Ecklund, you may recall, is the sociologist with a fondness for counting anyone who expresses awe at the universe as belonging to the religious camp, artificially inflating the number of Christians around. Now the RDF has commissioned an analysis of the population of the UK to see how many people are really Christian in their beliefs, vs. nominally Christian by heritage. The results probably won’t surprise you.
Not only has the number of UK adults calling themselves Christian dropped dramatically since the 2001 Census – our research suggests that it is now only 54% – even those who still think of themselves as Christian show very low levels of religious commitment:
• Only about a third of what we shall call ‘Census-Christians’ cited religious beliefs as the reason they had ticked the Christian box in the 2011 Census
• 37% of them have never or almost never prayed outside a church service
• Asked where they seek most guidance in questions of right and wrong, only 10% of Census-Christians said it was from religious teachings or beliefs
• Just a third (32%) believe Jesus was physically resurrected; half (49%) do not think of him as the Son of God
• And when given 4 books of the Bible to select from and asked which was the first book of the New Testament, only 35% could identify Matthew as the correct answer.
I think the issue is settled. The UK is a diverse and largely secular nation. All the fanatics who whimper about Europe being Christian need to adjust to reality: they are a minority.
Now I just wish the demographics of the United States had a similar arrangement…but I suspect that a majority here aren’t just Christian, but pig-ignorant evangelical/fundamentalist-leaning Christian. We need a few more years to catch up with European enlightenment.