Crossing a demographic bridge


The United Kingdom has tripped over the precipice into godlessness. Or at least, into following a different god. They’re waaay ahead of the United States.

England and Wales are now minority Christian countries, according to the 2021 census, which also shows that Leicester and Birmingham have become the first UK cities to have “minority majorities”.

The census revealed a 5.5 million drop in the number of Christians and a 1.2 million rise in the number of people following Islam, bringing the Muslim population to 3.9 million. The changes equate to a 17% fall in Christians and 44% increase in the number of Muslims. It is the first time in a census of England and Wales that fewer than half of the population have described themselves as Christian.

Meanwhile, 37.2% of people – 22.2 million – declared they had “no religion”, the second most common response after Christian. It means that over the past 20 years the proportion of people reporting no religion has soared from 14.8%.

The question I have, though, is that if atheists are so much smarter than other people, and if the percentage of atheists have more than doubled, how do we explain Brexit and the party of Tory wankers running the country? Maybe something is wrong with my premises.

Comments

  1. KG says

    The census reported at your link didn’t cover Scotland or northern Ireland, which run theirs separately. The Scottish results haven’t come out – Scotland’s census took place this year, the others in 2021. Those for northern Ireland show nearly 80% Christian, but of course the population is much smaller. The Scottish figure will be higher than for England and Wales, but a lot lower than for Scotland. So whether the UK as a whole has achieved less than 50% Christian is I think still uncertain.

  2. opposablethumbs says

    Thank you, PZ, for the 100% correct deployment of “wankers”.

    As I believe may have been observed by manymany before me, however, the correct verb here is not “running” but “ruining”.

  3. Matt G says

    From the article:

    The archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said the census result “throws down a challenge to us not only to trust that God will build his kingdom on Earth but also to play our part in making Christ known”.

    He added: “We have left behind the era when many people almost automatically identified as Christian but other surveys consistently show how the same people still seek spiritual truth and wisdom and a set of values to live by.”

    People know about Christ, Vicar – you never let us forget. But keep the dream alive!

  4. petesmif says

    RE; Wankers. A most clear indication that the current UK government does not represent the governed

  5. StevoR says

    Being atheist makes you neither (ethically) good nor bad but simply an atheist.

    The same is true of theists.

    Agnostics? I’m not sure there.

  6. StevoR says

    how do we explain Brexit and the party of Tory wankers running the country?<?Blockquote>

    For whatvery little it may be worth and coming from an Aussie based on mainly on news and comedy shows plus personal opinionatedness; Brexit comes from a refernedum that should never have been called with people casting a protest voting without thinking of the consequence sor really aksiunderstanding the question being asked and the Tory party because the Britsih system didn’t insist on an election being called when it shoulda been.

  7. StevoR says

    Well that’s an oddly apt html fail onmy part. mea culpa.

    Fix & expansion

    Brexit comes from a referendum that should never have been called with people casting a protest voting without thinking of the consequences (ie a big F U to the pigskull Fucker ex-PM David Cameron) or really understanding the question being asked and the Tory party because the British system didn’t insist on an election being called when it shoulda been. (ie when the BoJo quit or before and certainly when Truss quit. Pity they coudn’t have forced an election because think most Brits now would vote Labour in? Also again becuase Murdochés malignant media although hopefully his influence is waning in Old England as it is here in Oz perhaps?

  8. kingoftown says

    @1 KG
    The difference between NI and England/Wales with religion is partly down to our sectarian politics. There are plenty of irreligious republican “catholics” and loyalist “protestants” here. The same is true for Scotland though to a much lesser extent.

    Interesting that England don’t break down Christians by denomination. I suspect the size of the Church of England would raise too many questions about its place in the House of Lords.

  9. StevoR says

    @ ^ kingoftown : Raising again the old question of how how many “religious” people are actually all that religious in absolutely beliving in and following their religions and how many simply belong to the religion by cultural and traditional inertia and don’t really believe in their religion(s*) but just tick the box(es) because, yeah, that’s our culture / family / identiity / association thingamajiggities.. ?

    IOW taking the actively practising, and sincerely believing figures, well, its hard to determine but also certainly a lot less for all faiths?

    .* Eg a lot of Japanese are both Shnto and Buddhist although somewhat less common in other places and cultures to be multi-religious at least in stated belief tho’ Mammonism / extremist Capitalist “”Invisible Handist” cult & other faiths ..yeah..Then the whole separate question of religion supposedly teaches X vs followers say and do Y thing..

  10. birgerjohansson says

    Mammonism is the dominant cult in Britain and USA. The insincere talk about church and family from the rulers is no more true than the drivel issuing from Trump, Bojo and their clones..

