Libmonster ID: U.S.-1296
Author(s) of the publication: S. A. GOROKHOV

S. A. GOROKHOV

Candidate of Geographical Sciences, Moscow State Pedagogical University

Africa Keywords:ChristianityGlobal NorthGlobal South

In recent decades, significant changes have been observed in the global confessional space. The impressive achievements of Islam in the traditionally Christian regions of the world-America and Europe-are increasingly being discussed. At the same time, the equally amazing achievements of Christian missionaries in Asia and Africa are much less resonated in the world and domestic press.

For the first time in the last 500 years, statistics show a slight decline in the share of Christians in the World's population: from 35% in 1910 to 32% a century later, due to the weakening of the influence of Christianity in traditional areas of distribution, especially in Europe. However, the Christian population of the world increased more than 3.5 times during this period (from 0.6 to 2.3 billion people). people) and is projected to reach 2.8 billion by 2025 and 3 billion by 2050.1. Moreover, the growth in the number of followers of this religion is primarily due to Christians in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

THE RISE OF "SOUTHERN CHRISTIANITY"

By the beginning of the twenty-first century, the centers of planetary Christianity (first of all, in quantitative terms) were no longer economically developed regions of the world - Europe and North America, but developing countries of the tropical and equatorial belts. If in 1910 more than 82% of the world's Christians were concentrated in the countries of the Global North (USA, Canada, Europe, Russia, etc.), then a century later - only 39%. At the same time, the share of the Global South (Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania) in the Christian population of the world has increased from 18% to 61% over the past 100 years, i.e. almost 3.5 times!

The shift of the center of world Christianity to the South gives us the right to say that our time is the heyday of southern Christianity. However, despite the fact that Christians are more numerous in the Global South (24%), their share in the population (69%) is much higher in the Global North (see Table 1). First of all, this is due to the fact that the population of the Global South is approximately 4.5 times larger than that of the Global North. The same data suggest that the global Christian population will continue to expand at the expense of the countries of the Global South.

A century ago, 2/3 of the world's Christians were concentrated in Europe, and about 15% more were in North America - the Christian civilization itself was perceived at that time exclusively as Euro-American. At the same time, only slightly more than 1% of Christian adherents lived in Sub-Saharan Africa, and only 4.6% in the Asia - Pacific region (APR).

In 2010, the situation changed dramatically: Europe and Africa already have approximately the same number of Christians - 24-25% of the world's Christian population, while in North America they are inferior in number to their co-religionists from the Asia-Pacific region. In connection with the above, it can be stated that Christianity today, in contrast to the period a century ago , is a truly global religion (see Table 2).

The main reason for the change in regional proportions in the total Christian population is primarily due to the phenomenal success of Christian missionaries in developing countries in Asia and Africa. Another reason is the uneven population growth in different regions of the world: in Europe, in recent years, it has been close to zero, while in Africa it is about 2% per year.

The process of secularization, which has affected European and North American societies and led to an increase in the number of people who are indifferent to religion in the population of the countries of these regions, plays a certain role in reducing the share of residents of the Global North in the Christian population of the world. As a result, Nigeria now has more than twice as many Protestants as the home of the Protestant Reformation in Germany. And in Brazil, the number of Catholics is more than twice that of Italy , the historical center of Catholicism.

Currently, almost half (48%) of all Christians live in just 10 States. In the top ten countries with the largest Christian population, only three are representatives of the Global North, the rest are located in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

page 44

Table 1

Changing proportions in the world's Christian Population between Global North and Global South

Macroregion

Christian population, mln.

Percentage of Christians in the region's population, %

Share of Christians in the region in the Christian population of the world, %

1910

2010

1910

2010

1910

2010

Global North

502,9

856,4

86,7

69,0

82,2

39,2

Global South

108,9

1327,7

9,2

23,5

17,8

60,8

World

611,8

2184,1

34,8

31,7

100,0

100,0



Source: Global Christianity. A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population. Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life. Washington, D.C. 2011, p. 14.

(see table. 3), while in 1910 this list included only two countries of the Global South - Brazil and Argentina.

It is interesting to note that in territorial terms, Christianity seems to be "returning" to its origins. Thus, according to data provided by one of the leading experts in the field of confessional statistics, D. B. Barrett, at the dawn of Christianity in 500 AD, more than 67% of the world's Christians lived in Asia and Africa, half a millennium later-already 45%, and only by 1500 Christianity becomes almost exclusively a European religion. The share of Europeans among Christians by the beginning of the XVI century exceeded 94%. It was in the sixteenth century, during the age of Great Geographical Discoveries, that the triumphal march of Christianity began all over the world, and at the same time there was a gradual decrease in the share of Europeans in the Christian population of the world2.

