Religion and Christianity
This week the basic data from the 2011 UK Census regarding things such as ethnic groups and tenure of housing, in addition to figures on those who chose to answer the (optional) question about religion was released. Whatever the distorting presentations of the statistics will be, from both religious institutions and from secular or atheist ones, the fact of the matter is that ‘Between 2001 and 2011 the percentage of residents affiliating themselves with the Christian religion declined in all England regions and Wales.’ –
Between 2001 and 2011 there has been a decrease in people who identify as Christian (from 71.7 per cent to 59.3 per cent) and an increase in those reporting no religion (from 14.8 per cent to 25.1 per cent). All other religious groups saw a rise in percentage (except Judaism, which nevertheless did increase marginally).
These are the basic, pure statistics, whichever way they are interpreted it is not a great thing for Christianity, in just one decade those designating themselves Christians have fallen 13% whilst all other religions, and atheism, is on the increase. All these statistics will be skewed by virtue of the criteria different people apply when designating themselves Christians, some inclined to put that because they are baptised even if they never attend any form of Christian worship or make religion a part of their lives, whilst others may be integral parts of Christian life, people whose whole moral value system is based upon their religion, who go to Church every day or perhaps even work for it. But the fact remains that Christians are making themselves irrelevent. We don’t really need fancy statistics to show us that. Despite the many thousands of unpaid hours of voluntary service carried out by Christians, the many schemes and ideas run by them, not only for their fellow Christians but for all faiths and none, Christianity is seen as a stupid faith to belong to by the majority of people. It’s the 21st Century, people are exposed to so many more cultures and religions, and also many have turned away from religious institutions, which won’t be a great shock to those who frequent videos or topics about religion on social media sites such as youtube and twitter. The Church needs to get with the times, to overthrow the tables in the temple and learn to reconnect with the people if it is to survive without becoming a ‘cult’ and without persecution. The fact that the CofE has been seen to exclude themselves on ‘religious grounds’ from any discussion on gay marriage, with the implementation of the ‘quadruple lock’ has hardly helped strengthen our position. Of course there will be endless discussions about whether society should adapt to accommodate religion or if religion should change, but if we’re to be realistic then in order to survive then Christianity must change, our Christ was one who challenged the accepted social norms of the place of women, slaves etc, so why shouldn’t the 21st century Christian be proud to stand up for equality and change?