"RELIGION WAS SUPPOSED to fade away as globalization and freedom spread. Instead, it's booming around the world. ...

"The world is indeed more modern: It enjoys more political freedom, more democracy, and more education than perhaps at any time in history. According to Freedom House [a Washington, DC-based research institute], the number of 'free' and 'partly free' countries jumped from 93 in 1975 to 147 in 2005. UNESCO estimates that adult literacy rates doubled in sub-Saharan Africa, Arab countries, and South and West Asia between 1970 and 2000. The average share of people in developing countries living on less than a dollar a day fell from 28 percent to 22 percent between 1990 and 2002, according to World Bank estimates.

"If people are wealthier, more educated, and enjoy greater political freedom, one might assume they would also have become more secular. They haven't. In fact the period in which economic and political modernization has been most intense—the last 30 to 40 years—has witnessed a jump in religious vitality around the world. The world's largest religions have expanded at a rate that exceeds global population growth.

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Solving the Peter/Malchus dilemma
August 21, 2006

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