Tag Archives: Census

Is Denis Skinner MP one of them?

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A DERBYSHIRE town has the biggest number of people worshipping the devil, according to census data.

In the 2011 census, people were asked to state their religion and 17 people in Bolsover indicated they worshipped the anti-Christ – the largest number in the country – according to the Derbyshire Times.

Many different religious beliefs were put down on the census including Christians, Buddhists, Pagans, Star Wars’ Jedi Knights and Scientologists.

A spokesman for the Office For National Statistics would not comment on whether they thought the data was genuine but added: “We collect the data and whatever people’s choices in how they fill in the religious affiliation is entirely up to them.”

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A Christian Country?

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CAHAL MILMO Monday 21 April 2014 – the Independent

For 50 years a council-run crematorium in Bath displayed a 4ft cross etched into one of its panoramic windows. Recently it was replaced with a “removable cross” to be displayed or concealed according to the departed’s wishes.

 

The new cross, printed on an acrylic sheet, was not part of the original plans for the £140,000 refurbishment of Haycombe Chapel (which despite its name is not a consecrated space). Instead it was a compromise after a petition objecting to the removal of the cross gathered 4,000 signatures.

The battle of Haycombe Chapel’s cross encapsulates Britain’s increasingly fractious relationship with its Christian heritage and the tension between those who seek a proudly areligious society and those, including the Prime Minister, who believe we should be more outspoken about our foundation faith.

On Monday, David Cameron found himself under attack from a coalition of 55 leading liberal voices, including author Philip Pullman and philosopher AC Grayling, for fostering “alienation” across the UK by insisting that Britons should be “more confident about our status as a Christian country”.

Behind the row lie wider questions about just how Christian Britain is in 2014.

The statistics are both for and against Mr Cameron and his detractors. When the 2011 census was taken, 59 per cent of those in England and Wales described themselves as Christian. But the 2001 census found 72 per cent were nominally Christian.

The net loss of 4.1 million Christians would have been significantly worse had it not been for an influx of 1.2 million foreign-born believers – many from more strongly religious countries such as Poland and Nigeria – coming to Britain.

Research by the House of Commons Library in 2012 found that the number of non-believers – the nation’s atheists and agnostics are growing by nearly 750,000 a year – will overtake Christians by 2030.

The result, according to those who believe religion should be expunged from politics, is a disproportionate influence for the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, which critics say are out of step with those to whom they preach.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “If you put forward the idea that this is a Christian country with the implicit idea that Christians are somehow superior to other citizens then its leads down a dangerous path of prioritising one group’s belief ahead of others.

“Church of England attendance now stands at around 800,000 on a typical Sunday. It becomes increasingly difficult, therefore, to justify its privileged position, particularly when it espouses views on subjects such as gay marriage, which the rest of society has long since left behind.”

One senior cleric rejected the criticism, accusing Mr Cameron’s critics of propagating an “intolerant secularism” that ignores a country imbued with Christian culture, history and values.

The Right Reverend Mark Davies, the Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury, who has said that Christians might soon become “strangers in our own land”, told The Independent: “Christianity is the single most important element in England’s history. From our legal system to our constitution, it is at the very foundations of national identity.

“There is a danger of airbrushing this from our memory and the intolerant secularism that we are seeing expressed does not allow for acknowledgement of that contribution and its importance to our present life.”

Perhaps optimistically, some church leaders have insisted that while the “soft faith” of values and upbringing that once meant many Britons would declare themselves “Christian” without ever crossing the threshold of a church has fallen away, those who now volunteer their faith represent a core of wholehearted belief.

As the Roman Catholic Bishop’ Conference of England and Wales put it: “Christianity is no longer a religion of culture but a religion of decision and commitment.”

Rather like Haycombe Chapel and its movable cross, the reality of Christian Britain is probably more complex, with Britons increasingly adopting a “pick and mix” approach to faith.

Meanwhile, both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope have recently made conciliatory statements on homosexuality.

Nevertheless, the ability of religion to enflame debate is undimmed. As Billy Connolly once put it: “It seems to me that Islam and Christianity and Judaism all have the same God, and he’s telling them all different things.”

 

COMMENT:

The UK Census results are somewhat misleading as the census form ask what religion do you belong to.
Many who put down “Christian” do so to distinguish between Muslim or Buddhism etc.
If a qualifying question asked…….”Are you a religious person (I.e you pray and you go church/mosques/temples on a regular basis) then many would say “No”……..and this would skip the question regarding which religion they belong to.
So 59% who put down Christian is a gross over estimation of those who truly were religious let alone “Christian”.
If the 59% were truly accurate then that would mean that every other person you meet should be a Bible reading, church going worshiper….. but that clearly is not the case, in truth “Christians” probably struggle to reach 1/6 of the populace…….So no Mr.Cameron……we are NOT a Christian nation……and that is no bad thing…..religion has for too long had a hold on not just this country but all counties in the world.

