From The Guardian:
Faith remains a potent presence at the highest level of UK politics despite a growing proportion of the country’s population defining themselves as non-religious, according to the author of a new book examining the faith of prominent politicians.
Nick Spencer, research director of the Theos thinktank and the lead author of The Mighty and the Almighty: How Political Leaders Do God, uses the example that all but one of Britain’s six prime ministers in the past four decades have been practising Christians to make his point.
So, this is a very good example of how the extent of secularisation has perhaps been exaggerated…
Read on: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/13/religion-faith-still-a-potent-presence-in-uk-politics-says-author?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Email
In class we have been discussing to what extent secularisation is taking place. Shiner argues that one of the key signs of secularisation is when religions ‘disappear’ from public life. Whilst there might be a disappearance compared to the past, often religious leaders are turned to and they act as ‘opinion leaders’ (two step flow) to the British people. An excellent example of this is when religious leaders from five faiths led a minute of silence in tribute to the four innocent victims who were killed during the Westminster terror attack.
Another good example is Radio 4’s Thought for the Day which frequently feature religious leaders.
The Rise of the Unaffiliated
America’s Largest “Religious” Group
The American religious landscape has undergone substantial changes in recent years. However, one of the most consequential shifts in American religion has been the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans. This trend emerged in the early 1990s. In 1991, only six percent of Americans identified their religious affiliation as “none,” and that number had not moved much since the early 1970s. By the end of the 1990s, 14% of the public claimed no religious affiliation. The rate of religious change accelerated further during the late 2000s and early 2010s, reaching 20% by 2012. Today, one-quarter (25%) of Americans claim no formal religious identity, making this group the single largest “religious group” in the U.S.
From The Independent:
The Church of England is considering scrapping a law that requires churches to hold services on Sunday, after a big drop in the number of people going to church.
A paper posted on the organisation’s website reveals leaders are discussing plans to relax the centuries-old law that states services must take place every Sunday.
Read on: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/church-of-england-laws-end-sunday-services-vicars-archbishops-a7367226.html
Taken from The Guardian:
A new poll suggests that only 31% of people in the UK would like a copy of the Bible to take to a desert island. The Radio 4 programme’s imaginary castaways are given a Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, along with their choice of eight pieces of music, another book and one luxury item.
Reflecting the increasing secularity and diversity of British society, the poll found that 56% of respondents would not choose to take a Bible, and another 13% were unsure. Fewer than one in three welcomed the inclusion of a Bible in their musical and literary accompaniments to a solitary existence. There was a noticeable generational difference: 18% of 18-to-24-year-olds would choose a Bible, compared with 39% of over-65s.
The study published in the American Journal of Sociology shows a drop in the number of Americans who claim religious affiliations, attend church regularly and believe in God. It also finds that these drops are driven by generational differences.
We often use Ireland as an example of a country still heavily influenced by the Catholic church, however, this article suggests that their influence is starting to wane. Here are the highlights:
- the Catholic church runs more than 90% of Ireland’s primary schools
- Ireland’s last census, in 2011, showed a big rise in the numbers of non-Catholics. Although those identifying themselves as Catholic were still the vast majority of the 4.5m population, more than 6% – 277,000 people – described themselves as atheist, agnostic, lapsed or of “no religion”. The number was an increase of almost 50% since the previous census in 2006; the next census, due in April, is expected to show an even bigger rise.
- Migration has also led to significant increases in the numbers identifying as Muslim, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Hindu and Buddhist.
- Yet as the power of the pulpit wanes, particularly with the millennial generation, Catholic influence on the state endures. Despite an astonishing 62% vote in favour of same-sex marriage last May, making Ireland the first country in the world to endorse marriage equality through a referendum, the church still holds sway in spheres such as education and reproductive rights.
- Last month, the outgoing education minister, Jan O’Sullivan, abolished Rule 68which gave religion lessons a privileged status in primary schools, ensuring 30 minutes a day was devoted to faith formation. The move followed a poll showing 85% of primary heads believed less time should be spent teaching religion.
- Educate Together, which runs 77 non-religious state primary schools in Ireland – 2.4% of the total – says it cannot meet demand for equality-based education. “We are very significantly oversubscribed,”