F Rosa Rubicondior: Massive Increase in Non-Belief in UK

Friday 12 April 2019

Massive Increase in Non-Belief in UK

Number of non-religious people in Britain jumps by 46%, new figures show » Humanists UK

Figures released by the Office of National Statistic last week show that non-belief in the UK has increased by an astonishing 46% since 2011.

Over the same period, the percentage of those self-identifying as Christian has fallen by a further 15%. This is consistent with other polls that have show a sharp decline in religious affiliation and particularly affiliation to the Anglican Church whose attendance continues to fall.

However, there has been criticism, notable from Humanists UK, about the leading nature of the question asked, which significantly overestimates religious belief by tying it to religion as a cultural identifier rather than a description of actual belief.

The question asked by ONS was "What is your religion?". Other studies have shown that when people are asked, "What is your religion, if any?" they give a different answer. Subliminally, the question as asked by ONS implies the respondent is expected to have one. For example, the British Social Attitudes Survey, by using a two-part question, concluded that 52% of British people have no religious belief.

Other surveys have reinforced the view that religion is increasingly seen as a cultural identifier, especially in a multicultural society. A Pew Research poll last May, for instances, found that 16% of Europeans who identify as 'Christian' don't actually believe in God!

We should expect to find similar confusion amongst Jews, Muslims and other religions such as Hindu and Sikhism.

These new figures show a continuation of one of the most significant social trends in UK society, which is becoming de facto secular in nature, yet this has not been reflected in government policies. Religion, especially Christian and mostly Anglican, remains embedded in British institutions with privileges far beyond their numbers and any claim they might have to represent popular opinion.

The government continues to fund faith schools which discriminate in their intake, to insist on a daily act of collective worship in school which both indoctrinates children and isolates dissenters. Christian prayers are still said at the start of the day in Parliament, and a completely unjustifiable 26 seats in our upper chamber are reserved for Anglican bishops. And of course, there is the monarch as symbolic head of the established church with the appointment of bishops approved on her behalf by the Prime Minister.

As the British people increasing reject religion in general and Christianity in particular, an established Anglican Church can no longer be justified, nor can the privileged funding of discriminatory faith schools. Religions need to be treated as the divisive cults and barriers to integration and social harmony they have become.

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