In little more than a century, the religious landscape of sub-Saharan Africa has changed dramatically.As of 1900, both Muslims and Christians were relatively small minorities in the region.(View a PDF map of the 19 countries surveyed.) Our survey asked people to describe their religious beliefs and practices.
In little more than a century, the religious landscape of sub-Saharan Africa has changed dramatically.As of 1900, both Muslims and Christians were relatively small minorities in the region.Tags: Edit Dissertation EditorAlex Cornell Thesis Development PlanP.E Coursework GcseMfa Creative Writing IowaCash Flow For Business PlanLumosity Problem SolvingLiterature Review Topic Examples
This report is part of a larger effort – the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project – that aims to increase people’s knowledge of religion around the world.
The vast majority of people in many sub-Saharan African nations are deeply committed to the practices and major tenets of one or the other of the world’s two largest religions, Christianity and Islam.
Africans have long been seen as devout and morally conservative, and the survey largely confirms this.
But insofar as the conventional wisdom has been that Africans are lacking in tolerance for people of other faiths, it may need rethinking.
While sub-Saharan Africa has almost twice as many Christians as Muslims, on the African continent as a whole the two faiths are roughly balanced, with 400 million to 500 million followers each.
Since northern Africa is heavily Muslim and southern Africa is heavily Christian, the great meeting place is in the middle, a 4,000-mile swath from Somalia in the east to Senegal in the west.The report also may pose some apparent paradoxes, at least to Western readers.The survey findings suggest that many Africans are deeply committed to Islam or Christianity and yet continue to practice elements of traditional African religions.The vast majority of people practiced traditional African religions, while adherents of Christianity and Islam combined made up less than a quarter of the population, according to historical estimates from the World Religion Database.Since then, however, the number of Muslims living between the Sahara Desert and the Cape of Good Hope has increased more than 20-fold, rising from an estimated 11 million in 1900 to approximately 234 million in 2010.Regardless of their faith, most sub-Saharan Africans say they favor democracy and think it is a good thing that people from other religions are able to practice their faith freely.At the same time, there is substantial backing among Muslims and Christians alike for government based on either the Bible or sharia law, and considerable support among Muslims for the imposition of severe punishments such as stoning people who commit adultery.The number of Christians has grown even faster, soaring almost 70-fold from about 7 million to 470 million.Sub-Saharan Africa now is home to about one-in-five of all the Christians in the world (21%) and more than one-in-seven of the world’s Muslims (15%).We tried to assess their degree of political and economic satisfaction; their concerns about crime, corruption and extremism; their positions on issues such as abortion and polygamy; and their views of democracy, religious law and the place of women in society.The resulting report offers a detailed and in some ways surprising portrait of religion and society in a wide variety of countries, some heavily Muslim, some heavily Christian and some mixed.