Faith in UK is eroding

Some of you might recall the recent campaign in the UK encouraging people to mark “non-religious” on census surveys, and while the effort had positive results, there are still Britons who check-mark the religion they were born into.

Cognizant of that fact, a recent survey conducted by the British Humanist Association asked respondents two different questions designed to identify the percentage of people who still chose to incorrectly answer this question by including another one asking them if they were religious or not. The results were enlightening to say the least:

While 61% of the poll’s respondents said they did belong to a religion, 65% of those surveyed answered “no” to the further question: “Are you religious?

Among respondents who identified themselves as Christian, fewer than half said they believed Jesus Christ was a real person who died, came back to life and was the son of God.

The survey seems to indicate individuals are still identifying themselves with the religions of their parents, presumably because they’re reticent to accept the label of atheist.

Hey Britons, it’s time you fucking stopped pretending to be religious, and stop filling in your surveys incorrectly! If you don’t believe in a personal savior, then stop saying you’re a Christian. Trust me, the real ones think you’ll burn in hell anyways; why give them the satisfaction of thinking they are the majority?

Comments (10)

  • avatar

    Andy Scott

    But… but… but…

    I had no choice in our last census and was marked down as Church of Scotland.

    Needless to say, it shall not be the case this year and I will be making sure that my family members who have told me that they don’t believe in God actually say so on the bloody form.

  • avatar

    TheEnglishAtheist

    I’m quite happy to say that all five members of our household ticked “No religion” by their own accord.

  • avatar

    Apollo

    Indeed, I highly suggest anyone from the UK read the information on the Censes Campaign website.

    And stand up for your rights people. Even if you are a dependant, you have the right to fill in your own section. Don’t let your parents fill it in for you. This is what is going to influence UK policy for the next decade.

  • avatar

    Aegis

    Hell yes. Britain’s finally waking up a little bit.

    Also, I keep forgetting to fill my Census in. Thanks for the reminder!

  • avatar

    Apollo

    You can do it online.

    Just did ours, it seemed to work without problem and was suspiciously user friendly for something put together by the UK goverment.

    Plus if you do it online, it reduces the amount of processing time, as it will not have to be entered by hand and no chance of typos.

  • avatar

    Mike

    There’s an interesting paper here http://arxiv.org/abs/1012.1375 (as reported by the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12811197) about using census data to create a mathematical model that predicts a trend towards the extinction of religion in some western secular societies… we can only hope :)

  • avatar

    WCLPeter

    Jake,

    I can’t remember if you talked about it on a previous show but, in case you haven’t, please be sure to mention that Stephen Harper has cancelled the Long Form Census for 2011. Instead we will be having a “voluntary” Long Form that has no consequences if its not filled out.

    This is dangerous because the current Short Form census that all Canadians have to fill out doesn’t have a question on Religion, it’s considered too private and intrusive to ask it on the Short Form. Since the Long Form is now voluntary only certain groups are likely to fill it out meaning certain religious numbers are going to be skewed.

    Those religious numbers will be used to justify decisions on public policy.

    You’ve said on a number of occasions that your podcast is one of the most downloaded shows on Atheism in iTunes, I’m hoping you can put the word out that if you are an Atheist who lives in Canada and you receive the voluntary Long Form, they’re only sending it to about 4.5 million people, that you need to do your civic duty and fill the fucking thing out.

    Even if you’re a closeted Atheist, remember that the census is anonymous and while they know who its sent to they won’t know the specific person it came back from, make sure you do like our brothers and sisters in the UK are campaigning for and mark yourself as an Atheist. At least you’ll be helping keep the Evangelicals, who will likely fill out the voluntary form in droves, from skewing the religious numbers too much.

    Pete…

    PS: If you need some more background, of if you’re just curious, here’s the wiki on Canada’s 2011 Census:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_2011_Census

  • avatar

    Etiene

    Try as I might, I can’t get my other half to tick the ‘No religion’ box. It’s a voluntary question and she’s not ticking anything else, but it still bothers me since the next chance to register such things is a further ten years away!

  • avatar

    Will Rodbourne

    A lot of people in the UK (even though they have no strong religious convictions and very rarely if ever attend church) still think that christening or baptising a child is the expected norm, just like they’ll expect to have a church wedding. And for a lot of these people the only times they’ll be in a church are due to births, marriages and deaths.

    Amongst my childhood friends no-one went to church regularly nor did they really believe (we all thought hymns were boring and pointless, for example) yet all of them had been christened or baptised and I dare say they would probably put down ‘Christian’ on a form unless they’d done some serious thinking about it.

    Basically, ‘Christian’ is the default position in a lot of people’s minds and they would need very good reasons to instead put ‘No religion’. Of course to most of us here that seems entirely backwards, but that’s the way it is.

  • avatar

    BumbleBee

    Not being religious or not believing in the divinity of Christ are not the same as being an Atheist! I know I’m splitting hairs, but there are a good number of people who celibate Jesus as a moral teacher (no idea why). In this sense, they are technically Christians. Don’t forget, it Christianity a few hundred years to decide whether Christ was divine or not!

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