With over 170 distinct religions counted, the religious make-up of the UK is diverse, complex and multicultural. The 2011 Census shows that minority and alternative religions are steadily growing, as is Islam (at 5% of the population). Less than half of the British people believe in a god and from 2009 the annual British Social Attitudes results has revealed that over 50% aren't religious1. A 2014 YouGov poll saw 77% of the British public say they're not very, or not at all, religious2. Comprehensive professional research in 2006 by Tearfund found that 66% of the people of the UK have no connection with any religion or church3.
However, people continue to put down what they think is their "official" religion on official forms. As a result of this Census Effect in the 2011 National Census, 59.3% of us put their religion down as "Christian"4. Half of those who say they have no religion to pollsters still put one down on the 2011 Census. Even despite this, Christian numbers are substantially down from the 2001 figure of 72%. Religion in Britain has suffered an immense general decline since the 1950s. Between 1979 and 2005, half of all Christians stopped going to church on a Sunday. Four in five Britons want religion to be private, not public, and have no place in politics5. All indicators show a continued secularisation of British society in line with other European countries such as France.
|Christianity||33 200 000||59.3%|
|No Religion||14 100 000||25.1%|
|Islam||2 700 000||4.8%|
|Jedi Knights||176 632||0.3%|
|Heavy Metal||6 242|
|Bahá'í Faith||5 021|
The first semi-stable Christian communities in Britain can be found from the 4th/5th centuries, although the sentiments of various kings led to mass abandonments of Christianity for political or personal reasons (mostly revolving around power and sex)7 and culminating in the fouding of the Church of England for exactly those reasons. But the modern era has removed Christianity from British life. From 1900 to 2020, UK membership of Christian churches fell from 33% to 9%8. Although many Christians are not formal members, between 1989 and 2005, one third of all Christians in England stopped going to church on Sundays9, leaving only 6% of the total population doing so. A 2007 poll found that Christians were the most inactive of all religious adherents10. The Roman Catholic11, Methodist11 and Church of England12 are suffering the biggest losses, whilst Pentecostal churches are growing11. Between 1960 and 1985 the Church of England halved in size12 and from then to year 2000, 40% of their remaining flock stopped describing themselves as members13. At some point since the 1930s, most Brits stopped believing in Christianity and at some point between the 1990s and 2011, most Brits stopped calling themselves Christian, except on the occasional official document where they think it's the "right answer"14.
“This secular majority presents a major challenge to churches. Most of them - 29.3 million - are unreceptive and closed to attending church; churchgoing is simply not on their agenda.”
The primary social research tool in Britain is the British Social Attitudes Survey, an annual mini-census. In 2009 'No religion' was stated by 50.7% of the UK population1. Comprehensive professional research in 2006 by Tearfund found that two thirds (66% - 32.2 million people) in the UK have no connection with any religion or church3, a figure which meshes perfectly with another poll in the same year that saw 63% say they are not religious 15. In 2003 August, only 18% of the British public said they were a practicing member of an organized religion and 25% that they were members of a world religion16. According to these results, one fifth of self-declared members would also not describe themselves as actually practicing that religion.
17% of the population responded that religion was one of the most significant factors in their lives. A persons' own experience, parents, education and friends come first for nearly everyone16. (2003)
Those who do profess religion in the UK are largely inactive. A 2007 poll commissioned by the British Library found that 50% of religious folk "do not practice religion very much, if at all"17, with Christians being the most inactive. A 2014 poll found similar results, with 50% of British Jews saying that they are not at all religious18. Muslims were most religious, with only 7% saying they're not18.
A large 2006 poll of year 9 and 10 teenagers in Cornwall found that only 19% said that they 'have a religious faith'19. If these teenagers reflect the future, British religiosity is going to continue to drop.
One single fact can be found in all of the statistics: Britons are mostly non-religious and are increasingly both innocent and ignorant of religion.
