Activist Faith

islamimages.jpgThe Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has announced its findings that it expects the number of Muslims worldwide to doubt in the next 20 years. Is this true? And if it is, what does it mean for the non-Muslim world, specifically Christians?

First, these estimates are based on population growth, not growth of adherents. In other words, it’s not exactly accurate to say that if X number of more people are born in Pakistan over the next 20 years, they will all be Muslim. Socially they may be, but individually the numbers will be different, even if only slightly in some cases.

Second, the study is an estimate based on projected growth based on current rates and other variables. Of course, no one knows for certain, but it’s safe to say there will be far more Muslims in 20 years than today.

For Christians, this information can be taken as a helpful tool for future planning. Christian universities need to make sure their students know the main ideas of Islam well enough to serve within an increasingly Muslim context. Churches have a glaring need for members to both better understand their own faith and understand the basics of other major belief systems, including Islam. And each of us as individuals could likely use a little more education about what Islam teaches and how it compares with our own beliefs (keeping in mind Islam has a variety of subgroups and is not a monolith).

Lots of tools exist and books abound in this area. I’ve worked on some you can check out on Amazon or elsewhere. You can also click here for a comparison chart.

The main point is that if there are more Muslims in the years ahead, will we who claim to follow Jesus understand its beliefs enough to minister to those in that context? If not, we will be under-equipped to do what Jesus has called us to do, both to show love and to share the message of Jesus to those who have yet to hear.


BURROUGHS is an author, activist, and co-founder of Activist Faith.
Dillon served in Haiti following the epic 2010 earthquake and has
investigated modern slavery in the US and internationally. His books
include Undefending Christianity, Not in My Town (with Charles J.
Powell), and Thirst No More (October). Discover more at

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