These are more recent numbers from the UK, earlier statistics showed shrinking numbers of the younger generation Christians [30 and under] in Canada, the US, Australia and the UK. It's been hypothesized that the primary cause is backlash from Christian activism in politics and government, anti-homosexuality, general intolerance, judgmentalism and hypocrisy from the most active Christians. That idea comes from a study in 2007 that found that when people in the younger generation think about Christians or Christianity, their first thoughts are usually negative.
Religion in decline as census figures reveal there are 4 million fewer Christians and one in four is now an atheist
- Proportion of Christians in England and Wales down to 59.3 per cent
- Quarter of people say they do not follow any religion following rise of aggressive atheism
- Number of Muslims up to 2.7 million, 4.8 per cent of the population
PUBLISHED: 09:51 EST, 11 December 2012
Christianity has declined sharply over the past decade, according to the census returns. Numbers who choose to call themselves Christians fell by more than four million.
The collapse in belief in the religion which has been central to the history of the country for 1,500 years means that fewer than six out of ten, or 59 per cent, now describe themselves as Christian. A decade ago nearly three quarters, 72 per cent, did so.
The diminishing number of Christians is mirrored by a rapid growth in those who profess no religious affiliation. A quarter of the population, 14.1million, now say they have no religion, nearly double the 7.7million who said the same thing in the 2001 census.
The growth religion in England and Wales is Islam, the census returns showed. Over a decade, numbers of Muslims have gone up from around 1.5million to 2.7million, and almost one in 20 of the population is now a Muslim.
The lowest level of Christian belief is in London, where fewer than half the population, 48 per cent, now say they are Christian.
Returns showed the most Christian district is Knowsley on Merseyside, where more than four out of ten are Christian. More than a third of people in the London borough of Tower Hamlets are Muslim. Norwich is the most Godless place in Britain with 42.5 per cent of its population professing no religion.
The Church of England said it was pleased a majority of the population remain Christian. Spokesman the Rev Arun Arora said:
I think we will continue to see a decrease in religious affiliation. People are slowly but surely beginning to realize that religion is really at the root of all fighting, wars, and intolerance. Also, for some reason, atheists are becoming more open and vocal about their beliefs (or should I say lack of?). It's become less of hush-hush topic.
Quoting Leisurely Duchess:" These are more recent numbers from the UK, earlier statistics showed shrinking numbers of the younger ... [snip!] ... So what are your thoughts? Is this trend good, is it bad, neither? Any ideas about causes?"
i didnt read the whole thing but all i know is people shy away from christianity because christians dont really act "christ like." i havent found a church because i dont feel comfortable there. they do not practice what they preach
Ah I forgot to add this, it's related
Report: The road to the White House is no longer white and Christian.
President Obama won last week with a voter coalition that was far more racially and religiously diverse than Mitt Romney's -- a phenomenon both predicted in the days before the election and confirmed in the days after.
What the Public Religion Research Institute has concluded since, however, has farther-reaching implications: that relying on white Christian voters will never again spell national electoral success -- especially for the GOP.
"The changing religious landscape is presenting a real challenge to the strategy that relied on motivated white Christians, particularly white evangelical Christians," said PRRI Research Director Dan Cox, referring to a PRRI study released Thursday (Nov. 15).
"They're still turning out at similar levels as they did in previous elections, but their size in comparison to other groups is shrinking."
Obama's religious coalition was a diverse mix, including 13 percent white mainline Protestants, 8 percent white evangelical Protestants, 10 percent Hispanic or other Catholics and 13 percent white Catholics, and 16 percent black Protestants. His largest subgroup of "religious" voters was the unaffiliated -- those that do not identify with a religious group -- at 25 percent.
Compare that to Romney, whose largest subgroup of religious voters -- white evangelical Protestants -- accounted for a full 40 percent of all his votes. Add in other white Christians and Romney's total white Christian vote count was 79 percent. By contast, white Christians represented 35 percent of those who chose Obama.
I'm a Christian but I'm not intolerant. Some of it is grossly over dramatized. There are also different denominations that have differences in views and beliefs, some are more "strict" than others. I have friends that are homosexual, of different religions, and what not but they are ppl just the same as me and their life is theirs to decide how they want to live it.
Quoting I'm me:" I'm a Christian but I'm not intolerant. Some of it is grossly over dramatized. There are also different ... [snip!] ... religions, and what not but they are ppl just the same as me and their life is theirs to decide how they want to live it."
I know. The problem is that the fundies are the loudest, most publicly active and most often heard. That's why such a negative association even among many church-goers
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that so many Christians who are loud about their faith are obnoxious, intolerant and judgmental (not all of them are but the ones you generally hear about are). A picture has been painted... an ugly ugly picture.