The cultural attachment to Christianity in general lives on and Monica Furlong in her year 2000 comprehensive review of the state of English religion summarizes the English in the same way as Grace Davies who wrote "Religion in Britain since 1945: Believing without Belonging12": by saying the English "believe without belonging" to Christianity. That is, many profess belief but do not take part in organized religion. Subsequent scholars (and we will see much supporting evidence below) have doubted whether we believe at all; one said we "don't believe, and don't belong".
“In the twenty years between 1980 and 2000 the Church of England suffered a 27 per cent decline in church membership. The Roman Catholic Church suffered a similar decline in the same period in mass attendance. Methodists, Baptists and others suffered decline too, though in all the churches, it must be said, there have been significant successes in certain churches and particular enterprises. The only institutional church which has continued to grow has been the Orthodox Church - Greek and Russian - where demand for churches exceeds supply, mainly because of immigration from Orthodox countries.
There is a rather touching footnote to all this, which is that people questioned about how much they go to church, give figures which, if true, would add up to twice those given by the churches.”
|Belong to a religion and attend services||74%||71%||55%||37%||31%|
|Does not belong||3%||5%||26%||31%||38%|
Source: British Social Attitudes (2006/7)21
Those who 'do not belong' have first shed the practical and theoretical underpinnings of their religion, before finally overcoming social pressure to "state your religion". There are many who are not at the later stages of this secularisation process, so they still say they 'belong', although they are in the process of forgetting & discarding the physical and mental aspects of what they say they belong to.
So why do so many people say they are Christian? Sociologists know that if they count heads and ask about beliefs, more people say they belong to a religion, and say they have the beliefs of a particular religion, than actually do. People over-state their own religiosity; that's why statistics from polls will often give higher percentages of 'believers' than will head-counting and deeper investigations. To read about this, click here: "Institutionalized Religions Have Their Numbers Inflated by National Polls" by Vexen Crabtree (2009).
Year 2000 snapshots:
In 2000, 60 per cent of the population claimed to belong to a specific religion with 55 per cent being Christian. However, half of all adults aged 18 and over who belonged to a religion have never attended a religious service.22
The historical dominance of Christian power in England led to the full political institutionalizing of Christianity. The Church of England in particular is the 'established religion' of the UK. Although much of this is reversed - public offices are no longer restricted to members of Catholic or Protestant denominations, some oddities do still remain. For example "the Church of England is required by law to display a complete, accessible Bible in all its places of worship"25. There is no similar law placing requirements on Mosques or Synagogues. Such an outdated law is nowadays considered improper: under the concept of democratic secularism, the state has no right to interfere in such a way. Most of the time the legal entanglement of Church and State involve the former having undue influence on the latter. Bishops still sit in the House of Lords (the UK's second chamber of government) and "Britain is the only country left in the democratic world that allows clerics to sit in its legislature as of right"26. Although there is a long-lasting "disestablishment" movement in the UK, the public do not know enough about religion to be roused to either oppose or support it. The government tends not to devote much time to actively dismantling such apparatus because even though it is an democratic embarrassment, the public themselves don't often notice.
In a 2012 poll conducted by YouGov and BSAS, 81% of the British stated that religion is a private matter, and should be separate from politics (only 6% thought otherwise), and 71% said that religious leaders should not influence the government27. Only 7% think that Britain would be a better place if more religious leaders held public office27. Battles between Christian powers and democratic propriety have a long history.