  11. KG says

    kingoftown@9,
    Yes, living in Scotland I’m aware of the continued (although much diminished) importance of sectarianism here, most evident at football matches in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Back in the 1950s, Protestants almost all voted Conservative and Catholics Labour – so Scotland always returned mostly Conservative MPs. As sectarianism declined, Labour became the largest party as many Protestants switched – I don’t know how many Catholics switched to the Tories. Now the SNP is dominant, but Glasgow and nearby areas, which have the highest proportion of Catholics, are still to some extent Labour strongholds.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    The information about the rise of muslim believers reveals a double challenge: these people must be protected from both racism (from the local gammons) and from the religion forced down their throats by their lying imams (who know about the flaws and contradictions in their scripture but pretend it does not exist).

  13. rorschach says

    “The question I have, though, is that if atheists are so much smarter than other people, and if the percentage of atheists have more than doubled, how do we explain Brexit and the party of Tory wankers running the country? Maybe something is wrong with my premises.”

    Didn’t we figure out by ca. 2011 through personal experience that atheists are not necessarily the clever people, just because they realised that fairies and invisible omnipotent cloud men don’t exist?

  14. Allison says

    As has been mentioned, it’s not obvious what it means to say someone is “Christian”, other than they checked off that box on the census form.

    Some of these people neither believe nor practice any form of Christianity; they’ve grown up in a Christian culture (e.g., celebrating Christmas, etc.) and it’s never occurred to them to say anything else. It’s like being Jewish in the USA — many Jews have no interest in the religion and may not even know when Yom Kippur is, but they grew up in a Jewish family and definitely don’t feel any connection with Christianity.

    There are also people who belong to a religious community but ignore the teachings and commandments that they don’t agree with; a lot of Roman Catholics in the USA are like that — e.g., the overwhelming majority of USA Catholic ignore the dogma that using birth control is a sin.

    And there are those who belong to a religious community because they want a community, perhaps especially a community that shares their values. They may not even believe in a god at all, or care about the religious teachings. But if they belong to a (nominally) Christian community, they might check off the box “Christian.”

    One thing is that for a large fraction of the population in “Western” countries, the existence or non-existence of “God” is simply irrelevant. Or they may believe or not believe, but see their relationship or non-relationship with some sort of divinity as a private matter.

  15. birgerjohansson says

    The traditional churches may struggle, but we now have secular cults like anti-vaxxers, flat-earthers et al.
    BTW God Awful Movies just added the second “Vaxxed” film to Youtube, if you want to enjoy an hour of cheerful mocking.

  16. Dunc says

    The question I have, though, is that if atheists are so much smarter than other people, and if the percentage of atheists have more than doubled, how do we explain Brexit and the party of Tory wankers running the country?

    Whilst I realise that’s not a serious question… These trends are largely generational, and younger people vote at much lower rates than old folks. There will be a much larger proportion of the 37.2% who say thay have no religion represented in the 27.8% of the population who didn’t vote in the Brexit referendum and the 32.7% who didn’t vote in the last general election than of the 46.2% who still say they’re Christian.

  17. cicely says

    The question I have, though, is that if atheists are so much smarter than other people, and if the percentage of atheists have more than doubled, how do we explain Brexit and the party of Tory wankers running the country?

    Because religion and politics fit the same “keyhole”, and each spawns its own variety of fundamentalists?

  18. lotharloo says

    The question I have, though, is that if atheists are so much smarter than other people, and if the percentage of atheists have more than doubled, how do we explain Brexit and the party of Tory wankers running the country?

    The only advantage you are getting from having more atheists is that they will not do dumbshit because of religion, but other reasons.

  19. says

    I’m slightly disappointed to find that my home city has dropped from the most “No religion” responses in 2011 to just 5th in 2021. But since the absolute percentage went from 42.5% to 53.5%, I suppose we’re still going in the right direction.

  20. fentex says

    Regarding “The question I have, though, is that if atheists are so much smarter than other people,”…

    Yes, your premises are wrong. There’s nothing equating being atheist with being smart – there are any number of reasons for being atheist and none of them are “being smart”.

    Religion is not a rational thing, so rational debate has nothing to do with it except to excuse prior choices and justify existing decisions.

    Being atheist is simply not being gullible about one thing, and that doesn’t require much intelligence, which is used to explicate nonsense as much as refute it.

  21. Silentbob says

    @ 14 rorschach, 22 fentex

    Yeah, that was the joke.

    -———————————-

    The irony has often been observed that while the US officially separates church and state, the head of state of the UK (King Charles) is automatically head of the Church of England (because back in the day English Kings didn’t want to answerable to the Pope). So the head of state is not only necessarily a Christian, but… you know, Head Christian.

  22. captainblack says

    BREXIT and Conservative vote (they are very close to being the same thing) are explained by a 51.9/48.1 % split on for/against BREXIT on a turn out of 72.2%. Which I make ~37.5% of the electorate voted for BREXIT, in a sense BREXIT is the fault of the 27.8% who did not vote (which in any properly run referendum on such an important change, should have been counted as a vote for the status quo).

  23. says

    The answer to your last question there is shenanigans and rat fuckery.
    There are plenty of assholes and idiots in the UK, but they’re not an insurmountable political force.

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