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Professor: the religious population will inherit the earth

By Hal Boyd

Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, May 24 2011 3:35 p.m. MDT

Question: Who will inherit the earth? Answer: Whoever has the most children, says Eric Kaufmann, professor of politics at the University of London.

During an American Enterprise Institute event, Kaufmann explained how declining birthrates in secular societies and rising birthrates in religious societies are changing the world's population.

This trend, "over even a short span of time, (is) going to lead to a substantial shift in the population," says Kaufmann in a video of his remarks.

The event, titled "Demography and Religion: Toward a World of True Believers?" focused on the research in Kaufmann's book, "Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century".

"In the race for souls, demography counts for more than eloquence. And demographic reality is very much slanted against secularism: what no one has noticed is that far from declining, the religious are expanding their share of the population because secular birthrates have plunged below replacement," says Kaufmann's website regarding his research.

Others have also noticed these trends. "The world's Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35 percent in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030," says a summary of a Pew Forum study.

"Despite the rapid growth of Islam, Christianity seems set to remain the biggest religion in the world for the next 20 years. There are currently more than 2 billion Christians — 30 to 35 percent of the global population — making it very unlikely that there will be fewer than 2.2 billion Christians in 2030," says a post on CNN's belief blog, based on the Pew Forum's findings.

EMAIL: hboyd@desnews.com

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