These links are to another page:
#agnosticism #amish #animism #bahá'í_faith #buddhism #chinese_religion #christianity #confucianism #deism #druidism #eckankar #heathenism #hinduism #humanism #islam #jainism #jedi_knights #judaism #mysticism #new_age #no_religion #paganism #pantheism #satanism #scientology #shamanism #shinto #sikhism #spiritualism #taoism #thelema #universalism #voodoo #wicca #witchcraft #zoroastrianism
Almost all minority religions that appeared in 2001 and 2011 Census results have grown over the 10 years. Christianity has plummeted, although there is almost universal agreement amongst sociologists that the decline is amongst who have for a long time have not held Christian beliefs - or any other religious beliefs. The decline is caused by people ceasing to put "Christian" because they think it is the right answer; and putting, correctly "no religion" instead.
|2001 Census||2011 Census1||Hover over populations and percentages to view more detail.|
|Christianity||42 079 00029|
|33 200 000|
|Belief that a single creator god had a son, Jesus Christ, born to a human mother, and that Jesus' crucifixion by the Romans brings salvation|
|No Religion||9 104 00029|
|14 100 000|
|The rise secularisation has seen public and private religion decline throughout the developed world|
|Islam||1 546 626|
|2 700 000|
|Strict monotheism taught by Muhammad, the world's 2nd largest religion|
|Hinduism|| 552 421|
| 817 000|
|Cultural religion of India which was historically decentralized and disparate and not a single belief system. Western influence made it into a single religion, an identity which Hindus now accept|
|Sikhism|| 329 358|
| 423 000|
|Prayer, meditation and self control to become a soldier of God|
|Judaism|| 259 927|
| 263 000|
|Organized Judaism emerged from Babylonian writings. Belief that God has a special contract with a Hebrew tribe, involving many specific rules of behaviour|
|Buddhism|| 144 45330|
| 248 000|
|The belief that meditation and good living can break the cycle of reincarnation and result in enlightenment|
|Jedi Knights|| 390 12729|
| 176 632|
|A campaign saw many put this down as their religion on the UK census in 2001. Midichlorians exist in all living beings, which create a 'living force' that can be interacted with|
|Paganism||30 569||57 000||Part of the neo-pagan range of religions|
|Spiritualism||32 404||39 000||The belief that the souls of the dead communicate with the living, mostly through Mediums, but, suffered serious credibility problems with the original founders admitted to fraudulently inventing the 'rappings' that formed the communications It is sensible to suspect that some who put this on the Census merely meant to say that they are "spiritual", not that they support Spiritualism.|
|Agnosticism||14 909||32 382||Belief that (1) God, if it exists, is by nature unknowable and will always be unknowable, or, (2) that the individual being asked cannot conclude if god exists or not for lack of evidence one way or the other|
|Jainism||15 132||20 000||Beliefs include non-violence and equality of all living things|
|Humanism||8 297||15 067||An organized form of atheism where moral and ethical goodness is emphasized|
|Wicca||7 227||11 766||Neo-pagan organisation based around reconstructed elements of folklore|
|Ravidassia||11 058||Souls are part of the divine and proper living allows us to realize God|
|Rastafarian||4 692||7 906||God (called Jah) fathered a black Jesus; marijuana use in rituals|
|Heavy Metal||6 242||A campaign saw many heavy metal fans put this down as their religion on the UK census in 2011 Its sudden appearance hints that metallers encouraged each other to put that answer much like Star Wars fandom (and thrillseekers!) put Jedi Knight in 2001. This is not without precedent: recall the popular campaign that saw heavy metal band Lordi win the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 (which normally sees only saccharine pop music).|
|Bahá'í Faith||4 645||5 021||Belief that a series of prophets have come from God, and that Bahá'í is the latest religion founded by God. A liberal offshoot of Islam, but persecuted in Iran|
|Druidism||1 657||4 189||Celtic religion in prehistoric England. Modern reconstructed Druidism is part of the neo-pagan range of religions|
|Taoism||3 532||4 144||A relaxed and peaceful religion based on following and accepting the flow of life|
|Zoroastrianism||3 738||4 105||An ancient dualistic religion from Iran with one good god (Ahura Mazda) and one evil one (Ahriman)|
|Unitarianism||3 987||A liberal and non-Trinitarian Christian church|
