Hubbub & Hodgepodge
Statistics, polls and interesting little tit-bits.
The 2nd Edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia, from Oxford University Press, tallies
religion for the new millenium. Here's the statistics:
Hinduism: 811 million; slight gain in 20th century.
Buddhism: 360 million; slight loss over 20th century.
Judaism: 14 million; slight loss over 20th century.
Sikhism: 23 million.
Islam: 1.2 billion/19.6% of world population; notable increases in 20th century.
Christianity: 1.9 billion/31% of world population; 33,820 denominations; 386 million
belong to independent churches.
Non-Religious: 768 million/12.7% of world population; notable increases in 20th century.
The lead editor is Rev. David B. Barrett of Richmond, Va., specializes in religious demographics.
He also leads the Global Evangelization Movement, a research center that apparently collects
its data from a wide variety of sources. With a name like the Global Evangelization
Movement, I can't vouch for the accuracy of these statistics, but I doubt they're
In February 2001, Gallup polls surveyed 1,000 American adults about evolution and
creationism. 40% believe that creationism should be taught instead of evolution in the
public school system. 28% believe that teachers be required to teach evolution. 47%
believe in creationsim, and 9% believe in evolution. The sampling error was + or -3% at
the 95% confidence level.
Pope John Paul II has named nearly 300 patron saints, and in October named a
peculiar one: Thomas More is now the patron saint of politicians (interestingly, More was
beheaded in 1535). St. Isidore of Seville is supposed to be named patron saint of the
internet. I don't know what the connection is...
The Russian Orthodox Church, on the other hand, named the patron saint of the tax police --
Matthew (yes, the apostle). I suppose the tax police needed an image boost since they
dress and act like a SWAT team in order to audit businesses.
Apparently there is a spinoff of the Jehovah's Witnesses that believe they should test
their faith by standing in the middle of traffic. (!) In October of last year, a member
was pulled out of traffic on an Illinois highway while she proselytized to drivers. A few
days later the 45-year-old woman was killed when she tried it again.
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