Second Fastest Growing Religion

Currently there is an interesting discussion on Talisman about the nature and evolution of the Baha’i community and identity. Among the things being talked about is the size of the Baha’i community in the US.

Apparently, according to the numbers from the NSA of the United States, we are seeing a stagnant community. And if taken relative to the growing population of the host country, one that is slowly becoming smaller.

But to my surprise, according to the World Christian Database, at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, the Baha’i Faith is the second fastest growing religion in the world:

second-fastest-religion-bahai-foreign-policy-article

The methodology isn’t clear but it seems that they are citing the Baha’i communities in the developing world, especially India for that achievement.

This is a contentious issue because Indians have very malleable religious identities. Many are Baha’is as well as their original faith tradition (whatever it may be among the thousands available in India).

As well, according to the 1991 government census, the Indian Baha’i community numbers approximately 5,500 believers – that is people who identified themselves as such – instead of 1.8 million as cited in the article.

Of course, it is possible that in the interim years the community grew, but from 5,000 to 1.8 million? Either the census is inaccurate or the current numbers are (or both).

One thing which I don’t quite understand is this, if we assume the 1.8 million number to be correct then the Indian Baha’i community comprises a huge portion of the total. According to the World Christian Database, almost 25%!

So where are they? where is their influence? where and how are they represented in the worldwide community?

As I look across the membership of the International Teaching Center, the Universal House of Justice, the Counsellors, etc… I don’t see a proportional representation of Indian Baha’is.

And if you think this post is another April Fool’s prank, well, there’s no hope for you 😉

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  • AmadodeDios

    Any such estimates are questionable. Some drastic reductions in numbers would actually be good news. For example, if we used to “elect LSAs” by meeting with a handful of docile locals, doing the paperwork for them, and having an appropriately termed “paper Assembly”, a drop from 200 such LSAs to zero could actually mean we are telling the truth from now on…
    What interests me is, even if numbers are dwindling / getting real, that there still seems to be enough money to run the Haifa facilities, hold all those conferences to push the Ruhi system, etc.

  • http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Fastest_Growing_Religion

    Rank
    Name
    Change

    1
    Deity (Deist)
    +717%

    2
    Sikhism
    +338%

    3
    New Age
    +240%

    4
    Hinduism
    +237%

    5
    Baha’i
    +200%

    6
    Buddhism
    +170%

    7
    Native American Religion
    +119%

    8
    Nonreligious/Secular
    +110%

    9
    Islam
    +109%

    10
    Taoist
    +74%

    11
    Humanist
    +69%

    12
    Eckankar
    +44%

    13
    Unitarian Universalist
    +25%

    14
    Scientology
    +22%

    15
    Christianity
    +5%

    16
    Judaism
    -10%

    17
    Agnostic
    -16%
     
    5 Baha’i

    9 Islam

    The actual sttats when numbered aren’t in line with the Islam claim of being 1 (Deism), or Bahai being 2 (Sikhism).