|Scientology||1 781||2 418||Derived from the writings of science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, a series of practices called Dianetics is used to clear minds of alien influences and attain a state of mental perfection|
|Pantheism||1 603||2 216||God is everywhere, and everything, but is not transcendent and may have no distinct consciousness|
|Heathenism||278 *||1 958||Modern uptake of Nordic religion. Part of the neo-pagan range of religions|
|Satanism||1 525||1 893||An atheist religion that uses dark and evil symbology for self-development and anti-religious purposes - Satan itself is not a real being, just a symbol Satanism is under-represented in the UK Census; the actual numbers are about double.|
|Witchcraft||1 276||A description of various cultural practices, which are often part of a parent belief system|
|Deism||639||1 199||Belief in a single creator god who is not "personal" and does not have human emotions, and which many believers say does not interact with the world|
|Shinto||1 075||Official collection of practices in Japan, more cultural than religious|
|Universalism||971||923||Belief that all people go to heaven|
|New Age||906||698||A disparate and diverse collection of popular beliefs and practices|
|Shamanism||650||Belief that Shamans need to keep good relations with tribal ancestor spirits for the good fortune of the whole tribe|
|Traditional African Church||588||A range of Churches ranging from mostly Christian, to those mostly encapsulating native African spirituality|
|Animism||401||541||The belief that all objects contain spirits. More a traditional form of belief than a "religion" in the Western sense|
|Druze||260||515||A semi-secretive esoteric religion with features of a Mystery Religion|
|Occultism||99||502||Normally existing within other belief systems, occult systems concentrate on esoteric meanings in texts, often with magical undertones|
|Unification Church||252||452||Sun Myung Moon embodied the Second Coming of Christ, and his commercialist church runs a media empire|
|Brahma Kumari||331||442||This group are preparing to rule the world after a coming apocalypse, and embrace many practices which are now called New Age|
|Church Of All Religion||70||408|
|Eckankar||426||379||New Age religion, a mix of Sant Mat, Theosophy and Scientology|
|Raja Yoga||261||An astika school of Hindu philosophy based around mastering and quieting the mind, involving meditation|
|Voodoo||123||208||A traditional religion from Haiti with an ethical focus on combating greed and promoting honour|
|Mysticism||158||204||The belief that God is unknowable but accessible, and that doctrinal religion hampers spiritual growth|
|Thelema||184||A magical system of discerning True Will with inspiration from a host of Egyptian gods|
|Chinese Religion||148||182||A varied cultural religion practiced traditionally on a town-by-town and region-by-region basis|
|Native American Church||234||127||Beliefs vary from tribe to tribe and are sometimes noticeably Christian|
|Confucianism||83||124||A collection of ethical and moral teachings|
|Ancestor Worship||98||Belief that good relations need to be kept with tribal ancestor spirits. Often a form of Shamanism|
|Free Church Of Love||49|
|Amish||24||Peaceful Christian fundamentalist group famous for its rejection of technology and strict adherence to OT and NT laws|
Please note that in the 2001 Census, the population was 52.4 million; in the 2011 one it was 56.1 million, which is a 7% increase. Any category in these results that has not grown by 7% has actually shrunk, in terms of its penetration of the populace.
The British public, both adults and children, are almost wholly ignorant of the basic facts surrounding Christianity and other world religions. The Ofsted report on Religious Education (RE) in schools (2007) states that there is a problem even with teachers' insufficient knowledge of RE at primary school level31 and likewise with recruiting the correct specialists at secondary school level31. Not many people seem to mind, as religious education is seen as easy, and the lessons themselves often used for discussions of current affairs rather than religious studies. There is a pandemic innocence of knowledge about religion.
“Children who do not come from churchgoing homes - as I did not - now grow up largely ignorant of Christian ideas in a way unimaginable half a century ago. [...] The comments about religion by journalists in the press and on television [...] suggest that even the basic Christian ideas are no longer understood by university-educated people, still less by others. Indeed even churchgoers can reveal an ignorance of the main elements of Christian belief.”
