There are several different religions claiming to be the “fastest growing religion”. A religion is a set of Tenets and practices often centered upon specific Supernatural and moral claims about Reality, the Cosmos Such claims vary due to different definitions of “fastest growing”, and whether the claim is worldwide or regional. There are also many unreliable claims and rumours, especially for conversion rates, that often spread as urban legends. Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religious identity or a change from one religious identity to another An urban legend or urban myth is a form of modern Folklore consisting of stories thought to be factual by those circulating them Hard data is difficult to come by.
Different definitions of “fastest growing”
Religions can grow in numbers due to conversion or due to higher birth rates in a religious group (assuming that children take on the religion of their parents). Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religious identity or a change from one religious identity to another Church (disambiguation A religious denomination is a subgroup within a Religion that operates under a common name tradition and identity Religions in particular countries can grow due to immigration. So the fastest growing religion could refer to:
- The religion whose absolute number of adherents is growing the fastest (by whatever means).
- The religion which is growing fastest in terms of percentage growth per year (by whatever means).
- The religion which is gaining the greatest number of converts. Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religious identity or a change from one religious identity to another
Measures counting absolute numbers tend to favour the larger religions; measures counting percentage growth the smaller ones. For example, if a religion had only 10 followers, a single addition would be a 10% increase, and would therefore dwarf the percentage growth rates of the larger religions.
The difficulty of gathering data
Statistics on religious adherence are difficult to gather and often contradictory; statistics for the change of religious adherence are even more so, requiring multiple surveys separated by many years using the same data gathering rules. This has only been achieved in rare cases, and then only for a particular country, such as the American Religious Identification Survey in the USA, or census data from Australia (which has included a voluntary religious question since 1911). Lightmatter Hsi Lai Temple 4jpg|thumb|200px| Hsi Lai Temple (lit Worldwide data is more difficult to gather than data on a particular country.
Statistics for rates of conversion are the most difficult to gather and the least reliable: they are often distorted by social taboos such as the ban on apostasy in Islam, or the reporting of commitments where the individual does not persist. Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religious identity or a change from one religious identity to another This means that a lot of the data on growth of religions is derived from birth and immigration rates.
There are a large number of people who self-identify themselves as associated to a specific religion, but who are not religiously active. If, for example, asked to choose between Christianity and other religions they would say they were Christians; if asked to choose between Christianity, other religions and "Not religious", they would say "Not religious". This may make categorization difficult.
In countries with mandatory religions, official statistics will only reflect the official position of the government. Freedom of religion is the freedom of an individual or community in public or private to manifest religion or belief in teaching practice worship and observance
Claims to be the fastest growing religion
Note that it would be an argumentum ad populum to claim that being the “fastest growing religion” has any logical consequences about the truth of that religion. An argumentum ad populum ( Latin: "appeal to the people" in Logic, is a fallacious argument that concludes a Proposition to be true
Whilst it is possible to find claims that almost any religion is the fastest growing, it is much harder to find ones backed up by scientific data. A selection of the more credible claims are given below, but even these are often contradictory, and most of them only cover a single region of the world.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics through statistical analysis held Buddhism to be the fastest growing spiritual tradition/religion in Australia in terms of percentage gain with a growth of 79. The Australian Bureau of Statistics ( ABS) is Australia 's national statistical agency. Buddhism is a family of beliefs and practices For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics. 1% for the period 1996 to 2001 (200,000→358,000). 
No reliable data is available for the number of adherents of Falun Gong but as this religion was only established in 1992 most of the growth must have been by conversion. Falun Gong ( or Falun Dafa is a spiritual practice founded in China by Li Hongzhi （李洪志） in 1992 Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religious identity or a change from one religious identity to another Estimates for the number of adherents for 1999 range from 2 million to 100 million. 
The Australian claim for Buddhism above has now been superseded by the 2006 census data, which gives the highest percentage gain to Hinduism, with a 193% increase over the 15 years from 1991 to 2006. This is, however, from a small base.  The increase may be due to immigration of Hindus from India.
Data for Islam reveal that the growing number of Muslims is due primarily to immigration (in the West) and higher birth rates (worldwide). For other meanings including people named 'Islam' see Islam (disambiguation. 
- In 2006, countries with a Muslim majority had an average population growth rate of 1. 8% per year (when weighted by percentage Muslim and population size).  This compares with a world population growth rate of 1. 12% per year. 
