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Christianity remains numerically probably the largest world religion, with Islam close behind. About a third of the population of the world was Christian in the 1990s, and the majority of the non-Christian population knew of Christianity or had some opportunity of contact with it. The largest number of Christians resided in Latin America, with Europe second and Africa third, then North America, then South Asia. Postcolonialism and globalization pose major challenges as to how far the faith can absorb local culture without itself being essentially changed. But paradoxically the loss of heritage makes for conservatism. The fastest-growing Christian community is in Africa, where the intellectual history of the patristic and medieval West is often unfamiliar. Conservative fundamentalism is making the ordination of homosexuals as priests and bishops in the West a church-dividing matter in parts of Africa. The altered balance of the Christian populations worldwide has begun to throw into question the continuance of an intellectual tradition now culturally remote from many Christians while it continues to privilege the Bible as the foundation text and ultimate authority.


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G. R. Evans

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Chimaeras to ClusterChristianity - Overview - Christianity And Secular Thought, Division, Ecumenism, Christianity And Modern Thought, Christianity And Secular Politics