In data revealed in a Mori poll from 2003 Aug, only 55% of the English population could name one of the four Christian gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). Slightly more, 60%, could name the sacred book used by Muslims: the Qur'an.
Religious education seems all round to be shunned, and this goes hand in hand with the obvious lack of concern the average British person has for religious matters.
“When I asked the Very Reverend David Edwards, the author of over thirty books on modern Christianity, for his assessment of the state of spirituality in England, he just told me bleakly that 'The English have lost any sense of what religion is'.”
Many large-scale polls indicate that less than half the British public believe in God, with the larger ones showing a rate of 34-35%. Polls of young adults up to 24 years old, show a lower rate of (perhaps) up to 25%.
|Date||Details||Belief in God|
|2013||YouGov poll of 18-24 year olds34||25%|
|2011||64,000 representative adults polled. 34% believed in a personal (theist) or non-intervening (deist) God, 10% in a generic "higher power"5||34%|
|2008||1000 people were polled both in the UK and the USA and asked "Do you believe there is a God?". Less than 40% in the UK said yes, compared with 80% in the USA.35||<40%|
|2006||12507 people were polled, finding that only 35% in Great Britain believe in any kind of God or supreme being, compared to 27% in France, 62% in Italy, 48% in Spain, 41% in Germany and 73% in the USA.36||35%|
|2006||Poll of 4000 older teenagers in Cornwall found that only 22% could affirm that they believed in God, and 49% said they didn't.||22%|
|2003||1001 British adults surveyed16.||60%|
|2003||55% of the British public do not believe in a higher being37.||45% inc. those unsure|
If the poll of 4000 year 9 & 10 teenagers indicates what the future holds, then we can expect belief in God to continue to fall over the next few decades.
Sociologist David Voas is additionally skeptical even of those who say they believe in God. He says that deeper research reveals that British people's religious believes are not deeply held even when they say "yes" they believe in God, and, such beliefs are rarely acted upon. He says "we cannot conclude from the fact that people tell pollsters they believe in God that they give the matter any thought, find it significant, will feel the same next year, or plan to do anything about it"2.
In 2013, only 33% of the British public said that they believe in an afterlife38. A older poll in 2003 had 52% say they believed in Heaven16. In 2008, under 20% of Britons said they believed in hell35 - down from a 2003 poll that placed that figure at 32%16. If only 33% believe in an afterlife, and yet, 59% of Brits put down "Christian" as their religion in the 2011 Census, it is clear that many as half of all those who say they are Christian are actually wrong or are completely ignorant of even the most basic Christian beliefs.
68% believed in souls in 200316, meaning that there are many spiritualists who are not theists. In 2013, 65% of the populace revealed no belief Satan - but it is still quite surprising that 18% still do39.
“Opinion polls in this country do indeed show high levels of belief, but in all sorts of things, including reincarnation (a quarter of respondents), horoscopes (also a quarter), clairvoyance (almost half), ghosts (nearly a third) and so on. It is far from clear that these beliefs make any different to the people claiming them. Research suggests that casual believers even in astrology, for example, which is distinguished by its practical orientation, rarely do or avoid doing things because of published advice. [... It] is a phenomenon one might call 'believing without believing'. Views are uninformed, not deeply held, seldom acted upon, and relatively volatile.”
In "Public Faith? The State of Religious Belief and Practice in Britain" by Paul Avis (2003)40,2
In 2003: Close friends (46%), a walk in the country (41%), music or poetry all are more inspirational than Jesus (24%) or Nelson Mandela (20%), and all those plus Princess Diana (13%) are more inspirational than "a sacred text" with a mere 6%.16.
