By Sarah HaysomThe religious world has been left stunned after the publication of a study claiming to show that Christianity is the most popular religion in the world.
The study, which was commissioned by the Oxford Centre for Religion, Politics and Public Life (OCRP), has received widespread attention from media outlets around the world, including The Guardian, The New York Times, and BBC World News.
Its publication has been greeted with derision by critics who point out the study’s methodology.
The survey found that over half of people who answered a survey about their religious beliefs said they were “very religious” and “not religious at all”.
It also found that nearly half of respondents identified as Christians, with another two thirds saying they had no religious affiliation at all.
In the US, the Christian Coalition, which campaigns against anti-Christian discrimination, issued a statement in response to the study.
It said:”While the study is a significant advance in understanding the relationship between religious beliefs and support for the right to practice their faith, the data do not accurately reflect the religious beliefs of those surveyed.
The study failed to account for the ways in which religious beliefs can be influenced by societal contexts and the impact of social stigma.”
While the survey was conducted online, the results of the survey are based on phone interviews with an online sample of 3,500 adults in the United States.
“In light of the findings, we call on OCPP to retract the study and to do more to improve the data collection process,” said Christian Coalition president Andrew Segal.
The Christian Coalition has been one of the most vocal opponents of religious discrimination in the US.