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The 'European' Country That's Less Christian Than North Korea

Surprising stats on how many non-Christians worldwide have Christian friends.

The world's atheists and agnostics are far more likely to have Christian friends than adherents of other religious traditions.

As a whole, fewer than one in five practitioners of non-Christian faiths personally know a Christian, while one in three non-religious people do, according to a study by Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary's Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC). As defined by the study (first calculated in 2007), to have "personal contact" or "personally know" a Christian required "more than casual or superficial relationship, although not necessarily deep friendship or intimacy."

One place where non-Christians have the fewest Christian friends? The French islands of Mayotte, located off the coast of Mozambique in southeast Africa, where only 5.7 percent of residents (nearly entirely Muslims) have any contact with Christians. Mayotte, which will officially join the EU as an "outermost region" in January 2014, ranks second to only Afghanistan, where only 2.9 percent of non-Christians know a Christian. By comparison, in North Korea—the most Christian (0.8 percent) of the top 10 countries with the least contact with Christians—6.1 percent of non-Christians personally know a Christian.

Such contact varied widely among the world's countries and religions. Asians are the least likely to have Christian friends: only 13 percent of the religious and 14 percent of the non-religious report such contact. By contrast, Latin Americans are the most likely to have Christian friends: 84 percent of the religious and 99 percent of the non-religious. The CSGC found the "greatest extreme" in Europe, where "99 percent of the non-religious knew a Christian, compared to only 19% of the religious."

Here are the 10 countries with the least amount of non-Christians with Christian friends:

Least contact by the religious:

  1. Afghanistan (2.9 percent)
  2. Mayotte (5.5 percent)
  3. Mauritania (5.8 percent)
  4. North Korea (6.1 percent)
  5. Algeria (6.1 percent)
  6. Western Sahara (6.6 percent)
  7. Somalia (6.7 percent)
  8. Turkey (7.1 percent)
  9. Yemen (7.3 percent)
  10. Iran (7.3 percent)

Least contact by the non-religious:

  1. North Korea (6.1 percent)
  2. Algeria (6.8 percent)
  3. Western Sahara (8.7 percent)
  4. Bhutan (9.7 percent)
  5. Mongolia (9.8 percent)
  6. Turkey (10.0 percent)
  7. Tunisia (11.1 percent)
  8. Japan (11.4 percent)
  9. Somalia (11.4 percent)
  10. Myanmar (11.8 percent)

Browse the full results on page 78-79 of the study. CT also noted the report's unexpected stats on countries that send and receive the most missionaries.

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