In 2013: "Parents (82%), Friends (77%), Politicians (38%), Brands (32%) and Celebrities (21%) are all more important to them than religious leaders (12%). That's right - Nike, Apple, J-Lo and the Jedward Twins are influential, whereas the local Bishops, Priests and other religious figures ... are the least referred to"34.
|2001 Census||2011 Census1|
|Islam||1 546 626|
|2 700 000|
In the 2011 national census, 2.7m British residents described themselves as Muslim, up from 1.5m in 2001. Islam in the UK is socially linked with a few specific countries, from which Muslims came - or were brought during the slave trade - into the UK. The largest Muslim communities are found in Bradford, Birmingham and London42. Tablighi Muslims tend to be connected with Morocco43. The 500 Barelvi Islamic mosques42 are largely linked with Pakistan43 (or rather India, before 1947), and 800 Deobandi Islamic mosques "with a clientele composed either of [...] Indian Muslims [from the] Gujarati community [and] Pakistani muhajirs"43. In general, these communities have a higher birth rate and are younger than the national average - 28 years (in 2011), compared with 41 years44.
|Mosques by Faction (2017)||Qty|
|Deobandi (Sufi)||797||41.2%||"A clientele composed [of] Indian Muslims [from the] Gujarati community [and] Pakistani muhajirs"43.|
|Barelvi (Sufi)||459||23.7%||Often linked with Pakistan communities43 (or rather Indian, before 1947)|
|Sunni||60||3.1%||Tablighi (Sunni) Muslims tend to be connected with Morocco43.|
|Twelvers and Other Shi'a||59||3.1%|
|Total Mosques and Prayer Rooms||1934|
Interestingly, the 2001 Census officials included "heathens" in the "no religion" category. Heathenism is a set of distinct religious beliefs, one of the religions generally called Pagan, along with Druidism, neo Paganism and Wicca. Although some may put heathen when they do mean "no religion", some will not. I do not know if it is more correct to list Heathens as "no religion" or "other religion". Asatru, Odinism and other Northern religions are likely to have followers who identify themselves as heathens. So, like you get Christians who are Protestant and Catholic amongst others, you also get Pagans who are neo Pagan, Wicca, etc, and Heathens who are Asatru, Odinists, etc. Listing these as non-religious is probably a mistake, unlike the Jedis.
During email correspondence, the Office for National Statistics revealed further information about the 'Heathen' category. They said: "Responses of "Heathen", with a number of other responses that either indicated no clear religion or faith, or where there was some ambiguity in the term written in, were put in the category of 'No religion'. There were less than 300 people included in this way in the 'No religion' category".5
“The UK Census of 2001 saw 390 127 people put down "Jedi Knight" as their religion - that's 0.7% of the population46,47. This resulted from an internet campaign that preceded the Census48,47. An urban myth had developed that this many votes would make Jedi an "official religion", however this is not true, as the UK is a secular country and there is no such thing as a government-wide list of "official religions"49. The UK's Office for National Statistics concluded that this was a parody (a joke) and included those who wrote Jedi Knight in the "no religion" category50,51.
“Just over 390,000 of the 52,000,000 people in England and Wales wrote in 'Jedi' on their census form. The 'Jedi' response was most popular in Brighton and Hove, with 2.6 per cent of Census respondents quoting it, followed by Oxford (2.0 per cent), Wandsworth (1.9), Cambridge (1.9), Southampton (1.8) and Lambeth (1.8).
It was least popular in Easington, on the north-east coast of England between Sunderland and Hartlepool, where it was quoted by only 0.16 per cent of respondents. Sedgefield, Knowsley, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil and Wear Valley all show less than 0.2 per cent of respondents quoting 'Jedi'.”
Office for National Statistics (2001)52
The campaign was not maintained, and in 2011, less than half of the total number put down "Jedi Knight" as their religion - 176 632 people.”
