Religion in the UK

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Light Travelling, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. Light Travelling It's a girl O lord in a flatbed Ford Registered Senior Member

    I saw this in a recent survey done in the UK;

    Which of the following religions or belief systems, if any, do you associate with?
    Church of England = 33%
    Catholicism = 10%
    Other Christian = 9%
    Islam = 3%
    Hinduism = 2%
    Judaism = 1%
    Other religion = 3%
    Agnosticism = 17%
    Atheism = 21%

    Do you actively practise your religion, eg you attend regular religious services?
    Yes = 29%
    No = 71%

    Source: Guardian newspaper

    Which means only 18% of people are actively practicing religion. Thoughts? Comments?
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  3. Light Travelling It's a girl O lord in a flatbed Ford Registered Senior Member

    This puts the UK up there with some of the most atheistic countries in the world;
    New Zealand

    So are these the most culturally developed countries in the world?

    However such a list would also contain;

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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    My guess is that no atheists or agnostics are likely to have said that they are "practicing religion". So it would mean 29% are practicing religion.
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  7. Light Travelling It's a girl O lord in a flatbed Ford Registered Senior Member

    I can see why you say that. It is my fault for not posting a footnote to the survey. It said that the "are you practising your religion" question was only asked to those following religions.
    Therefore my calculation was 29% excluding atheists and agnostics.

    Apologies for the confusion.
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    These results just don't smell right to me.

    Did the Guardian poll the British public as a whole, or only their own readers? How was the poll conducted and how was it worded? Was this a question about formal membership or about self-identification? ("Associate with" is kind of ambiguous in that regard.)

    Why weren't things like the C of Scotland and the Methododists specified out? My own sense is that there are Baptists in Britain, often found among black immigrant populations anda visible Sikh community among the Asians. I have encountered British Buddhists.

    My gut tells me that the figures for religious adherence are likely low and the figures for atheism and agnosticism are likely high. I wouldn't be surprised to see figures like these for the Guardian's readers though.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    It looks like these figures come from the 2011 British Census and only cover England and Wales.

    That's a more reliable source than the Guardian, I guess.

    The drop in Christian self-identification between 2001 and 2011 is extraordinary and its rapidity during that decade cries out for explanation. One would normally suspect a change in polling methodology, but the census says they asked the same question both times.

    The rise in Muslim population is notable too. It's approaching 5% of the English population, reaching 1/3 in London's Tower Hamlets and approaching 1/4 in Bradford and Luton.

    If atheists and agnostics are England's fastest growing religious grouping (if you can call them that), along with highly concentrated local pockets of Islam (often of a socially-traditionalist Islamist variety in the UK), an ugly collision might be brewing between social values and philosophical worldviews that are antithetically opposed. The dream of assimilation appears increasingly unlikely.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I would hazard that they only listed those that they thought would be most common... hence "Other Christians" and "Other religion" as options, with many polls asking the person to then detail what the "other" is.
    I disagree, I think they're about right.
    Certainly practicing Catholics are on the wane in the UK quite markedly, and most C of E I know don't actually think they practice anything... no requirement for church each Sunday etc, so they probably don't see themselves as actively practicing - especially if the example given of attending services is something they don't regularly do.
    As for atheists / agnostics - this tallies with what I'd expect in the UK, and on my experience among acquaintances.
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Duplicate post deleted. (I hit reply instead of edit.)
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Between 2001 and 2011, the British Census reports that the Christian population of England and Wales fell from 71.7% to 59.3%, while the percentage of those with 'no religion' rose from 14.8% to 25.1%.

    Assuming that these numbers aren't some kind of polling artifact, they suggest that a sudden cultural change unprecedented in the 1000+ year history of England is currently underway.

    History is happening as we speak and the academic world should be all over it. Why is this happening so suddenly? Why is it happening now? What's causing it?

    It's worth noting that these changes took place during the 2001-2011 decade. We are already 40% through the next decade. If these extraordinary changes are still occurring, then one can extrapolate that the numbers might have already changed once again.

    That might conceivably justify some of the Guardian's more extreme numbers. But if 'no religion' rose from 14.8% to 25.1% during the 2001-2011 decade, and if the Guardian is correct that 'atheists' and 'agnostics' now stand at 38% after just 4 more years, then whatever's happening in England would seem to have dramatically accelerated.

    Interestingly, the Guardian reportedly puts the British Muslim population at 3%, significantly lower than the British Census figure of 4.8% in 2011. I don't believe believe that the British Muslim population has fallen by more than 1/3 in just four years.

    So I'm skeptical of the Guardian figures and suspect that they have been massaged in the directions that the paper's editors would prefer them to be: more atheists and agnostics and fewer Muslims (not because they don't like Muslims, but because they want Britons to be less worried about the Muslim community).

