February 24, 2005

CAN TOM TANCREDO EVEN FIND TIMBUKTU OH A MAP?

Heart of Christianity shifts from Europe - to Timbuktu (John Hooper, February 23, 2005, The Guardian)

Down the centuries, sages and saints have wrangled over whether the centre of Christianity is in Rome or Constantinople, Nazareth or Jerusalem. Until yesterday, no one mentioned Timbuktu.

Yet according to the results of an American research project, the geographical "centre of gravity" of Christendom lies near the historic trading city of mainly Muslim Mali. And by the end of the century, it could be in Nigeria.

The shift away from Europe reflects the zeal of missionary work in Africa over recent decades and is evidence of how Christianity has become predominantly a religion of the developing world, according to the report by the Study of Global Christianity.

Using historical data, it plotted the shifting trends of the religion over the past two millennia.

Starting in Jerusalem, the centre of gravity for Christianity moved to Constantinople - now Istanbul. The Christianisation of Europe thereafter meant that Budapest was its centre by 1500, though the colonisation of the Americas pulled it across Europe to Madrid by 1900. Since 1982, however, Christianity's centre has moved relentlessly south.

"The slope we're on now is steeper than at any other time in Christian history," Todd Johnson, the study's author, told Reuters news agency. "It's really a massive shift."

He added: "Timbuktu used to be considered the middle of nowhere."

Growing awareness of that shift in the Roman Catholic church, the biggest Christian denomination, has prompted speculation that the next pope could be from Latin America, Africa or Asia.


Which is why Atlanticists are living in a past that, like Europe, no longer matters to America.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 24, 2005 5:53 PM
Comments

Midwest Conservative Journal is openly speculating on how in the not too distant future, the shape of dioceses in North American will be decided in Africa.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 24, 2005 7:41 PM

One of the more eye opening books I have read in the last few years is "The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity" by Philip Jenkins. This is another grossly under reported big story.

Posted by: Dan at February 24, 2005 10:05 PM
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