<blockquote><b>Quoting Mama Bird of 3:</b>" i didnt read the whole thing but all i know is people shy away from christianity because christians ... [snip!] ... really act "christ like." i havent found a church because i dont feel comfortable there. they do not practice what they preach"</blockquote>
I'm losing my faith in god but at the same time I do believe in. The judgemental people in a church is too much, imo why can't it matter that you develop your own personal relationship?
Quoting *X-scream Diva*:" <blockquote><b>Quoting Mama Bird of 3:</b>" i didnt read the whole thing but all i ... [snip!] ... in. The judgemental people in a church is too much, imo why can't it matter that you develop your own personal relationship?"
It has a lot to do with control and fear. The church puts so much fear into people if they decide to seek God in their own way. There is only one way and if you decide to try to expand your mind and seek the truth without their rules they flippin freak out. If you go outside the lines, you are going to burn forever. And you have to pretend to be someone that you cannot possibly be. And if you are really real and transparent then you get this label among the other church members as being a threat or something. It is so exhausting that people just give up.
And American Churches are more businesses these days than houses of God.
When I was a teen I went through a BAD experiance with christians and didn't want anything to do with it anymore..
But around 21 I started looking into christianity more, doing more research and all that. I found an awesome church.. everyones so loving, and accepting, and just awesome. They play rock music, and my paster is a surfer haha.
There are alot of young people at my church.. and I think it's because you can be yourself and feel comfortable there and not have to worry about rude stuck up people who call themselves christian but don't act Christlike at all.
Quoting bbbt:" I think we will continue to see a decrease in religious affiliation. People are slowly but surely beginning ... [snip!] ... atheists are becoming more open and vocal about their beliefs (or should I say lack of?). It's become less of hush-hush topic. "
America's religious climate changed after 9/11. Christianity was brought to the forefront in politics again [similar to what happened during the Cold War and previous wars] and certain Christian denominations saw a rise in adherents for a while (such as Evangelicals). The rise in outspoken atheism was a response to that, I think.
This is a good article
2: The re-emergence of "Christo-Americanism."
Before 9/11, if you asked the average American about Ramadan or sharia law, they probably would have given you a blank look.
Not anymore. The 9/11 attacks prompted more Americans to learn about Islam. Books on the subject became best-sellers. Colleges started offering more courses on Islam. Every cable news show suddenly had their stable of "Muslim experts."
More Americans know about Islam than ever before, but that hasn't stopped the post-9/11 Muslim backlash. The outrage over plans to build an Islamic prayer and community center near ground zero; the pastor who threatened to burn the Quran; conservative Christian leaders who called Islam evil - all occurred as knowledge of Islam spread throughout America, scholars says.
"One of the sobering lessons of the decade since 9/11 is that religious prejudice is not always rooted in raw ignorance," says Thomas Kidd, author of "American Christians and Islam."
"Some of America's most vociferous anti-Muslim critics know quite a lot about Muslim beliefs, but they often use their knowledge to construe Islam in the worst possible light."
Many of these public attacks against Islam were encouraged by conservative Christian leaders such as Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, who called Islam "wicked," and Pat Robertson, the Christian broadcaster who declared that "Islam is not a religion," says Charles Kammer, a religion professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio.
Kammer says Graham and Robertson helped fuel the rise of "Christo-Americanism," a distorted form of Christianity that blends nationalism, conservative paranoia and Christian rhetoric.
"A segment of the religious community in the United States has been at the forefront of an anti-Islamic crusade that has helped to generate a climate of hatred and distrust toward all Muslims," says Kammer.
Other strains of Christo-Americanism have swept through America before.
After 9/11, some political leaders said terrorists hated the U.S. because of "our freedoms." But America's record on granting those freedoms to its citizens is mixed, says Lynn Neal, co-editor of the book, "Religious Intolerance in America."
In the 19th century, the U.S government passed numerous laws preventing Native American tribes from practicing their religion. Mormons were persecuted. Roman Catholics were once described as disloyal, sexual deviants, Neal says.
"Religious intolerance is not a new feature of the American landscape. Despite being the most religiously diverse nation on earth, despite having a first amendment that protects religious rights...we as a nation and as citizens have often failed to live up to those ideas."
3: Interfaith becomes cool.
Interfaith dialogue - it's not the type of term that makes the heart beat faster.
Before 9/11, interfaith efforts were dismissed as feel-good affairs that rarely got media coverage. The 9/11 attacks changed that.
Interfaith events spread across the country. Mosques and temples held joint worship services. Every college campus seemed to have an interfaith dialogue. The Obama White House launched a college interfaith program.