    I'm more inclined to believe the British Census, whose numbers already show dramatic enough changes. Something interesting is clearly happening over there in Britain and I don't quite know what it is.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I think there is a change, but only actually a small one: a greater willingness to declare oneself agnostic and/or atheist.
    I don't necessarily think the views of the individual have changed all that much, although maybe they have. Rather it is more the willingness to declare openly that one is not religious, and the ability to do so without recrimination.

    But I don't rule out the massaging of the figures either.
  14. Light Travelling It's a girl O lord in a flatbed Ford Registered Senior Member

    I think you are right that the guardians poll is probably of its own readers who are less likely to be religious. But I do not think they have been deliberately massaged.
    Your census figures are probably more accurate. Although the overall trend is similar and there is not that great difference.
    I think the census had 59% Christian and 25% atheist. Where as guardian 52% total Christian and 38% atheists/ agnostic.
    I also have this › news › Atheist

    Which shows UK as 34 - 43% atheist.

    In any case regardless of exact percentages there is certainly a major shift from say 50 years ago. I would agree with Sarkus that the major change is people feel free to express there views better now. For some time there have been many what I would call apathetic Christians in the UK meaning they would say they are Christian if asked, but nothing about there lifestyle or behaviour would reflect that.
    So maybe thus is a creeping trend that had been happening for a while. From what I see the young are less likely to be Christian so I think it is a trend that will continue.
    There is still a lot of interest in the young with Buddhism and such.

    The one religion that seems to be on the increase in UK is Islam. I hope that is not a trend that continues
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  15. Photizo Ambassador/Envoy Valued Senior Member

    When the boom is lowered, people will admitw
    Hate to burst your bubble, but Christian (and Islamic, for that matter) eschatology indicates otherwise.
  16. Light Travelling It's a girl O lord in a flatbed Ford Registered Senior Member

    Not sure in what sense you are using eschatology there. ?

    I have no bubble to burst though..
  17. Photizo Ambassador/Envoy Valued Senior Member

    Well, you said you were hoping that despite islam being on the rise in the UK (it is), you were hoping the trend would not continue. The eschatological frameworks of both the Bible and the teachings of islam indicate that islam will in fact dominate the earth led by two individuals: The Mahdi, and an individual whom the muslims believe will be Jesus. This islamic 'Jesus' will direct all people to follow the mahdi and islam. Those who do not will be beheaded.

    I'm using eschatology in the sense of end time prophecy.
  18. Light Travelling It's a girl O lord in a flatbed Ford Registered Senior Member

    True with regard to Islam. I think stating that Christianity agrees is tenuous.
  19. Photizo Ambassador/Envoy Valued Senior Member

    Well, it agrees if you simply let the Bible present what it presents (Biblical Antichrist/False Prophet = Islamic Mahdi/Isa [their 'Jesus'] ) and compare it with islamic sources...the problem of course is getting Christendom to agree on the identification of those two principle characters of the end times...the historical context over the course of the last 2000 yrs. has served as a sort of 'veil' over the eyes of those studying prophecy. During that period of time, (Christian) prophetic schools of thought developed and became established...the various (Christian) end time scenarios did not make room for either a literal nation of Israel or for an extensive islamic caliphate whose end time agenda is world domination and--an end time--Israel's destruction...breaking out of those patterns of thinking does not come easily...therefore, for those reasons, I agree it is tenuous. With few exceptions, Christian eschatology has not kept pace with recent historical developments. Now, they are forced to jettison whole theological frameworks and adopt new interpretations or ignore the two elephants (Israel/the growing radical islamic movement) in the room. Human nature being what it is, they will not wake up until it is too late---and that is probably also part of the 'plan'.

    In my opinion, any 'prophetic' voices (from the Christian side...islam fully embraces their scenario) heralding these developments as the foundation of near future events prophesied by BOTH eschatologies will be met with indifference, disbelief, and what have you.
  20. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Well then, it must be true if they wrote it down and everything.
  21. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

    I would hope (though I suspect I'll be disappointed) that his point is that Islam and Christianity aren't that different. If you look at Christianity's decline in the UK with positivity, and praise the growth of Islam, you're probably being a bit hypocritical. Both religions are rather absolutist and have a similar apocalyptic long-term outlook. The growth of agnosticism, irreligion, Buddhism, Paganism, and small religions would be a better indicator of religious pluralism and harmony than the continued rivalry of two absolutist faiths.
  22. Photizo Ambassador/Envoy Valued Senior Member

    Christianity and Islam couldn't be more different. One thing that was being pointed out is that while both eschatologies unfold nearly identical events, the personages are, from the two perspectives completely opposite. In other words, the muslim savior is the Christian antichrist, the muslim Isa (who they believe to be Jesus) is the Christian false prophet. The muslim 'bad guy' that will be defeated--resulting in worldwide islam--is in fact, the Biblical Jesus. From the Biblical perspective, Jesus is the good guy Who, at His return, casts both (mahdi and Isa<--i.e. the Biblical antichrist and false prophet) into the lake of fire before setting up His Kingdom in Jerusalem.
  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Yes, the two sides of the same coin are very different indeed.

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