The overwhelming majority people today (84%) self-identify as being affiliated with one religion or another, and even among people who are religiously unaffiliated, many have some religious beliefs or engage in some religious practices, according to the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project.
The prospects for continued growth of religious populations appear strong as they are younger on average than the world’s religiously unaffiliated population.
Moreover, Pew Research studies show that religion continues to shape the attitudes, actions and beliefs of people, particularly in non-Western countries. While these studies have revealed much about the impact of religion on politics, societies and people today, much more still needs to be learned.
#2 TEDx Talk at the Vatican
Approximately three-quarters of the world's people live in countries with high or very high restrictions on religion coming either from governments or groups in society.
Social hostilities involving religion are 3.5 times higher in countries with very high government favoritism of religion than in countries with low levels of biased favoritism.
Government restrictions can also cross borders and be enforced by governments thousands of miles away, as was the case when Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari was extradited by Malaysian authorities to Saudi Arabia to face charges of blasphemy, which carries the possibility of the death penalty.
TEDx Talk at the Vatican
Among the many trail-blazing actions of TIME Magazine's "person of the year" Pope Francis, he personally expressed his “esteem and friendship” to the world’s Muslims as they prepared to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fast this week. Usually that annual greeting is signed by the Vatican’s department for interfaith dialogue.
My blog summarized ten basic things to know about Muslims - followers of Islam - gleaned from recent Pew Research reports. The first 5 are Muslim beliefs and practices; the second 5 are Muslim demographics and findings from recent studies of global restrictions on religion.