General Question

MilkyWay's avatar

Is Islam really the fastest growing religion in the United States?

Asked by MilkyWay (13723points) May 26th, 2011

I’m not sure if this is true or not. If anyone has any information on this it will be much appreciated. If so, why do you think this is?

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48 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
JLeslie's avatar

If it is true I think it is probably because there are so few numbers, that the growth rate is easily a big percentage relative to other religions. The Muslims prosthelityze. The are immigrating here. I know many black people who are Muslim, I think there is a still an active movement in the black community especially to convert. They tend to have a lot of children in some Muslim countries, but I have no idea in America, I am assuming it is not true in America so I will leave that reason out for now.

To explain the math, if there are 6 million Muslims today in America, which is one of the higher estimates I think, and they gain 1 million members in a year, the growth is 16.6%. If there are 200Million Christians, and they gain 10million in one year, they have a 5% growth. But, in this example Christianity actually gained 9 million more members than the Muslims.

Plucky's avatar

Interesting Wiki article on the matter.

JLeslie's avatar

I forgot to add that I had thought Islam was one of the fastest growing in the world, not the US. I thought Buddhism was really growing in the US, or some other eastern religion.

ETpro's avatar

Yes, according to the ARIS Survey findings. But that metric paints a false picture. It’s the fastest growing over the past 20 years, but it was a very small precentage of all people in the US i20 years ago, and is still a tiny fraction of the total population today.

ARIS looked at the religious demographics of the USA in 1990 and again in 2008. Christian denominations were down 10.2% as a total of the population. Muslims grew by 0.3% of the population. My religion (None, grew the most, gaining 6.8% share of the population.

The Muslim faith grew the fastest of any religious group, gaining 165% over the period studied. But it had started off as such a small sectoir in 1990 that only 420 people out of 113,723people surveyed in 1990.

Plucky's avatar

I was under the same assumption as @JLeslie. Islam fastest growing in the world. Buddhism fastest growing in the USA.

JLeslie's avatar

@PluckyDog Interesting on your link they looked at the non-religious also for growth rates.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Important things to consider:

- Islam Loooooves to claim it’s the fastest growing religion, as do other religions.

- We are seeing “the rise of atheism” in the US recently, with christianity as established as it can possibly be, rising amounts of atheists could very well by default give the title of fastest growing religion to Islam.

- Immigration, birth/death rates, and other such factors could be boosting the numbers. Fastest growing does not imply conversion rates only.

- Most important of all: The vast majority of data on religion is utterly worthless and unreliable.

I am an atheist, but when I was born my mother took me to have my head made wet by a man in a building, and because of this, I bet you anything you want, that at least once in my life time, my name has contributed to the numbers of a religion in at least one survey.

They count new born babies as members, in some cases they even count dead people. Also, if you convert from Catholic to Muslim or viceversa, there is a very good chance that your old religion will keep counting you as a memeber.

You just can’t do reliable book keeping for everyones religion when there are 6.2 billion people on the planet, all divided by countries, moving around, dropping dead and being born all the time.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro It looks like your link does not include Catholics as Christians. Did you read it the same?

JLeslie's avatar

@poisonedantidote I think the Christians would want to claim it also. Gets their people nervous and out their converting people. I think there is an active effort for Christians to get to the African countries before the Muslims do.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@JLeslie A very good point indeed.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
JLeslie's avatar

@poisonedantidote I do wonder who is saying it in America? Who is spreading that info?

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie They break Catholics out indented under Christians as they do other major demographic groups.

jerv's avatar

Most of the numbers (at least those from reliable sources) I’ve seen claim otherwise.

@JLeslie Most people I have heard claiming Islam is growing rapidly are pretty far to the Right, often the same crowd who believes that Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate is a forgery and this is the real one.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv I see. So my theory was right. I do feel there is a percentage of American Christians who are just short of holy war mode.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv Islam is the fastest growing religion in the USA by percentage in the last 20 years. But it still makes up a miniscule part of the US population. The fear of Sharia Law is absurd. We are at far gerater risk of being killed by a meteorite as we walk down the street than we are of being turned into an Islamic caliphate.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro You know the old saying; “Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics”. You can spin the numbers to say that it is true, is false, or is in some Schrödinger-esque state that renders truth and falsehood moot. So this question basically boils down to which standards we measure “fastest growing” by.

As for the other statement, there are some people for whom truth is irrelevant since they will believe what they want to regardless of things like facts or reality :/

ETpro's avatar

@jerv Indeed. On both points.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

“We are at far gerater risk of being killed by a meteorite as we walk down the street than we are of being turned into an Islamic caliphate.”

