Saturday, March 26, 2011

Religion on its way to extinction in Austria?

We were shocked to read about a recent study (by the American Physical Society) that religion may become extinct in 9 different countries. The nations on their list? Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, and...Austria. According to an article from BBC news, the group used a mathematical model that takes into account the social and utilitarian reasons that people affiliate themselves with a religion. In these 9 countries, the trends towards people identifying themselves as "non-religious" were pointing towards eventual extinction. According to the article, "In a large number of modern secular democracies, there's been a trend that folk are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion."

Nate and I know that ministry is going to be challenging and slow moving in Austria. This study confirms what we already knew, which is that God, church and spirituality are increasingly considered irrelevant by many Austrians. Our prayer is that our lives and our witness would break through those perceptions, displaying who God is and showing that the gospel is always relevant. Seeing more Austrians come to Christ may not be "statistically probably", but nothing is impossible with God. And we know that any progress we make in Austria will be because of God working and not because of us!