 

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April 23, 2014 · 11:51

Change and Decay 2: Church of England

imageJust 800,000 worshippers attend a Church of England service on the average Sunday
Numbers in the pews have fallen to less than half the levels of the 1960s
Census evidence shows a widespread fall in allegiance to Christianity
Numbers of Christians has fallen more than four million in a decade

By STEVE DOUGHTY, SOCIAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT
PUBLISHED: 00:06, 22 March 2014   Daily Mail

The Church of England attracts fewer than 800,000 worshippers to its churches on a typical Sunday, according to new estimates yesterday.

Numbers in the pews have fallen to less than half the levels of the 1960s, the count showed.

The signs of continuing decline in support for the CofE follow census evidence of a widespread fall in allegiance to Christianity, with numbers calling themselves Christian dropping by more than four million in a decade.

Fewer than 800,000 worshippers attend Church of England services on Sundays. Census evidence has revealed a fall in the number of people denoting themselves as Christians. Congregation levels now stand at half the level of the 1960s

The Church’s figure for ‘usual Sunday attendance’, the method used since the 1930s to measure congregations, found CofE churches had 795,800 worshippers on Sundays in 2012. The numbers were 9,000 down on the previous year.

They indicate that repeated efforts by the Church to modernise its services and its image – through a series of modern language rewrites of its prayer book, attempts by its leaders to appeal to supposed public concern with poverty, and efforts to make its government more efficient – have not succeeded in drawing young people.
Its report yesterday said that research had shown ‘there is no single recipe for growth; there are no simple solutions to decline’, adding ‘the Church must retain its young people if it is to thrive.’

Dr Bev Botting, the Church’s research chief, said: ‘These statistics for 2012 show that weekly attendance over the past decade has not changed significantly. The introduction of cleaner data and more rigorous methodological approaches and analysis means these figures provide a clearer picture of Anglican churchgoing in the decade to 2012.’

Church officials abandoned the ‘usual Sunday attendance’ method of counting as their main measure of congregations in the late 1990s after is showed numbers in the pew had dwindled below a million. It now uses for the headline figure ‘average weekly attendance’, which takes in people who come to churches on days other than Sunday.
The weekly figure averaged 1.05 million in 2012, showing ‘no significant change over the past decade.’

According to the 2011 national census, the number of Christians fell by 4.1 million over 10 years to 33.2 million – of whom only a third go to church except for wedding, baptisms or funerals.

The census found a 45 per cent rise over the same 10 years in numbers who say they have no religion, to 14.1 million in 2001.
The decline of religion is at its fastest among young people. Nearly a third, 32 per cent, of those under 25 said on their census forms that they had no religious belief.

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Kwiki Fruits

Jedi still believe in the Force despite census snub
BEN HEATHER – THE DOMINION POST
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013

The Kiwi Jedi are being purged, with nearly 20,000 followers of the force still not enough to qualify as a legitimate religion.

Figures released on Thursday show 19,089 people put down Jedi as their religion in the 2013 Census. They make up more than two thirds of 28,300 people who professed faith was deemed an invalid response by Statistics New Zealand and recorded as “out of scope”.

On the face of it, there are more Jedis in New Zealand than Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Brethren.

And while the number had dropped sharply from 2001, when a global campaign convinces 53,000 Kiwi to claim to follow the Jedi way, they appear to have stabilised, dropping only slightly from the 20,262 recorded in 2006.

Wellington Jedi Renee Lee said it “sucked” that Jedi were not recorded as followers of a legitimate religion, particularly given it had more devotees than some more accepted faiths.

“Jedi is definitely a valid thing,” she said.

“The idea started from a story, but you could say a lot of religions started that way.”

Ms Lee has always been a Star Wars movie fan and converted to Jedi a few years ago.

She has tattoos that include Jedi master Yoda and Princess Leia.

As a faith, it was mostly about being peaceful, kind and fighting the dark side, she said.

She and several friends all put Jedi as their religion on the census, although most did not take it as seriously as she.

“I just think they are cool principles to live by.”

Craig Thomas, formerly of Auckland, ran unsuccessfully for council on a Jedi platform in 2010, promising to bring “wisdom and balance”.

He now lives in Australia, and continues to follow the Jedi way.

He was disappointed Jedi did not make the census list of religions. He said the Church of Scientology managed to get on the list with 315 devotees, and was similarly based on science fiction.

“Jedi is just aslegitimate, if not more so.”

Statistics New Zealand last did a full review what religions it deems within scope in 1999. Several appeals to include Jedi were received in 2005 but were unsuccessful.

Broadly, Statistics NZ counts a religion as any set of beliefs and practices, usually involving a higher divine power, that people use to guide their lives, practically and morally.

Political beliefs, such as Marxism, or lifestyle choices, such as vegetarianism, do not make the cut.

Census manager Gareth Meech said many of the 28,300 “out of scope” religions – including beer and rugby – were clearly people being silly.

There were no plans to review the classification in the short term but there was no reason why Jedi, or even Pastafarianism, could not eventually qualify.

But Victoria University Professor Paul Morris, who specialises in religious studies, said Jedi and Pastafarianism still had a long way to go.

While some devotees might be genuine, many treated the notions almost as religious satire rather than a set of beliefs about the real world.

“Star Wars, for all its glory – and I am a fan – is still in a galaxy far, far away.”

On the other hand, Scientologists were generally genuine believers in a complex mythology and their church was an established institution.

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