It is largely because of the sharp structural shifts in the global confessional geography that have taken place in the last century that the modern period of society's development is characterized by an increase in inter-confessional contradictions. A manifestation of this is the intensification of competition between the main religions of the world for the minds and souls of people.

The main "battlefield" between the world's largest faiths - Christianity and Islam - is Africa. It is on the Black Continent that it is now being decided which religion will become the leader in the number of adherents in the XXI century. The importance of Africa in the global rivalry of world faiths is determined primarily by the impressive growth rate of its population. First of all, this applies to the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (SAA), whose population has increased almost 8-fold in just over a hundred years - from 106.4 million people (6.4% of the world's population) in 1900 to 823.8 million (11.9%) in 2010. According to forecasts, in 2050, 1.87 billion people will live in Black Africa. people, or 20.1% of the world's population 3.

In just a century, from 1910 to 2010, the number of Christians living in Africa increased from 10 million to 523 million, or more than 52 times. In turn, the number of Muslims in the same region increased only 13 times - from 34 to 432 million. Today, Christians make up the majority of the population in 34 of the 57 States and territories of the African continent.

In 2010, Christians made up 62.7% of the FSA's population, while Muslims made up only 30.1%.4 Representatives of two of the largest faiths today at the Russian Orthodox Church are:-

Table 2

Dynamics of the Christian population of the world

World regions

1910

2010

Christian population of the region, million people

Share of the world's Christian population, %

Christian population of the region, million people

Share of the world's Christian population, %

America

166,0

27,1

804,0

36,8

Asia-Pacific Region

28,0

4,6

285,0

13,1

Sub-Saharan Africa

9,0

1,5

516,0

23,6

Middle East and North Africa

4,0

0,6

13,0

0,6

Europe

406,0

66,2

566,0

25,9

World

613,0

100,0

2184,0

100,0



Source: Global Christianity.., p. 12.

page 45

Table 3

Number of Christians in the world's largest Christian countries (2010)

N

Countries

Christian population, mln.

Percentage of Christians in the country's population, %

Share of the country's Christians in the world's Christian population, %

1.

USA

246,8

79,5

11,3

2.

Brazil

175,7

90,2

8,0

3.

Mexico

107,7

95,0

4,9

4.

Russia

105,2

73,6

4,8

5.

Philippines

86,8

93,1

4,0

6.

Nigeria

80,5

50,8

3,7

7.

China

67,1

5,0

3,1

8.

DR Congo

63,2

95,7

2,9

9.

Germany

58,2

70,8

2,7

10.

Ethiopia

52,6

63,4

2,4

 

10 largest Christian countries

1 043,8

'

'

 

The rest of the world

1 140,2

6,3

52,2



Source: Global Christianity.., p. 11.

It is estimated that about 93% of the population of the SSA is counted, while in 1900 76% adhered to traditional tribal religions; Christians made up 15% of the population, and Muslims-9%5.

According to statistics, the majority of Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa are Protestants (57.2%), 6 and one in three is Catholic. Adherents of Eastern Christianity (Orthodox, Monophysites, Uniates) make up almost 8% of Christians in the SSA, while representatives of other Christian trends (Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.) make up about 1% of the region's Christian population (see Table 4).

The overall structure of the world's Christian population differs from that of Sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, 50% of the global Christian population is represented by Catholics, about 37% by Protestants, and 12% by adherents of Eastern Christianity.7

The high proportion of Protestants in Sub-Saharan Africa is due to the region's particular Christianization, which is currently being carried out primarily by Evangelical churches8Pentecostals9 and Charismatics10, which make up more than a third of the population of sub-Saharan Africa.

This is confirmed by the fact that high rates of growth in the number of adherents of Christianity in Africa have been observed since the 60s of the last century, when local evangelical churches began to flourish in the newly independent countries of the continent. In 1960, for example, there were only about 60 million people in Africa. Christians, and ten years later-144 million (an increase of almost 2.5 times!)11.

Instead of following the example of traditional Christians in promising salvation in the afterlife for virtue, Evangelical Christians preach salvation in this life in the form of obtaining worldly goods.

This doctrine, called prosperity theology and addressed primarily to Africa's large segment of the poor and destitute, became the basis for the phenomenally successful spread of Christianity on the continent. African churches not only began to educate their parishioners within the framework of the so-called Weberian ethics*, but also were able to provide them with a teaching on how to maximize success in the commercial and social spheres in today's globalizing society.

