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309623.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:05 am Reply with quote

Q: Based on churchgoers, what is the UK's most predominant faith?

F: Church of England

A: Roman Catholic

More people in Britain attend mosques than the Church of England. It is for the first time that Muslims have overtaken Anglicans. According to figures 930,000 Muslims attend a place of worship at least once a week, whereas only 916,000 Anglicans do the same.

Immigration from Eastern Europe and conversions are believed to be adding to the number of Muslims. Lord Ahmad Patel, a Labour peer said 10 extra seats should be allocated to other religions. The Church of England has 26 seats in the House of Lords. However, the recent figures do not include Catholics. The Catholic church has 1.5 million British worshippers.

Last edited by Bunter on Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:50 am; edited 1 time in total

309648.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:19 am Reply with quote

It was reported last year that RCs had overtaken CofE churchgoers. Mainly thanks to the influx of Eastern Europeans.

Don't know how that affects your stats.

309685.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:47 am Reply with quote

egg, I think you'd better physically restrain me as well. Those predominantly Roman Catholic persons who have arrived in the UK in recent years are from Central Europe. (Sorry, bit of a hobby horse.)

The Daily Telegraph seems to suggest that at present both RC and CofE churchgoers outnumber those who worship at the mosque - although this may change in the not too distant.

This is at odds with Bunter's original source which says that Muslim worshippers outnumber CofE worshippers. But his source does also say (last paragraph of the inset part) that RC worshippers outnumber both.

309689.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:49 am Reply with quote

That'll teach me for running too quickly with scissors Suze. Now amended.

309696.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:54 am Reply with quote

Sorry Suze, I suppose I meant Eastern Europe in the same way that I consider Birmingham to be in the South. Just a bit Bolton-centric. Will try to be more careful in future.

Incidentally, where would you consider Eastern Europe to begin? Lithuania? East of the Carpathians?

309728.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:15 am Reply with quote

No, no, egg - Birmingham is definitely in the north.

309742.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:28 am Reply with quote

Yea, it's just a bit of Slavic sensitivity, so don't worry about it unduly. There's no general agreement on quite what Eastern Europe is, but Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles are pretty adamant that they aren't it. (Prague is west of Vienna, so Czechland can't be "Eastern". Some of Poland is west of some of Czechland, etc, etc.)

Most Poles would say that Eastern Europe essentially means Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. The Baltic Republics are sometimes included as well, although culturally Lithuania is rather German so is sometimes allowed to count as Central. Others note that Estonia is extremely Finnish, and use that to consider all three as quasi-Nordic.

309775.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:00 am Reply with quote

The thing is that until recently Belarus, Ukraine etc were not countries in their own right. So in the 80s, was Eastern Europe just the European part of the USSR? I'm pretty sure that's not what the phrase generally meant when I was growing up, though I'm not sure exactly which countries it did include.

309815.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:47 am Reply with quote

The answer to the question as put must be "atheism", mustn't it?

309823.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:06 am Reply with quote

egg, you're right of course - in your youth and mine, the term was generally used in Britain and North American to mean all those countries behind the so-called Iron Curtain.

But I'm a firm believer that one should usually avoid the use of terms if the people to whom they apply don't care for them. As came up (not for the first time) on the Outside a couple of days ago, we don't say "The Ukraine" because Ukrainians don't like it. Similarly as regards the notion that Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles (these three in particular) reside in Eastern Europe.

On Flash's question, I'm not actually sure. People whose "religion" is a mixture of [agnosticism / just don't give a toss about religion / have never really thought about it ] would undoubtedly be a larger group than any single group of adherents.

But how common in fact are people who have given the matter serious consideration and "actively" believe that God (or any allied concept) does not exist? I'll grant you Professor C Richard Dawkins.

310029.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:01 pm Reply with quote

Yes, agreed. I was using "atheism" to mean, loosely, "no God", ie an absence of a God rather than a positive affirmation that there is no God. Anyway, you see the point.

310096.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:51 pm Reply with quote

Opinion polls and censuses - neither of which I would consider hugely accurate, but - continue to show a large majority of UK people self-describing as "Christian". The fact that almost none of them attend services or in any other way publicly demonstrate their faith suggests to me that, sadly, the "I reckon there's something out there, I mean there's got to be more to it than this, I wouldn't say I'm religious but I am a very spiritual lady" gang are by far and away the largest group.

But I do think that a-theists, in Flash's rather than suze's sense, run them a decent second.

310137.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:52 pm Reply with quote

There's a third constituency in that Venn Diagram, though: people who are Christian by background, and identify with that culture as well as going along with a kind of Pascal's wager (there's no sense taking chances with eternity, and there are no atheists in a foxhole). I want to claim them for my atheist gang.

310141.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:00 pm Reply with quote

'Atheist' is getting on for being too broad a term to be particularly useful by this stage, though, isn't it? I mean, that lot just described, the Dawkins crowd, and those who just don't give a toss about that sort of thing are three distinct groups lumped together under that one term, for a start. I would argue that, since the question as put is about the predominant faith, only the Dawkins crowd could be considered as an answer, as the other two aren't faiths (and arguably that isn't either, but one could make a case for its being so), but I'm aware this is just fiddling over semantics.

310148.  Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:13 pm Reply with quote

No, it's fair enough and in order to avoid getting entangled in semantics I need to withdraw the word "atheist" as too loaded and select some other term, which can be arbitrary but which means "everyone who either eschews religion or just doesn't care about it". I shall then claim that these people are the largest religious grouping in Britain. Thank you, I'm here all week.


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