- According to the "Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life"
|“||Islam is already the fastest-growing religion in Europe. Driven by immigration and high birthrates, the number of Muslims on the continent has tripled in the last 30 years. Most demographers forecast a similar or even higher rate of growth in the coming decades. ||”|
- According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the World Christian Database as of 2007 estimated the six fastest growing religions of the world to be Islam (1. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a formally private nonprofit organization in practice closely associated with the United States Department of State, For other meanings including people named 'Islam' see Islam (disambiguation. 84%), the Bahá'í Faith (1. The Bahá'í Faith is a Religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in nineteenth-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind 7%), Sikhism (1. Sikhism ( IPA: or; ਸਿੱਖੀ sikkhī, IPA:) founded on the teachings of Nanak and nine successive gurus in fifteenth century 62%), Jainism (1. Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma / Shraman Dharma (जैन धर्म is an ancient religion of India. 57%), Hinduism (1. Hinduism is a religious tradition that originated in the Indian subcontinent. 52%), and Christianity (1. Christianity ( Greek Χριστιανισμός from the word Xριστός ( Christ)is a monotheistic Religion centered on the life and teachings 32%). High birth rates were cited as the reason for the growth. 
- Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiles the Vatican's yearbook, said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that "For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us," He said that Catholics accounted for 17. Monsignor, pl monsignori is the form of address for those members of the Clergy of the Catholic Church holding certain Ecclesiastical L'Osservatore Romano ( English: The Roman Observer) is the "semi-official" Newspaper of the Holy See. 4 percent of the world population -- a stable percentage -- while Muslims were at 19. 2 percent. "It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer," the monsignor said. 
- The American Religious Identification Survey gives Wicca an average annual growth of 143% / 11,454 for the period 1990 to 2001 (8,000→134,000 - U. S. data / similar for Canada & Australia). 
- The American Religious Identification Survey gave Non-Religious groups the largest gain in terms of absolute numbers - 14,300,000 (8. Irreligion is a lack of religion indifference to religion or hostility to religion 4% of the population) to 29,400,000 (14. 1% of the population) for the period 1990 to 2001 in the USA. Year 1990 ( MCMXC) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar) Year 2001 ( MMI) was a Common year starting on Monday according to the Gregorian calendar. 
- In Australia, census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics gives "no religion" the largest gains in absolute numbers over the 15 years from 1991 to 2006. from 2,948,888 (18. 2% of the population that answered the question) to 3,706,555 (21. 0% of the population that answered the question). 
- ^ a b c American Religious Identification Survey, Key Findings The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
- ^ 2006 Census Tables : Australia. An argumentum ad populum ( Latin: "appeal to the people" in Logic, is a fallacious argument that concludes a Proposition to be true The world's principal Religions and spiritual traditions may be classified into a small number of major groups or world religions'. The world's principal Religions and spiritual traditions may be classified into a small number of major groups or world religions'.
- ^ Year Book Australia, 2003 Australian Bureau of Statistics
- ^ GROWTH RATE OF CHRISTIANITY & ISLAM Which will be the dominant religion in the future?.
- ^ Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 2005 - Vietnam. U. S. Department of State (2005-06-30). Year 2005 ( MMV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Events 350 - Roman usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantinian dynasty, is defeated and killed by troops of the Usurper Retrieved on 2007-03-11. Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. Events 1425 BC - Thutmose III, Pharaoh of Egypt, dies (according to the Low Chronology of the 18th Dynasty
- ^ Falun Gong Is a Cult Embassy of the People's Republic of China
- ^ Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about Falun Gong Falun Dafa Clearwisdom. net
- ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 census Religious Affiliation by Age - Time Series Statistics
- ^ BBC news site
- ^ Averaging of individual country figures from CIA factbook see also Demographics of Islam
- ^ CIA Factbook
- ^ The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
- ^ Staff. The following table analyzes the Demographics of Islam as of mid-year 2005 "The List: The World’s Fastest-Growing Religions", Foreign Policy, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 2007. Foreign Policy is a bimonthly American Magazine founded in 1970 by Samuel P The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a formally private nonprofit organization in practice closely associated with the United States Department of State,
- ^ FOXNews.com - Vatican: Islam Surpasses Roman Catholicism as World's Largest Religion - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News
- ^ a b American Religious Identification Survey, Full PDF Document The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
- ^ census data
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