The Church of England have a great response out to the recently published 2011 UK Census Data.
The Church of England today welcomed the publication of the latest Census figures which confirmed that Christianity remains the largest religion in England in 2011, with 31.5 million people (59.4 per cent of the population) self-identifying as Christians.
“These results confirm that we remain a faithful nation,” said the Rev Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Archbishop’s Council. “England remains a country where the majority of the nation actively identifies the role that faith plays in their life. Clearly we welcome the fact that Christianity remains the most populous faith in England – with six in ten people identifying themselves as Christian. When all faiths are taken together, people of faith account for two-thirds of the nation – two in every three people identify themselves as having a faith.
“Obviously the fall in those choosing to identify themselves as Christians is a challenge. We need to look closely at the fuller figures published next year and to reflect on what these tell us. One of the reasons may well be fewer people identifying as “Cultural Christians” i.e. those who have no active involvement with churches and who may previously have identified as Christian for cultural or historical reasons. They indicate a changing pattern of religious life in which traditional or inherited identities are less taken for granted than they used to be.”
But the best bit is at the end.
Doubtless, campaigning atheist organisations will attempt to minimise the significance of the majority figures for faith and Christianity. In fact, these figures draw attention to the free ride that had been given to these bodies whose total membership would barely fill half of Old Trafford. For instance there are an estimated 28,000 members of British Humanist Association – the same membership as Union of Catholic Mothers, whilst the National Secular Society has an estimated 5,000 – the same as the British Sausage Appreciation Society.
A sizzling response. Nicely played.
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The NSS may only have as many members as the Sausage Appreciation Society but there will be more people eating sausages on Sunday morning than there will be in the pews of the Church of England,
Could be, Terry – although do you have the sausage figures?
And your comparison is not quite right. The real question is sausage consumption v overall church attendance. If you want to talk about st the CofE then you should compare it to Cumberland sausage consumption, or perhaps Lincolnshire sausage.
Either way, I’d be prepared to stick my neck out and say I think you might be wrong – far more people are probably eating muesli. Or bacon.
I cannot really say much David, I am too busy trying to process the combination of the terms ‘Church of England’ and ‘Great Response’.
I know, but the new guy is doing a great job. Credit where it’s due.
“These results confirm that we remain a faithful nation,”
Woo. That’s a big claim, just for some census data. I don’t think ‘identifying as Christian’ = ‘faithful.’
“Doubtless, campaigning atheist organisations will attempt to minimise the significance of the majority figures for faith and Christianity”
This is true. Even more true in that, when we were recently taking our census in Australia, I had atheist friends campaigning for people to not mark any religion on the form. They really, really hate anyone identifying themselves with any faith.
I think you’re entirely correct. I suspect, however, at that point the CofE are using the term “faith” in a very broad sense.
As for the local campaign here over the census, I made much the same point at the time.