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The World’s Most Christian Countries Aren’t Where You Think

Determining the world’s “most Christian” countries is, let’s say, a soft science. Countries aren’t Christians. People are. And even if you decide to allow “Christian” to be an adjective in this case, how do you measure it? Is it the country with the most Christians? The country with laws that are closest to the Bible? And maybe most importantly: Who cares?

Well, that last question is answerable. There is at least a little bit of value in trying to determine where and how the Church is growing in different parts of the world, because many of us can get so myopically short-sighted about spirituality that we tend to think it all begins and ends with us. Americans are particularly bad at this, getting really stuck on this idea that our country is a special gift from God to the rest of the world to show all of them just how good a nation can be if people would just copy us more.

But the reality is, almost a third of the world is Christian, with 2.4 billion followers. So if we want to have a real handle on how God is working in the world, we should be aware of what the Church is up to — and where. And while the United States does have more Christians in it than any other country, it does not have even close to the highest rate of Christians per capita. The U.S. is about 71 percent Christian — putting it in 85th place worldwide.

Which countries do have the highest rate of Christians per capita? Read on to see stats compiled by CBS News, via census results, the Pew Research Center, the U.S. State Department and other sources.

10. Paraguay

Paraguay’s population is about 96 percent Christian. Although it ranks among the world’s poorest countries, a 2017 “Positive Experience Index” ranked it “the world’s happiest place.”

9. Haiti

Haiti is nearly tied with Paraguay, also clocking in around 96 percent Christian — mostly Catholic.

8. Greenland

Official stats for Greenland are hard to come by, but Pew estimates about 96.6 percent of Greenland is Christian, and almost entirely Protestant. The Church of Denmark, which is Lutheran, is by far the dominant church in the nation.

7. Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is about 97 percent Christian, a number distributed across many different churches including Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist and the Evangelical Alliance.

6. Grenada

The tiny Caribbean nation of Grenada is about 97.3 percent Christian. Nearly half of the nation is Protestant, with Pentecostals, Anglicans and Seventh Day Adventists taking up the largest share.

5. Armenia 

Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as its state religion, and the national church there can trace its roots all the way back to Thaddaeus and Bartholomew — two of the original disciples. In 2005, Armenia amended its Constitution to protect freedom of all religion, but the population is still almost entirely Christian, at roughly 97.9 percent.

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3. Greece

Greece itself does not keep track of the religion of its citizens, but the U.S. State Department estimates that about 98 percent of the country is Christian, almost entirely belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church.

2. Romania

Romania is actually just about tied with Greece, with about 98 percent of its population claiming Christianity. Unlike Greece, there is no official state church, so the Christian population is a bit more diverse. A little over 80 percent of Romanians belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church, but there are also Roman Catholic, Pentecostal and even Baptist communities.

2. East Timor

East Timor has freedom of religion and the separation of church and state as part of its constitution, but a little over 99 percent of the nation is Christian, with about 97 percent of it Roman Catholic.

1. Vatican City

OK, well, duh. Vatican City gets to cheat a little on this one because, as you might imagine, every last person of its roughly 1,000-person population is a member of the Catholic Church.

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