4 Out of 10 Nations Favor a Specific Religion or Religions

Religion Around the WorldEarlier this month the Pew Research Center published  the results of their analysis of  their study of 199 countries and territories around the world.  They found that more than 40% of these countries or territories (83 of 199), “favor a specific religion, either as an official, government-endorsed religion or by affording one religion preferential treatment over other faiths.”

Government-Endorsed Religion

Only four religions have been granted the status of government-endorsed religion in the countries and territories included in the analysis. Listed from most common to least common these religions are

  • Islam: 27 countries or territories
  • Christianity: 13 countries or territories
  • Buddhism: 2 countries
  • Judaism: 1 country

Government-Favored Religion

Only two religions have been granted the status of government-favored religion in the countries and territories included in the analysis. Listed from most common to least common these religions are

  • Christianity: 28 countries or territories
  • Buddhism: 4 countries

Notably, however, some countries or territories have policies that favor more than one religion.

So What?

The Pew findings show that as of 2015:

  • Government-Endorsed Religion: 43 countries or territories (22%)
  • Government-Favored Religion: 40 countries or territories (20%)
  • No Official or Preferred Religion: 106 countries or territories (53%)
  • Hostile to Religion: 10 countries or territories (5%)

Religion plays a significant role in the world today.  Those interested in traveling, doing business, or simply relating beyond one’s country of origin benefit not only from an awareness of the status of a given country’s formal religious view, but also from religious literacy more generally.

  • How has the government view of religion in a specific country impacted you? Share one example.
  • On a macro level, what are your top concerns knowing that a slight majority of countries have no official or preferred religion while many (over 40%) favor one or more religion, and small number (5%) are hostile to religion?

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