Evangelical churches have thus become the most important vehicle for cultural and economic globalization in developing Africa. And the ecstatic form of worship of Pentecostals and Charismatics fits perfectly into the African traditions of religious mysteries. In other words, Christianity is a conscious choice of the peoples of Africa, and not the result of forced missionary work in the era of colonialism. This choice shows that it is Christianity, primarily in the form of Evangelical Protestantism, that Africans see as the key to further development and modernization.

In this regard, there is every reason, in our opinion, to assume that the future of Christianity will be decided in Africa.

The attractiveness of Africa for missionaries of all faiths also lies in the fact that, according to researchers, the most religious people on the planet live here. Almost 90% of the surveyed Africans consider religion to be a very important part of their lives. According to this indicator, the continent is noticeably ahead of other regions of the world. For comparison, this figure is more than four times higher than for Russia (21%) and more than one and a half times higher for the United States (57%) - the most religious of the developed countries.

The level of religiosity is especially high in the FSA countries: 61% of Christians in this region believe that the Second Coming of Christ will occur during their lifetime, and 52% of Muslims believe in the restoration of the World Caliphate and the future before the eyes of their generation.-


* Weberian ethics (Protestant work ethic) - a religiously based doctrine about the virtue of work, the need to work conscientiously and diligently. The term was coined by the German sociologist and philosopher Max Weber in his famous work "Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism" in 1905.

page 46

Table 4

Christian population structure in Sub-Saharan Africa (2010)

Directions of Christianity

Number of adherents, mln.

Share of the region's Christian population, %

Share in the total population of the region, %

Share of Christians in the region in the global population of the corresponding branch of Christianity, %

Protestants

295,5

57,2

35,9

36,9

Catholics

176,0

34,1

21,3

16,1

Eastern churches

40,1

7,8

4,9

15,4

Other

4,8

0,9

0,6

16,8

Total

516,4

100,0

62,7

-



Source: Global Christianity.., p. 21, 55.

beginning of a new Golden Age of Islam 12. The Christian churches of Africa are characterized by a traditionalist attitude and a moralizing spirit that distinguishes them from their co-religionists in America and Europe. All this suggests that the continent is gradually developing its own type of Christianity, different from the West.

The top ten countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with the largest number of Christians are home to more than 17% of the world's Christians, which is more than in Asia, Australia and Oceania combined (see Table 5). The region ranks 1st in the world in terms of the number of Protestants (37%), and Nigeria is second only in this indicator. USA 13.

Recently, the number of Protestants in this region has been growing at a very high rate: South Africa has more than 36.5 million Protestants (5th in the world), i.e. more than in the UK. In the traditionally Catholic Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Protestants now outnumber Catholics (7th largest in the world); in the Monophysite country of Ethiopia, they make up almost a third of the country's Christians; in Kenya, 24.2 million (9th largest in the world).

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 16% of the world's Catholics, a figure second only to America and Europe. Their largest community is in the DRC (10th largest in the world).

Finally, in terms of the number of adherents of the Eastern churches (15% of their number in the world), the region is second only to Europe. Most Eastern Christians are concentrated in Ethiopia, which is second only to Russia in this indicator.

In sub-Saharan Africa, as in most developing countries, the problem of interreligious conflicts remains relevant. According to well-known Russian Africanists A. M. Vasiliev and A. A. Potapov, in Africa "ethnic and / or confessional beliefs and stereotypes - both new and archaic, socio-ethnic and religious psychology - have become the main factors in the development of conflicts or their provocation"15.

The problem of interfaith relations is most acute in West Africa, where the majority of FSA Muslims live, and the religious structure of the population is particularly diverse. An example of instability is Nigeria, which has seen an ongoing struggle between Christians and Muslims since independence.

Nigeria, the continent's largest country by population, is home to more than 80 million people. Christians and an estimated 76-78 million. Muslims (almost a third of Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa). The country's Christian community is almost equal in population to Germany, and Nigeria has more Muslims than Iran.

Nigeria's Christian community includes almost 60 million people. Protestants and about 20 million Catholics 16,17 . However, there are no reliable data on the current confessional composition of the country's population. For example, in the 2006 census, the question of religion was omitted because it was too sensitive for a religiously divided Nigerian society. According to official figures for 2003, Muslims accounted for 50.5% of the Nigerian population, while Christians accounted for 48.2% .18

The Christianization of Nigeria took place in just one generation. As early as 1953, 21.4% of the country's population professed this religion, 45.3% of Nigerians were Muslims, and 33.3% belonged to other religions, including traditional African ones.19 And just half a century later, even according to official data, the proportion of Christians in Nigeria has more than doubled, despite the fact that the proportion of Muslims in the country's population has hardly changed.

