The phenomenon of disappearing Christians seems to be a current British phenomenon (hurrah).

Er, why,
and why not in the USA too?

Please, let's spread this welcome trend worldwide. But why is it not happening like this in the United States?

In the Daily Telegraph of 16 December 2009 (on the front page) Martin Beckford, the Religious Affairs Correspondent, wrote:

“Only half of Britons consider themselves Christian, a sharp decline on 25 years ago, an academic study suggests.
One professorial analyst described a large proportion of the country as the “fuzzy faithful”, people who have a vague belief in god but do not belong to a particular denomination or attend services. However, most people still say religion helps bring happiness and comfort, and regret its declining influence on modern society.”

Sociology Professor David Voas, University of Manchester, analysed the data. He said: “More and more people are ceasing to identify with a religion at all. The key distinction in Britain now is between religious involvement and indifference.”

His analysis will be published in January 2010 by the National Centre for Social Research. It considers the results of 4486 interviews that were conducted in the respected survey on British Social Attitudes survey in 2008. It shows that just 50% of respondents call themselves Christian, which is down from 66% in 1983.

The proportion having “no religion” has risen from 31 to 43%. Non-Christians, including Muslims and Jews, represent 7% of the population, which is a steep rise from 2% 25 years ago and is largely due to Muslim immigration encouraged by the Labour government.
The steepest fall was among those who say they worship in the Church of England. This is down from 40% of those who call themselves Christians to 23%. Official church figures show that average Sunday attendance was 978,000 in 2007, compared with 1.2 million in 1983.

The proportion of Roman Catholics declined only slightly from 10 to 9%.This is partly because of a vast increase in the numbers of Catholic Poles and other eastern Europeans into Britain.
37% of people questioned “did not believe in god” or were unable to say whether some supreme being exists. 35% had a definite belief in god or a belief with “occasional doubts.”

A mighty 62% said they never attend services in a place of worship.
How different this is from the situation a century ago. And how different it is from the people of the Americas.

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Replies to This Discussion

Worryingly, yes. I even recall from a documentary I watched, a young woman saying "I don't know much about Mr. Bush, or his policies, but I know he believes in God and that's why i'm gonna vote for him."
What I have seen is that Countries with stronger secular social programs tend in general terms to be less religious.

I am always struck by the subtle differences between Canada and the States and as far as I can tell a lot of it stems from our social programs and regulations, ie. Healthcare, employment insurance, and systems designed in ways that make it easier to not fall through the cracks during troubled times. No one thinks twice about having to go to a doctor or a hospital when feeling unwell. Losing a job sucks, but we do have a system in which you can fairly quickly get some money or remuneration which will keep you going for a time until you can get back on your feet.

These all serve to remove a baseline of stress from everyday living. There isn't as much needed for the social support that comes from organized religion, because we have stronger secular equivalents. I feel that it is in this space where the "cultural religion" form of identification begins, culturally a "insert religion here" but doesn't go to service or even belongs to a specific church.
I'm really happy for you guys in the UK. And Sweden. And France. :(

Although... you guys have to deal with fundamentalist Muslims a lot more over there! Hahahaha! :)

Meh. :S
It s strange thing belief because it requires nothing but itself. One can support a belief simply by affirming that he believes it without further need for enquiry.
I was recently told by a relative who converted to Islam in the six months or so that we hadn't had any contact, that the reason television has had such bad effect is due to the fact that Demons are coming through the screen. I argued with him for two hours, using all sorts of good argument, but the fact was that he "believed it". Despite the fact that on several major beliefs he had conceded to my points, within a few sentences, the obvious logic that should follow on from it didn't materialise, he just parrotede canned phrases given him by his new belief quite unaware of his doing it. I belive it's what Orwell called double-think and a doctor would call schizophrenia. I'm quite saddened by the affair because I did and still do consider him a fairly intelligent guy. However since that day he wont return texts or calls. So the decline of CHristianity isnt a fucntion strictly of greater knowledge but a mix of many differing things, economic believers who relied on church hand outs now have a secular state or a job for that. Those who before sought answers to mental toils now find a psychologist.... so much that the Church did is lost for good to other non religious institutions. Long may it continue.
You have made several good points in your contribution, Mark.
And of them all, I do like the simple opening one that belief is a strange thing because it requires nothing but itself.
How sad it is that after 200,000 years the mind of Homo sapiens -----generally on an upward trajectory-----can lower its operational level to such as the one cited in your demons-belief story.
Interestingly, a similar trend can be observed in Ireland, that (previously) most Catholic of countries. The church still occupies a prominent position, but it is declining rapidly. God bless pop culture, eh?



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