According to a new study by Dick Slikker, “changes in the percentage of Christians within a society exert a measurable correlated influence of the economic well-being of that society” — particularly when those Christians are evangelicals.
Kate Tracy summarizes the findings at Christianity Today:
Dutch researcher Dick Slikker wanted to assess the Marxist theory that increases in prosperity lead to decreases in religious practice. So he examined the past decade’s worth of data from countries including the United States, Belgium, China, Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. His research used Operation World and the World Religion Database for its data on changes in the percentage of Christians in each country, while studies fromMoody’s Analytics and Fitch Ratings provided data on changes in the economic status of each country, particularly its sovereign credit rating…
…”When using total Christian populations per country, statistically significant positive linear correlations were obtained in seven out of eight combinations of data source, rating agency and either five- or ten-year interval.” Slikker notes in his abstract.
Furthermore, within the three subsets of Christianity studied—Protestants, Catholics, and evangelicals—it was evangelicals that proved to have the highest rate of correlation with economic wellbeing.
One additional item worth noting, in relation to that bit about Marxist theory, is that this was not shown to be true across all religions. As the study explains: “The same regression analysis was performed for Muslims, with results showing no significant correlations in seven of eight cases and negative correlation in the remaining single case.”
There’s plenty of room for further exploration within that correlation, but it does provoke some interesting questions.
Read the full study here.
HT: Drew Cleveland
In The Victory of Reason, Rodney Stark advances the idea that Christianity is directly responsible for the most significant intellectual, political, scientific, and economic breakthroughs of the past millennium.