From CBN News
A recent study from The Pew Research Center predicts that Islam will eclipse Christianity as the world's most dominant religion.
Christianity currently ranks as the world's largest religion, making up one third of the population.
New research suggests that Christianity's dominance may come to an end before the century is over.
Pew Director of Religion Research Alan Cooperman reported in an interview with NPR that the Muslim population is growing exponentially larger than the Christian population.
"Christianity had a seven-century head start on Islam, and Islam is finally catching up," Cooperman said.
He explained that Islam's high growth rate is directly correlated with the Muslim population's high fertility rate.
The Pew Research study reveals that between 2010 and 2050, the world's total population is expected to rise to 9.3 billion, which is a 35 percent increase.
Over that same period, Muslims, a comparatively youthful population with high fertility rates, are projected to increase by 73 percent.
That means by 2050 the number of Muslims in the world will almost equal the number of Christians, and by 2070 Muslims will outnumber Christians.
Southern Evangelical Seminary President Dr. Richard Land told Charisma News that another reason for the large growth in Islam "is partly due to Muslim families sharing their faith with their children."
He added that Islam's imminent rise is not so certain after all, and points to young Muslim women as the reason why.
"These young families may not grow and increase at the rate many think, especially as young Muslim women have more opportunities and may choose not to have as many children," Land explained.
The Pew study reports that Christianity will rise more slowly than Islam. However, the evangelical leader said that Christianity is exploding under persecution.
Land reported that "Christianity is growing rapidly in China, the world's most populous country with 1.3 billion people."
Cooperman also is cautious about soon declaring Islam the most dominant world religion.
"We're not saying that this will happen; it's true if current patterns and trends continue," Cooperman said. "We do not know what's going to happen in the future."
"There could be war, revolution, famine, disease. These are things no one can predict and that could change the numbers," he concluded.