The title above almost sounds like a diet ad, doesn't it? Loose 20 pounds in one week! What it does refer to is a neat site my wife forwarded to me knowing my interest in history. It's titled: “History of Religion: The Geography of Faith and Its Wars Across History - See 5,000 years of Religion in 90 Seconds.” A brief explanation reads: "How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!"
The site, over a brief period of 90 seconds, colors in a map of the world showing the origin and growth of the world's major religions. You can find the site here. If you are 'dial-up' it'll take a moment to load.
I thought that this demonstration was timely considering an article I read in yesterday's paper: "Christianity undergoes massive global shift, believers outshine secularists on charity" (AP article by Richard N. Ostling.) I had been aware for some times that the greatest growth of Christianity is taking place in what we would call the Third World Countries. I believe that this may also be true for Lutheranism, especially in Africa.
And why this 'shift' and growth in such places? In short, it has a lot to do with their conservative views regarding the inspiration of scripture and belief in the supernatural and adherence to a strict morality. Liberal denominations may want to wake up and take notice. Assisting Marxist rebels in the jungle or spending all your time addressing global warming as your main platform issue may not resonate with these biblical believers. They grasped the center of the faith after you abandoned it. In the LCMS we have begun to see for ourselves a vibrant church emerging in parts of Africa, and no doubt it will be to these Christians that we will look one day for inspiration on how to live the 'apostolic' faith of a time long ago....
BTW, in the map above, note the overwhelmingly larger area that Christianity has filled compared to Islam. We hear how Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world today. But will it one day conquer the world? History doesn't seem to see it that way.