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The Global Politics of Jesus: Dr. Nilay Saiya

"Dr. Nilay Saiya is associate professor of public policy and global affairs at Nanyang Technological University. He holds research interests in religion and global politics, international security, and American foreign policy. He is author of two books: Weapon of Peace: How Religious Liberty Combats Terrorism (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and The Global Politics of Jesus: A Christian Case for Church-State Separation (Oxford University Press, 2022), the later of which forms the discussion of our podcast conversation.' from video introduction

Proof That Political Privilege Is Harmful for Christianity

by Dr. Nilay Saiya

"Our analysis of 166 nations suggests the biggest threat to Christian vitality is not persecution, affluence, education, or pluralism. It’s state support.

Why is Christianity growing in some countries but declining in others?

For much of the 20th century, social scientists answered this question by appealing to the so-called secularization thesis: the theory that science, technology, and education would result in Christianity’s declining social influence.

More recently, some scholars have suggested the cause is rather the accumulation of wealth. Increasing prosperity, it is believed, frees people from having to look to a higher power to provide for their daily needs. In other words, there is a direct link from affluence to atheism.

In a peer-reviewed study published this month in the journal Sociology of Religion, my coauthor and I challenge the perceived wisdom that education and affluence spell Christianity’s demise.

In our statistical analysis of a global sample of 166 countries from 2010 to 2020, we find that the most important determinant of Christian vitality is the extent to which governments give official support to Christianity through their laws and policies. However, it is not in the way devout believers might expect..." from the article: Proof That Political Privilege Is Harmful for Christianity

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