Reflections on Religion in Britain and the US

 

  1. Britons saying they had no religion surpassed those saying they were Christian for the first time. This is not so much a change of individual thinking as a change in generation mix over time, with 40% of those born after 1980 describing themselves as religious compared to 80% of those born before 1939. Australia, France and the Netherlands have been projected (appropriately by US thinktank Pew Research) to lose their Christian majority only after 2050.
  2. Weekly church attendance drops below one million for the first time.

2011 to 2015. 500 London churches turned into luxury homes. One sold for £50 million in  2013.

Trends. Christmas only parishes for the once a year crowd. A new app with a virtual collection plate.

Maintenance costs. High. York Minster £20,000 per day. Includes a daily rub down with olive oil as protection against acid rain.

Subsidies. To what extent should the state subsidise organised religion. However they are a bastion against social atomisation. Pubs are similarly struggling.

Trussel Trust. This Christian charity distributed 26,000 emergency food packages in 2008/09 and 1.1 million in 2015/16.

Political ramifications. What does all this portend for the monarch as head of the Church and the presence of bishops in the House of Lords.

For a similar review of religion in the US, appropriately by Pew Research, see http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/08/24/why-americas-nones-left-religion-behind/ which starts as follows: “Perhaps the most striking trend in American religion in recent years has been the growing percentage of adults who do not identify with a religious group. And the vast majority of these religious “nones” (78%) say they were raised as a member of a particular religion before shedding their religious identity in adulthood.”

(With The Economist)

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