Or to put it another way, you’d have a greater chance of being hit by an airplane while sitting in your office.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk That’s a completely different issue and you know it. I most certainly didn’t say we are at no riskk of terrorism. But I am not falling for the right-wing demagoguery that all Muslims are terrorists either. We don’t need a final solution to he “Muslim problem” here in America.

jerv's avatar

My eyes just rolled back so far that I can see my own brain!

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

Merely trying to point out that the odds are against both cases (astronomically), yet they happen. No need to go into an anti-Republican rant.

WasCy's avatar

Since when has an excuse ever been necessary, @Jaxk?

jerv's avatar

@WasCy Since digs like that are considered okay as long as they come from the Right while any indication that the Conservative point of view is less than 1,000% correct is met with consternation, condemnation, and just plain bad vibes. In this case, there was NO need to go there, but @Jaxk did anyways, just to spread a little rhetoric.

Okay, can we not go out like this? While I like a partisan pissing contest as much as the next guy, I just don’t think this is the time or place for one.

JLeslie's avatar

@queenie Where had you heard it? Was it Fox news, some right leaning email, or a right leaning friend? Or, just something casually mentioned?

WasCy's avatar

Are you the least bit serious, @jerv? The digs at the right are endemic here. The occasional counter-punches from @Jaxk and a very few others are grains of sand in an ocean of anti-conservative sentiment. Not that I’m ‘right wing’, by any means, but I do enjoy the thoughtful and very occasional counter-punches.

It’s funny that you had not a peep to say about the sentiment about “right wing demagoguery”. But a supporting comment to an opposition remark all of a sudden makes this “a partisan pissing contest”. Your glasses have interesting filters.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Leaving all nuance and symantics aside… Let’s just say belief in ‘A’ (monotheistic) God is the fastest growing religion in the world…
—and all go on our merry (peaceful) way. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@Bagardbilla That sounds good regarding accepting Muslims by Christians, but it does nothing for Eastern religions, atheists, and others. How about we just accept religion is very personal, we want everyone to coexist.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

I know my sense of humor is rather dry but I thought the link I posted might lighten this up. And to be clear, the conservative view is not 1,000% correct it is only 100% correct :)

The world didn’t end on May 21st (I thought that one was a sure thing) so every day since is gravy. The next apocalypse isn’t due until next year. Plenty of time for partisan wrangling between now and then. This question is about the decline of Christianity, a sure sign the apocalypse is coming. Eat, drink, and be merry, for next year we all surely will die.

WasCy's avatar

@Jaxk

I liked the previous response without even having looked at the link. I’m glad for this nudge to ‘take a look at it’. Delightful. Thanks much.

ETpro's avatar

@WasCy & @Jaxk Ha!. Thanks for the nudge. I hadn’t looked either, and that is hilarious. Stuff does happen.

@Bagardbilla Actually Eastern Religions (primarily Buddhism) are growing in the US alsomst as rapidly as Islam, and represent a much larger percentage of the total US population than does Islam. And worldwide, the fastest growing trend is no religion. It is substantially outpacing the growth of any theistic belief. Islam is the world’s fastest growing theistic religion according to the linked article.

jerv's avatar

@WasCy If this were in Social or already off the rails, I would’ve kept my mouth shut.

@Jaxk Is it a logical fallacy to assume that a group that has a long history of inaccurate statements is probably wrong about Islam being the fastest growing religion as well? Especially in light of the fact that most reliable sources indicate that @ETpro is correct that lack of religion is growing faster?

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

Sorry, I honestly don’t know what your talking about. What group is that?

It seems rather obvious that during the middle ages, Christianity had the fervor. So much so that they wanted to convert the world. And so intense that if you wouldn’t convert, killing you was an option. Not everyone but enough to have an impact on history. Today Islam has that fervor. Enough so that killing non believers is an option. Again not everyone but enough to have an impact on history. It’s not surprising that those with that kind of passion that intensity, would have an impact on the growth of a religion.

If the comments on Fluther are any indication the atheists have a fair amount of passion as well. Not to the killing point but pretty intense nonetheless. It would seem this incredible passion is what drives the growth. IMHO

Bagardbilla's avatar

@JLeslie I like that even better! :)
why can’t we just Lurve one another?

