By Credo Quia Absurdum
It turns out that there are not as many as you might think – or at least not as many as Wikipedia thinks.
In this presentation by Jeff Gileneau, which the ”Bible Truth Prophecy Video Vault” have generously shared with the world on YouTube we learn that there are probably only about 48,000 in the entire world.
For a Christadelphian YouTube presentation it is unexpectedly interesting and informative – with some surprisingly honest assessments of the decline of the numbers of Christadelphians in the developed world.
Gileneau seems to be a Texan, and he reckons that there are just 4,500 CDs in the USA – or 14 per million of the population – and only 6,600 in the USA and Canada combined.
The UK apparently peaked at over 20,000 about 80 years ago but is now down to just 7,900 and Gileneau’s somewhat shocking assessment is that “every one of them is old”. I’m pretty sure that is not quite true, but I would probably accept his assessment that the community in the UK has a net loss of around 100 per year – at that rate they’ll all be gone by the end of the current century.
In Australia and New Zealand they are apparently growing well – because “they all have six kids” – and the current number of 7,800 will soon overtake the UK. Apparently the community in the UK will be pretty cheesed off at this – they don’t like to lose to the Australians!
In the developing world there are communities numbering a few hundred in various
countries – I was slightly surprised that there are apparently only 1800 in India – a country with a population of nearly 1.3 Billion, where the Bible Mission has been active for many years.
Africa is the place where there is some growth, with apparently around 18,000 across the continent.
Malawi is highlighted as a hotbed of Christadelphianism – with 9,000 from a population of just 15 million it wins that prize for the most CDs per head of population in any county of the world: 600 per million. 20% of all Christadelphians live in Malawi.
And apparently not one of them has a car! If you are doing well you might have a bicycle.
Why are Christadelphians doing so well in Malawi? Could it be related to the fact that it is amongst the least developed of all nations - 174th out of 187 countries listed on the United Nations Human Development Index? It has a high infant mortality rate. Average life expectancy at birth is around 50. Nearly 12% of the population live with HIV. With such miserable conditions and with 68% of the population identifying as Christian it is no surprise that it is fertile ground for the Christadelphian promise of a better life to come!
Unfortunately Gileneau does not cite any sources for his numbers, and they are almost all less than the numbers quoted on Wikipedia. It is likely that his numbers are closer to the real situation though, because some of the Wikipedia sources are cited and are up to 11 years out of date.
As I reflected in a comment on the “American Christianity in Sharp Decline” post, religion thrives where access to knowledge is restricted. It also thrives when living conditions are poor. I suspect that Christadelphians will continue to decline in the western world, but may for a time thrive in the less developed nations. However, as those nations become more developed and access to knowledge increases it is likely that there too people will see the light of science and reason and abandon the false hope that Christadelphians peddle.