Hubbub & Hodgepodge

Statistics, polls and interesting little tit-bits.

Who Believes What?
Evolution vs Creationism
New Patron Saints
God's Will

Who Believes What?

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 severely distorted.

    Evolution vs Creationism

    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.

    New Patron Saints

    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.

    God's Will

    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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