Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Is the UK a Christian country?

Over the weekend David Cameron came out with the line that he is proud Britain is a Christian country I have my doubts as to whether this is true or not. I know many people who are not religious in this country personally. In a recent census of 2011 65% of people answered said they identified as non religious. So does the Christian country link David Cameron is trying to make stand up at all? In a country which is becoming further and further detached from the establishment by the day with trust in establishments like the media, police and politicians falling all the time is faith something which could fill that gap ? Not as far as I can tell. Church going is falling and most people only attend a church for a wedding despite not attending regularly. Religious holidays are seen as more of a chance for a day off rather than a religious respect. Britain today is a mixture of all religions and faith's. I would like to see the church become less involved in society if possible so removing bishops from the house's of parliament for example. We need a country that respects people’s right to believe if they so wish and that goes for all faith's but also recognise many now are non religious and care little for it and wish to live happily alongside all others. David Cameron’s comments were rightly described as divisive as Britain as it should be is a diverse wide and buzzing country with lots of different people living alongside each other. "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.” vertheless, 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.” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/is-britain-really-a-land-of-god-furious-debate-after-david-cameron-claims-we-are-a-christian-country-9273542.html

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