Becoming an interfaith leader is now hip, some say.
"A generation of students is saying that they want to be interfaith leaders, just like previous generations said they wanted to be human rights activists or environmentalists," says Eboo Patel, who founded the Interfaith Youth Core in 2002.
Patel says at least 250 colleges have signed up for the White House interfaith program, which he helped design. The program encourages students of different faiths to work together on service projects.
"These young leaders will make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America, similar to multiculturalism and volunteerism," Patel says.
These new leaders include people like Sarrah Shahawy, a Muslim-American medical student at Harvard University and the daughter of Egyptian immigrants.
After 9/11, Shahawy says she felt the responsibility to educate people about Islam. She became an interfaith leader at the University of Southern California, where she noticed a steady increase in student participation in the years after the attacks.
Shahawy says her generation is drawn to interfaith efforts because 9/11 showed the destructive potential of any exclusive claims to religious truth. The 9/11 hijackers carried out their attacks in the name of Islam, but Muslim religious leaders and scholars said that the terrorists' actions did not reflect Islamic teachings.
"For one religious group to claim a monopoly on truth should be obsolete," she says. The interfaith movement doesn't teach people that all religions are the same, she says.
Shahawy calls herself a proud Muslim. "But for me, there's beauty and truth to be found in many different religions."
4: Atheists come out of the closet.
There's one group, however, that sees little beauty in any religion.
Before 9/11, many atheists kept a low profile. Something changed, though, after 9/11. They got loud.
Atheist leaders such as Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion," and Sam Harris, author of "The End of Faith," wrote best-selling books. Atheist groups launched national media campaigns with bold billboard messages such as "Christmas is a myth."
The pugnacious journalist Christopher Hitchens became the public face of a more combative form of atheism as he went on talk shows and lectures to defend not believing in God.
Criticism of all religion, not just fanatical cults, was no longer taboo after 9/11, says Daniel Dennett, a philosophy professor with Tufts University in Massachusetts.
"Atheist-bashing is now, like gay-bashing, no longer an activity that can be indulged in with impunity by politicians or commentators," Dennett says.
Atheists were driven to become more vocal because of the 9/11 attacks and America's reaction, says David Silverman, president of American Atheists. He says many atheists were disgusted when President George W. Bush and leaders in the religious right reacted to the attack by invoking "God is on our side" rhetoric while launching a "war on terror."
They adopted one form of religious extremism while condemning another, he says.
"It really showed atheists why religion should not be in power. Religion is dangerous, even our own religion," Silverman says.
Atheists are still the most disparaged group in America, but there's less stigma attached to being one, he says.
"The more noise that we make, the easier it us to accept us," Silverman says. "Most people know atheists now. They knew them before, but didn't know they were atheists."
Quoting EnnaBennaBanana:" When I was a teen I went through a BAD experiance with christians and didn't want anything to do with ... [snip!] ... there and not have to worry about rude stuck up people who call themselves christian but don't act Christlike at all."
This is what I thought about my former church, until I got involved in leadership... my eyes were opened.
It was an overall bad experience the way all of that ended though. My SIL outed the pastor's son as a pervert (he was inappropriate with church women, some of them girls and there was a conspiracy to cover it up).
Quoting Fat-and-Happy:" This is what I thought about my former church, until I got involved in leadership... my eyes were opened. ... [snip!] ... son as a pervert (he was inappropriate with church women, some of them girls and there was a conspiracy to cover it up)."
Aw I'm sorry you went through that :/ I'm sure there ARE some people at the church I go to who try to cover up who they really are.. people are people.. there will be liars everywhere ya go. But overall it's the best church I've ever been too. Still yes, just because I go to a church I like doesn't mean "stranger danger" still doesn't apply.
Quoting EnnaBennaBanana:" Aw I'm sorry you went through that :/ I'm sure there ARE some people at the church I go to who try ... [snip!] ... church I've ever been too. Still yes, just because I go to a church I like doesn't mean "stranger danger" still doesn't apply."
It just leaves a lot of damage when you trust a group of people and then all hell breaks loose. I've been trying to wade through everything I learned to determine what was good and what was bad.
We went to another church after that and thought we'd found another cool awesome laid back environment and then were told that if were weren't going every Sunday then we couldn't possibly be spiritually growing. (we lived 40 minutes away and my husband worked on some Sundays).
In the midst of all of that, I had decided to stop listening to man, and a book, and implored God to speak directly to me. My husband and i soon began making the same conclusions separately and then discovering we were both on the same brain train. We have really departed from the whole organized religion thing and are more universalist now than anything else... with an intense interest in Buddhist principles.