“1893 Satanists were counted in the UK's National Census of 2011 despite "extensive coverage in the media"53 which make some suspect that numbers are higher. The number of Satanists is notoriously difficult to estimate. Most Satanic groups are informal, temporary and ad-hoc (so 'congregation' numbers cannot be counted), and the mainstream Church of Satan does not publish membership numbers. Also, many Satanists are not members of the Church of Satan. Hence, estimates of numbers of Satanists have varied wildly according to authors' imaginations and paranoias. In 2001 and 2002 I enquired at London Satanists meetings and found that only half identified themselves as a Satanist on the census. Others put "atheist" or even Christian denominations as their religion. This is a significant under-representation. As 1525 were counted in the 2001 Census, an estimate of 3050 seems sensible. Now in 2011, with slight growth in terms of percent of the population since 2001, an estimate of 3850 seems sensible54.”
Pagans, Wiccans and "Witchcraft" folk together make up over 70 000 people in England and Wales, according to the 2011 Census results. These minorities are not readily discriminated against in the UK as they are in some countries such as the USA. Maybe this acceptance comes from the UK's longer history with modern Paganisms. Professor Hutton states that it is 'the only religion which England has ever given the world':
“The unique significance of pagan witchcraft to history is that it is the only religion which England has ever given the world. The English have always developed their own distinctive versions of other religious systems ever since their state acquired an identity, but this is the first which has ever originated in it, and spread from there to many other parts of the world.”
"The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft" by Ronald Hutton (1999)55
The following is the final summary on my text on faith schools in the UK, the full text delves into many of the issues introduced below:
“In 2001 there were 7000 state faith schools in England (of 25000). The worst teach creationism/intelligent design and some, although they excel at religious education and Koranic studies, fail on everything else from science to fitness. Faith schools on the whole take in far fewer poor pupils and fewer of those with special education needs than do non-religious all-inclusive schools. Conversely, faith schools tend to select better-educated and more well-off pupils. Reports on the race riots of 2001 criticized faith schools for creating the segregation that increases racial and religious sectarian tensions. Over 800 studies by social psychologists have found that cooperating and extended contact between racial groups is a very good way of producing positive race relations. Faith schools sometimes produce better-than-average results, but they also select students based on ability (despite attempts to stop that), whereas state schools accept poorer students in the first place. The Home Office, National Union of Teachers, Chief Schools Inspector, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers have all spoken out against faith schools. The United Nations Human Rights Commission and the European Union's Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia both recommend non-sectarian education, especially of children, as a means to reduce intolerance. The National Secular Society has long campaigned for the government to reverse the creation of faith schools (100 new ones since 1997), and instead convert faith schools back into all-inclusive secular schools where religion and race do not define the children. Abolishing faith schools will decrease social tension between ethnic and religious groups, increase the fairness of the schools system (as religious schools accept fewer poor and disadvantaged students), and reduce the scope for religious extremism and indoctrination.”
|Church Of Scientology||0.1||0.2||0.3||0.3||0.4|
|% population Trinitarian||68||67||67||66||64||71.6|
|% population Other||4||5||5||6||7|
Davie (1997) provides most of the historical data, but, I am not sure that her "Trinitarian" is exactly equal to the 2001 Census' "Christian" category. There are certainly non-trinitarian Christians. Nonetheless, I have transpositioned the numbers of 'Christians' in the 2001 column for ease of comparison. More importantly, the Census would have been a radically different context for people to answer as to their religion.
|England Cremation Rates (%)|
|Source:||Grace Davie 1997||Cremation Society|
“From 1939 cremation rapidly overtook religious coffin funerals as the preferred postmortem arrangement for bodies. England was the first Western country to adopt cremation as widely. Secular government should rightly have control over such matters as it is wrong to force particular rituals on a populace consisting of multiple faiths and varied beliefs.
England has acute problems with space to bury the dead, most formal burial grounds are full and rotate slots, smashing the bottom of old coffins and putting new ones on top. There are few other options, as such, religions that have impractical dogmas telling people how they should behave towards the dead have become obsolete and largely ignored by many, especially professionals.”