Now more than ever, we need to see the world clearly.
But, now more than ever, American news media are pulling back resources from reporting around our world. In a time when we have all the tools to observe every corner of our global family, these powerful new tools are pointed in all the wrong directions, it seems.
We should be hearing the voices and stories of men and women around the world. Instead, there is too much media static showering down around us.
You know the problem: It’s far easier to find embarrassing photos of Britney Spears than it is to find the brave stories of Buddhist monks who risked their lives to push for freedom and justice in the streets of Myanmar.
That’s why “The Atlas of Religion” by Joanne O’Brien and Martin Palmer is so important. They have sorted through oceans of data, searching for the most up-to-date and authoritative sources, and they’ve distilled the global importance of religion into dozens of colorful maps and commentaries.
To buy a copy of their book for yourself, or to consider using it with a discussion group or class, click on the title or the book cover and you’ll jump to our bookstore, where you can read more about the book and buy a copy, if you wish.
Much of the information in this book may seem like a revelation. Remember that, if you have trouble with geography — say, trying to figure out major locations in the Muslim world or to chart growth areas of Catholicism around the world — you’re not alone.
Each year, national polls show that most Americans don’t know much about the shape of the world beyond our borders.
So, let’s have a little fun with this data — and perhaps we’ll learn a little bit along the way today. All 10 questions today are based on information presented in O’Brien’s and Palmer’s superb new book.
Here are the rules: Try to answer all 10 — then, click on the link at the
end — and the correct answers will pop up. If you’re a daily subscriber by
Email (you can sign up for free on the right-hand side of our site),
we’re sorry that you don’t get this Click-to-See-the-Answers feature in
your Email versions — so, please don’t read too far ahead today, if
you’re an email reader.
1.) Which country is the home of the world’s largest number of Muslims?
Choices: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesia, Iraq.
2.) We know that church attendance is very low in Europe now and that countries like Russia and China have experienced decades of anti-religious regimes. As of 2005, what percent of the world’s people tell pollsters that they are agnostics or atheists?
Choices: 14 percent, 27 percent, 38 percent, 52 percent.
3.) Which of these four countries has the highest percentage of Christians among its residents?
Choices: Nigeria, Indonesia, Angola, Egypt.
4.) A worldwide shortage of Catholic priests is reshaping the culture of the world’s largest Christian denomination. But, right now, which countries have the highest numbers of Catholic priests? Rank these five countries in order, highest to lowest, by their total number of Catholic priests?
Choices: Mexico, U.S., Italy, Poland, Brazil.
5.) Some countries still require their monarchs to adhere to a specific faith. Which faiths are required of monarchs in these countries:
Choices: Norway, UK, Jordan, Thailand
6.) The world’s 2 billion Christians donate about $300 billion a year to charitable causes, but which Christian branch has the most financial resources? Rank these churches by the average income of their members around the world?
Choices: Catholic Church, Protestant Churches, Orthodox Churches, Anglican Churches.
7.) The U.S. sends more Christian missionaries beyond our borders than any other country in the world — something that most of us correctly assume is true, right? But what we don’t know is where all these globe-hobbing missionaries are landing. At this point, which of these countries is the world’s biggest IMPORTER of missionaries?
Choices: U.S., Brazil, Russia, India.
8.) The Bible remains the world’s all-time best seller, although popularly published lists of best sellers exclude Bibles to give other books a shot at the No. 1 slot. As of 2005, how many new copies of the Bible were distributed around the world in various editions (complete Bibles, Testaments, audio Bibles, etc.)?
Choices: 11 million, 26 million, 41 million, 72 million.
9.) Billions of people around the world get religious messages from radio and TV. We know that U.S. radio and TV stations collectively are the biggest Christian broadcasters in the world. The widest-reaching religious voice in broadcasting globally is Christian, followed by Islamic broadcasts. None of that is surprising. But — collectively, who has the third widest-reaching broadcast voice?
Choices: Buddhists, Bahai’s, Hindus, Jains.
10.) News media regularly report on the growth of Islam, but Christianity is growing in many parts of the world, as well. Between now and 2025, which of these four countries does the “Atlas” predict will have the biggest growth in Protestant churches?
Choices: Turkey, Canada, Australia, Brazil.
INTRIGUED? Well, click on the “Atlas” cover above and consider grabbing a copy of the book. These 10 questions are just a tiny sampling to whet your appetite for the fascinating facts in this new book.
When you think you’ve got all 10 answers, CLICK on the link below in the online version of this
quiz, and the ANSWERS will pop up!
Ready? CLICK for the ANSWERS below …
HERE are THE ANSWERS:
1.) Indonesia is home to nearly 200 million Muslims, the largest population in any country on Earth.
2.) 14 percent total. Despite all the oppression of religion in the 20th Century and lack of church attendance in Europe, faith remains hugely important around the world. Only 12 percent of people describe themselves as agnostic or having no religious beliefs. Only 2 percent identify themselves as atheist.
3.) As of 2006, Angola is 90 percent Christian. The other three countries’ populations are between 10 and 50 percent Christian.
4.) Italy has the most Catholic priests — and the other four countries rank in this order: U.S., Poland, Brazil, Mexico.
5.) Norway: Christianity. UK: Christianity. Jordan: Islam. Thailand: Buddhism.
6.) The question listed them in the correct order: Catholic Church, Protestant Churches, Orthodox Churches, Anglican Churches.
7.) Believe it or not, the U.S. imports more missionaries than any other country! We welcomed 33,000 missionaries as of 2005, the most recent data available for the “Atlas.”
8.) It was 72 million copies in 2005 alone.
9.) Buddhists, who place a high value in broadcasting their messages from many countries around the world.
10.) Among those four countries, the answer is: Brazil. The “Atlas” shows a significant growth in Protestant churches by 2025 stretching from Mexico through Latin America, Colombia and into Brazil.
How’d you do?
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AND: Especially if you enjoyed our theme today —
COME BACK TOMORROW for our Conversation With photographer Martin Gray on his decades-long quest to photograph the Earth’s sacred places. He’s close to completing his enormously challenging quest — and has published a new book so that you and I can sit back and dream about the places we’d love to travel for inspiration and enlightenment.