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Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Atheism | 1 comment

Religion in sharp decline, according to UK census 2011

Some very interesting data have just been released from the 2011 UK Census. You can read the key stats here, but the piece of information that leapt out for me was this:

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).

Also, remember that even among those who self-identify as Christian, being a Christian no longer seems to mean much of significance – at least in terms of where you get moral guidance, which metaphysics you subscribe to, and so forth. The Richard Dawkins Foundation data, released earlier this year, revealed that (for Christians in England):

  • 15% of them have never read the Bible
  • 32% believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus
  • 24% say that the Bible is inferior to other sources of moral guidance
  • 54% look to their own “inner moral sense” for guidance on morality, and only
  • 10% seek moral guidance from “religious teachings and beliefs”
  • 50% do not consider themselves to be religious

At least some of the decline in religious belief reported in the 2011 Census is surely due to the sterling work of the British Humanist Association and related groups, who campaign tirelessly to let people know that it’s okay to leave religion behind. So, congratulations to Andrew Copson and everyone else, and thanks also for your continued – and apparently effective – work.

[Edit] The response from the Church of England, which serves to prove that if nothing else, they are good at burying their heads in the sand.