To many of us, it may seem that religion is rapidly declining in mainstream popularity. More than ever, it is perfectly more than acceptable to hold no religious beliefs. Festive holidays, such as Christmas or Easter, seem far abstracted from their original religious associations and many religious ideas are constantly ripped apart by the current morality such as the attitudes towards homosexuality or abortion from the popular religions such as Christianity or Islam. However, how much of this common perception that religion is dying out is a fair assessment of the objective truth? 


To some degree, it is clear why to many of us in Western societies hold such a view. For example, in the UK census, the amount of people who said they had no religious affiliation increased significantly from 14.6 million in 2001 to 24.7 million in 2011 which is a huge change for simply a ten-year time period. However, the figures are not so clear when appreciating the rest of the world for the West contains only a minority of the global population. In fact, the fastest growing religion in the world, Islam has increased from 1.1 billion Muslims globally in 1990 to 1.6 billion in 2010 according to an article by on the growth of Islam. The article also predicts that by 2030 this figure will reach 2.2 billion which would mean that the Islamic population would double in only 40 years. From these figures, it is clear that religion, at least Islam, is not dying just yet. 


Even so, the matter should be appreciated with even more nuance. Two factors must be considered. Firstly, it must be considered the reasons for the fall of religion in the west. Religion is most potently spread through family and in recent time, individuals have gotten less and less religious which has led to a compounding effect. Many LEDCs often follow the path of the West as they become more economically developed and therefore it must be considered that many other countries may follow suit with a decline of religion. Although this is not necessarily the case, for example Japan, which is wealthier than many Western nations, still has very high rates of religion especially of Buddhism and Shinto related beliefs. Secondly, it is possible that the West will experience a rebound of religion. Religion has many benefits such as providing a strong sense of purpose and community which has been rapidly declining in the West leaving a crisis of depression and loneliness as a result of technology and nihilistic belief. 


Ultimately, this is mostly mere speculation. It seems that the only way to find out will be to live to find out. Even so, pondering these questions can provide valuable insight into the way our societies work as well as how religious and societal beliefs influence us all as individuals.