Monday, 17 September 2012

Britain- No longer a Christian nation

The 29th British Social attitudes survey has just been published. The survey covers a number of subjects including immigration, transport, heath and employment. There were three questions concerning religion.  You can find these by scrolling down to pages 78 & 79 of the questions list. All participants were asked;
Do you regard yourself as belonging to any particular religion?
and, (along with an amusing capitalised instruction for the interviewers!)
In what religion, if any, were you brought up? PROBE IF NECESSARY: What was your family's religion?
In addition those professing a religion were asked
Apart from such special occasions as weddings, funerals and baptisms, how often nowadays do you attend services or meetings connected with your religion
For the first question the percentages opting for the various categories were
No religion 45.7
Christian - no denomination 10.1
Roman Catholic 8.7
Church of England/Anglican 21.1
Baptist 0.6
Methodist 1.3
Presbyterian/Church of Scotland 2.3
Other Christian 0.6
Free Presbyterian 0.2
Brethren 0.3
United Reform Church (URC)/Congregational 0.7
Other Protestant 0.4
Hindu 2.2
Jewish 0.8
Islam/Muslim 3.4
Sikh 0.4
Buddhist 0.2
Other non-Christian 0.4
(Don't know) 0.2
(Refusal) 0.4

According to the survey, the various Christian denominations in total constitute less than half the population. The 46.3% total only just exceeds those without any religious belief. We no longer appear to be a Christian country.

The second question concerning the religion the person questioned was brought up in, is very interesting. It shows how the country's religious make up has changed over a generation. The following percentages show the increase (+) or decrease (-) in belief (or lack of it).
No religion 27.4
Christian - no denomination -5.4
Roman Catholic -4.6
Church of England/Anglican -13.3
Baptist -0.2
Methodist -2.4
Presbyterian/Church of Scotland -1.9
Other Christian 0.2
Free Presbyterian -2.2
Brethren -0.6
United Reform Church (URC)/Congregational -2.6
Other Protestant -0.1
Hindu 2
Jewish 0.7
Islam/Muslim 3.4
Sikh 0.3
Buddhist -0.2
Other non-Christian -0.5
(Don't know) 0
(Refusal) 0

In total Christianity has fallen 24.6%. If this trend continues 75% of the population will be non believers after the next generation and 90% the generation after that.  Obviously that future relies on a lot of assumptions but it does illustrate the tremendous rise we are experiencing in people who profess no faith.

The third question asks how often believers attend a church service. The percentages given are
Once a week or more 14.3
Less often but at least once in two weeks 1.7
Less often but at least once a month 5.8
Less often but at least twice a year 10
Less often but at least once a year 5.6
Less often than once a year 4.6
Never or practically never 57.5
Varies too much to say 0.4
(Don't know)                -
(Refusal) 0

This shows that over 6/10 'believers' never attend or won't attend in a typical year. Seems that the most of the remaining religious believers don't take it very seriously.