Much of the growth in the number of Christians in Nigeria is due to the successful missionary work of Evangelical churches, whose adherents make up almost half (26.5 million) of the country's Protestants.20 First of all, these are Pentecostal churches such as the Apostolic Church of Nigeria, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, the Apostolic Church of Christ, the Mission of the Evangelical Faith, and many others.

Now, in terms of religion, Nigeria is actually split into two parts: in the north of the country, Muslims predominate, in the south - Christians. Of the 36 Nigerian states, 12 have adopted sharia law as the basis of their legislation.-

page 47

Table 5 Number of Christians in the largest Christian countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (2010)

A country

Christian population, mln.

Percentage of Christians in the population, %

Catholics

Protestants

Eastern churches

1. Nigeria

20,0

59,7

-

50,6

2. DR Congo

31,1

31,7

-

95,7

3. Ethiopia

0,6

15,9

36,1

63,4

4. SOUTH Africa

3,7

36,6

-

80,9

5. Kenya

9,0

24,2

0,8

84,8

6. Uganda

14,1

14,8

-

86,7

7. Tanzania

14,3

12,3

-

59,6

8. Ghana

3,2

14,8

-

74,9

9. Angola

10,9

5,8

-

88,2

10. Madagascar

7,3

8,1

-

74,5



Source: Global Christianity.., p. 81-83.

This is something that cannot but cause resistance on the part of the Christian population. In the future, the aggravation of the Islam-Christian conflict in Nigeria may lead to the division of the country along confessional lines and the Islamic radicalization of the entire Sahel region.

The situation in Nigeria may follow the "Sudanese path", where after a long and bloody civil war that was fought between the Muslim north and the Christian south, the country split along religious lines. After the secession of South Sudan on July 9, 2011, the authorities in Khartoum decided to change the country's constitution, and the North will live according to Sharia law, while the independent South will continue to Christianize the population.

* * *

Africa has its own unique confessional face, and many of the processes taking place today in the religious life of the continent can become a model for the development of the global confessional space in the future. Currently, the continent is not dominated by any of the world's major religions, and therefore it is hoped that in the future Africa will be able to become not only an arena of intense inter-confessional rivalry, but also, perhaps, serve as a bridge for establishing a dialogue between representatives of various religious trends.

-----

Jenkins P. 1 The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. New York, Oxford University Press. 2002, p. 70.

Barrett D.B., Kurian G.T., Johnson T.M. 2 World Christian Encyclopedia (2nd ed.). New York, Oxford University Press. 2001.

3 World Population Prospects. 2010. Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat - http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/unpp/panel_population.htm

4 Global Christianity. A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population. Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life. Washington, D.C. 2011, p. 15.

5 Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa. April 15, 2010 - http://www.pewforum.org/executive-summary-islam-and-christianity-in-sub-saharan- africa.aspx

6 When we consider the term "Protestantism" in its broadest sense, we include members of African independent churches and Anglicans as Protestants.

7 Global Christianity.., p. 21.

8 Evangelical churches are Protestant organizations whose doctrine is based on three basic principles: faith in the need for spiritual transformation of Christians and their "birth again" through faith in Jesus Christ; faith in the inspiration of the Bible; and faith in the need for active evangelization (communion with Christianity) as many people as possible. Evangelicals are a trans-denominational movement that includes churches of various Protestant denominations, such as Methodism, Presbyterianism, Pentecostalism, and Baptist. The evangelical movement became a manifestation of universalism in the spiritual sphere of society, originating in the middle of the last century in the United States. Today, most evangelicals are concentrated in the Global South.

9 Pentecostalism is a Protestant movement that originated in the United States in 1901. Pentecostals hold the doctrine that the main goal of a Christian is to be "born again" as a result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and people receive his gifts: speaking in other languages - glossolalia, the gift of predicting the future and communicating with God, the gift of healing and material prosperity.

10 Charismatics are representatives of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches who use Pentecostal methods in their spiritual practice, including divine healing, prophecies, and glossolalia.

11 Tolerance and Tension....

12 Ibidem.

13 Global Christianity.., p. 27.

14 The Monophysites are an ancient Eastern church, close in doctrine to Orthodoxy.

15 Countries of Africa, Moscow, Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2002, p. 48.

16 Mapping the Global Muslim Population. A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population. Pew Research Center. Washington. D.C. 2009, p. 5; Global Christianity.., p. 82.

17 Global Christianity.., p. 82.

Lalasz R. 18 In the News: The Nigerian Census http://www.prb.org/Articles/2006/IntheNewsTheNigerianCensus.aspx

19 Global Christianity.., p. 55.

20 A Little Glossary Of Global Christianity, 12 January 2011 -http://www.siena.org/January-2011/a-little-glossary-of-global-christianity


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