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Religion in Richmond as numbers decline globally

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Recent studies show fewer people are attending church regularly and across the globe about one in six people don't identify with a particular religion.

But this Sunday following Easter services a pilgrimage of tens of millions are expected to flock to their living rooms to watch the Good Book on television.

What is your religious affiliation? A snapshot of the world’s population shows about one sixth of people don’t identify with any religion.  According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center the third largest global group behind Christians and Muslims call themselves “unaffiliated.”

“I believe people are getting more tired and weary of what they see and view in religion today, “ says Pastor “G”. “It’s the greatest story ever told and I think people are watching it because it’s done so well.”

But Pastor G  with Richmond Outreach Center or ROC on Midlothian Turnpike says the number of “unaffiliated” doesn’t signal the death knell for churches, synagogues or Mosques. To prove his point Pastor “G” points to the ratings “The Bible” has on the History Channel.

The five-part docu-drama has attracted 80 million viewers so far.

“I’m very excited about how many people are watching it because I think many of those people are ‘unaffiliated’ people or un-churched,” Pastor “G” says.

Reverend Norman Burnes with Bon Air Baptist Church says even though the ranks of unaffiliated are swelling there will always be a curiosity about the Good Book.

“I think the interest in the Bible. This series that we’re talking about may mean people are interested in what God has done and what he is doing in the world today,” says Burnes. “I think it is interesting to speculate and wonder why are people watching that program.”

Back at the ROC, which attracts nearly 3,000 worshipers on Saturdays, Pastor G says the Bible mini-series may lure people back to church, but whether they stay is anyone’s guess.

“I don’t think a show on television will convince people that Christianity is the way I think Christianity will convince people that Christianity is the way,” Pastor “G” says.

The Pew Research numbers crunchers looked at data from 232 countries to reach their findings. More than three quarters of the religiously unaffiliated live in Asia.

As for The Bible mini-series it's been panned by many TV critics, but more than 10 million viewers are expected to tune for the finale Sunday night.