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk I’ve been away from the computer all afternoon, but it bothered me that I reacted to your post yesterday without first reading the link, which put your meaning in an entirely different light. I apologize for my acerbic response. It was late. I was tired and perhaps overly cranky. My bad.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

No problem. We all respond to our gut reaction some times. And even I, can be acerbic at times :)

MilkyWay's avatar

Lol! I know it’s probably not a laughing matter, but reading some of your responses I can’t help but smile. Thank you for answering :)
@JLeslie I’m not sure where I heard it the first time, probably some dodgy TV channel.

syed_shaji's avatar

Assalamualaikum (may peace be on u)

Yes. And surprisingly for the critics who constantly say that Islam degrades women, statistics shows that among those who revert to Islam most of them are women.
Why I am mentioning all this is to give an Idea that Islam doesn’t suppress women but uplifts them.
Now I request every one please don’t go through any websites or youtubes to know what Islam is , but rather go through the Holy book i.e.,the Quran.

Peace.

ETpro's avatar

No, @syed_shaji, not even close. Islam is #9 in growth rate of US religions, behind even us Atheists and nones. The fastest growing religion in the us is Deism.

syed_shaji's avatar

Assalamualikum (peace be on u).

@ETpro Brother Let me clarify that Wiki-Islam is anti Islam (If not all then most of it is.)

I can give various other websites that tell us Islam was and is the fastest growing religion in US…

Fastest growing religiion in America

Fastest growing religion in USA

Please have a look at it brother.

Salaam (Peace).

JLeslie's avatar

@syed_shaji Growth numbers always look huge when you are dealing with little numbers. You can’t really focus on percentages too much when one religion has 2–6 million and another has 200 million.

ETpro's avatar

@syed_shaji The data presented on that Wiki was from the US Census Bureau.

http://endoftheamericandream.com/ and http://www.prisonplanet.com/ are both far right-wing propaganda websites that scream about things they hope will terrify right-wing fundamentalist Christians into spending money funding them. Michael Snyder is trying to sell his book about how Obama’s going to cause the financial collapse of the global economy and how to prepare for the Apocalypse. Alex Jones is behind PrisonPlanet and he is right up there with Rush Limbaugh in vileness. Listen to him by going to the link you supplied and clicking Alex Jones Radio Show and Listen Now.

I don’t dispute that Islam is growing faster in percentages than Christianity. But in raw numbers, which, as @JLeslie pointed out, is what counts; Islam is a minor religion in the USA. 77% of America’s 308 million people self identify as Christians. That’s 237,160,000 people. A 5% growth rate of that population equals 11,858,000 people. Islam gained 1.600,000 0r less than 10% of the number of new Christians. People with an agenda tend to use accurate numbers in deliberately inaccurate ways.

syed_shaji's avatar

Assalamualaiklum.

@ETpro @JLeslie

Just took a look on some of the websites and found out that Islam was fastest growing religion in the US based on percentage and not in numbers. But also I doubt whether Christianity has increased because I saw here that the percentage of Christians have declined. Your thoughts please.

Salaam.

JLeslie's avatar

@syed_shaji Less Christian because a percentage of people are moving away from religion. The Muslim religion is growing partly because of immigration. We have Christians immigrate here too, but again since the Muslim faith has so few people the percentage increases look big. I have seen stats that say there are 6 million Muslims in America. Maybe the 2 million is looking only at Muslims who attend mosques? For whatever reason it is difficult to get a specific number.

It doesn’t matter what religion people are in America, it only matters that they understand this is a secular country with freedom of religion. America was founded on religious freedom and we are all expected to live in harmony here.

The percentage of Muslims around the world is huge. Something like 25% of the world’s population is Muslim. I think about 30% are Christian. It isn’t like the Muslim religion is hurting for numbers. Why is it important how many are in America?

ETpro's avatar

@syed_shaji Unfortunately, the portion of the Christian faith growing very rapidly are the Pentecostal and Fundamentalist sects. The mainstream denominations indeed are losing members to my group, no religious faith. Pentecostalism is one of the fastest growing religious groups in the world, in percentages. This is disturbing when you realize that many among this fundamentalist belief system are actively working to bring on a nuclear war in Jerusalem because they think that when this happens Jesus will return, catch them up in the clouds and whisk them off to heaven.

syed_shaji's avatar

Assalamualaikum.

@JLeslie Since the Question itself was on Growth of Islam in America thats why we were talking about numbers I guess.

Nevertheless thanks for the reply.I appreciate the effort.

Salaam (peace).

syed_shaji's avatar

Assalamualaikum.

@ETpro Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the effort.

Salaam.

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