By John Stonestreet *
A baby boom on the horizon could radically change our world. Here’s another connection between family and faith explained.
It’s been said that demography is destiny. If true, and if current trends continue, then the future will look very Muslim indeed. According to the respected Pew Research Center, as reported by Christianity Today, between the years 2030 and 2035, for the first time in history, the total number of babies born to Christian mothers will be fewer than those born to Muslim mothers. While the difference may seem relatively small—225 million births for Muslims to 224 million for Christians, it reflects a demographic pivot that, in just 20 years, could change the world.
Globally, Muslims and Christians, in that order, have more babies on average than any other group. “By 2060,” CT notes, “such growth will result in the global population of Christians and Muslims approaching parity—totaling 3.1 billion and 3 billion, respectively—with each tradition accounting for nearly 1 in 3 people on earth. Over the 45-year period, the Christian population is predicted to hold steady at 31 percent [of the world population], while the Muslim population is predicted to rise from 24 percent today to the same level.”
In other words, contrary to what you might have heard, the world is getting more religious, not less. The future belongs to the religious, and the coming Muslim baby boom suggests that the dominant religion—at least by the numbers—will be the one founded by Muhammad.
Of course, prognostications like this are only as good as the assumptions that underlie them. If these predictions of a Muslim future are to come true, current trends will have to continue without interruption.
But the fact is, God specializes in divine interruptions. When Moses was alone in the desert tending sheep, God interrupted him and changed the course of history. When Zechariah entered the Temple to light incense, God interrupted him and set in motion a series of events that led to the coming of the Savior.
And He can do the same kind of thing today when it comes to the Muslim world. In fact, as we’ve often discussed here on BreakPoint, we’re already seeing a disruption in the record number of Muslims becoming Christians around the world—a disruption well-documented by missiologist David Garrison in his book “A Wind in the House of Islam.” Statistically speaking, however, the numbers of Muslim to Christian converts isn’t enough to counteract the Muslim baby boom.
Any further disruption will have to involve ordinary Christian believers, like you and me. Here’s how.
First, Christian couples need to, if possible, have babies. God gives children as a natural expression of the self-giving love between husband and wife. The command to be fruitful and multiply has not been rescinded.
The fact that most Western countries are shrinking demographically at the same time that marriage rates are plummeting is a clear reminder that a Christian worldview of sex, marriage, and babies has been lost amidst a culture-wide addiction to convenience, efficiency, and choice.
And there’s more that Christians can do to respond to the Muslim baby boom. We can join with the Lord, who is actively working even now to bring Muslims to Himself. As Garrison has well-documented, unprecedented movements of Muslims into the Christian faith have occurred over the last 20 years.
One factor behind that is prayer—which is why I love to tell people about how they can join the global prayer movement for Muslims to come to Christ, while learning more about Islam and how to talk with the Muslims around you about Jesus Christ. The 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World happens each year during Ramadan which this year starts near the end of May. Over 100,000 Christians in North America alone pray each year using the 30 Days prayer guide.
Demography is destiny, but we can see that change if we stick to the basics—making babies and sharing the good news.
John Stonestreet is President of The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and BreakPoint co-host.