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This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

Religious adherence cannot be calculated in terms of individual belief. People do not switch between theologies in the way Christians tend to assume. Also, you cannot take a census of the whole world. Nevertheless, beginning in the 19th century many people began to concoct religious statistics out of pure guesswork.

Here's a graph showing guessed religious populations across the whole world, in millions over the 19th century:

Image:Religion stats in 19th c.PNG

Notice the following:

Sources? I had a lot of them. Most are in the page history. Many came from Catholic Encyclopedia 1912, J.S. Sondermann "Tabellarische uebersicht uber die protestantischen Missionare" (1845), etc.

Now, here's the grand finale: the ratio of Christians to Buddhists as guessed over 100 years. See if you can figure out when it was decided that Buddhism is not a threat to Christianity.

Image:Ratio christians to buddhists.PNG

"Do you not think that there are some people in the world who care little for life? The great host of Buddhists, who are probably the largest religious community on earth, look upon life as the greatest misfortune, and upon death as a blessed release."
J. H. Twells. The Mills of the Gods. Philadelphia, 1875.
It is categorically stated in a newspaper report of a quite recent lecture, that out of the world's population of about 1500 millions at least 500 millions are Buddhists, and that Buddhism numbers more adherents than any other religion on the surface of the globe. Almost every European writer on Buddhism, of late years, has assisted in giving currency to this utterly erroneous calculation, and it is high time that an attempt should be made to dissipate a serious misconception. It is forgotten that mere sympathizers with Buddhism, who occasionally conform to Buddhistic practices, are not true Buddhists. In China the great majority are first of all Confucianists and then either Taoists or Buddhists or both. In Japan Confucianism and Shintoism co-exist with Buddhism. In some other Buddhist countries a kind of Shamanism is practically dominant. The best authorities (including the Oxford Professor of Chinese, as stated in the Introduction to his excellent work 'The Travels of Fa-hien') are of opinion that there are not more than 100 millions of real Buddhists in the world, and that Christianity with its 430 to 450 millions of adherents has now the nu- merical preponderance over all other religions. I am entirely of the same opinion. I hold that the Buddhism, described in the following pages, contained within itself, from the earliest times, the germs of disease, decay, and death ... and that its present condition is one of rapidly increasing disintegration and decline. [1]

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