrace his Son as divine as well. I’ve heard anecdotally, that Islam provides many converts to Christianity, as the Holy Spirit works to remove this hardness from their heart.

I think that’s an excuse used by those who lack an understanding of statistics. Used correctly and for the purpose they exist they are a very useful tool.

Jimmy Akin on CAL has this very same question in a recent Open Forum program and gave this answer (paraphrasing):
The fastest growing religion is one you’ve never heard of.

That is, new religions spring up all the time. If the membership started at 2 and then grew to 200 by year’s end, that’s a 100 increase in growth.*

The point is that such statistics aren’t very meaningful.

If we are to believe the media (and therein lies part of the problem) Islam is the so-called fastest growing religion. I believe there may be a number of possible causes:
*]high rates of fecundity in countries where many are Muslims;
*]forced conversions.

As far as the major religions are concerned, Christianity has the highest net number of new members, and the highest number of net converts as well as a much proportionately higher number of converts. Islam is proportionately growing faster than Christianity, although its acceleration is declining since the birthrates in many Muslims nations is decreasing.

Atheism is only growing in the context of the West. If we’re talking about strict atheism/irreligious, then that actually hit its peak in the early 1960s in the world. It has been suffering steady decline in Russia and China. In China, atheists are actually more common in the rural countryside than they are in urban areas. In the countries where atheism is growing, both birthrates and the economy are stagnating, so its future prospect of spreading aren’t nearly as hopeful as what your average 19-year-old atheist would assume based on the worldview he’s constructed with his enclave of internet buddies. Birds of the same feather flock together.

Mormonism is in fact the fastest growing religion, HOWEVER it is also the fastest
“shrinking” religion, “in one door, out the other” so to speak. I hear also that it has
15 million members worldwide, yet only 5 million “active”.

In terms of growth AND sustaining member-
ship, I personally do not know, perhaps I will
check other replies here…

I don’t disagree, but surely you must agree that statistics can be manipulated at times. I am a financial analylst. I use statistics everyday and count on them for what I do. However, many times I have seen them manipulated to make a situation appear different than it really is.

Spencerian, is it you, or Jimmy who is math impaired :).

From 2 to 6 is 200% increase
From 2 to 202 is 200 increase

From 2 to 200 is 9900% increase
From 2 to 200 is 192 increase

I kind of get te feeling that there has always been that segment within any faith community that doesn’t or never really believed in religion of any sort. Since now it seems acceptable to come out as such thats whats really happening, the quantity of believers doesn’t matter after all, its the qaulity and I think thats always been low.

Statistics can be abused. That isn’t the fault of statistics. The misunderstanding and mistrust comes not from statistics per se, although many belive it does, but from those who abuse and misuse this highly useful branch of mathematics.

So we both agree :thumbsup:

Here are the statistics.


So basically islam has higher percentage than Christianity, but that is solely because Islam is smaller. Christianity has more conversion every year than islam, or any religion for that matter, and also, Christianity has more new adherents every year than any other religion including islam.

I think you have forgotten the growing numbers of the “spiritual but not religious”.

Well, among the Non-religious crowd we also have to consider people who are ‘‘spiritual but not religious’’ and those who are for one reason or another called ‘‘none’’ in statistics etc. No religion doesn’t have to mean a totally secular world view. Like in my own country, Sweden, 45% of the population seems to believe there is some sort of spirit or life force but I would guess the majority of those would not consider themselves religious. According to a survey last year 20% or 1 of 5 Swedes believes in ghosts (or perhaps are honest about it :p). Maybe not exactly religion but not Atheism either and definitely supernatural beliefs.

There’s a few issues with ANY claim to be the 'world’s fastest growing religion.

Firstly, how are you actually measuring this? By straight-up numbers of adherents (Christianity would win by this measure)? Percentages (Islam would win here)? Numbers of converts? There’s a number of variables which could be counted which all influence outcome, so you have to choose carefully.

Secondly, records kept by religious communities are often incomplete, or offer little useful information, or are not kept updated regularly. Many places of worship will not record weekly attendees but only for the ceremonies such as marriages and funerals. Census data is more accurate in determining numbers of people from religious communities, but does not record religious conversion and the data isn’t immediately available to the public in any case.

When you talk of global religious figures, you hit the massive problem that in many countries illiteracy, poor record keeping and the often simplistic nature of any data collected can prove a massive problem. There’s no guarantee that in any one country that there is sufficient detail as to prove any use when comparing and compiling statistics. That’s also furthered by the fact that in many countries, records are often missing or incomplete, either by some accident or deliberately. Things like wars, natural disaster and non-preservation all lead to data loss, particularly with paper.

Regarding converts specifically, certainly for Islam there is the issue that often converts are not properly recorded, if at all. There is a certificate of Islam which exists, but this is not a mandatory requirement and is typically only issued for travelling on Hajj/'Umrah. Islamic converts can take shahadah completely in private and there is no need for paperwork to be shown before attending mosque or other Islamic places.

Lastly, on the reverse of the converts issue, many people who LEAVE a religion do so without ever making application to be removed from any religious registers. Many places of worship will often, in place of physical counting of members, simply count the numbers in their membership rosters, and when apostates are not recorded, this can skew the data to show inflated numbers.

Really any claim to be the world’s fastest growing religion is really a very difficult one to qualify with evidence, and any such claim should be treated with caution.

Honestly, the number of adherents to Islam is probably far more than Christianity. I’ve noticed that in countries, especially where there was a Christian ethnoreligious identity like Italy, Ireland or France or Sweden, people get baptized or married into that main church but no longer bother practicing soon after. Given the numbers of places like Brazil, Mexico and Italy, the numbers of adherents could very well be somewhat low.

Also, based on that and the decreasing birth rate versus the part of the world where Islam flourishes having a much higher rate, I would say Islam is the fastest growing religion.

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