Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christians down, Muslims up

In the 2001 Census, 71.7% of people in England and Wales called themselves Christians. By 2011, according  to newly published figures from the 2011 Census, the figure was down by 13 per cent to 59.3% (a total of 33.2 million). There may be a drop in the number of people who were not practising Christians but identified themselves as Christians for traditional reasons.

Islam, with 2.7 million adherents, was up from three per cent to 4.8%.

Seven per cent of people did not answer the question on religion. Some 14 million ticked the box which said "no religion," double the figure in 2001.

The number of people who identified themselves as Jedi Knights had dropped by more than 50 per cent, but they still ranked as the seventh most popular faith. Among the "other faiths" were 1,893 adherents of Satanism, 1,276 of witchcraft, 541 of animism, 184 Thelemites and 124 Confucianists.

The Church of England said the death of Christian England had been greatly exaggerated. Some 253 Anglican churches had closed over the past decade, while 1,000 new congregations had been started.

"Doubtless campaigning atheist organisations will attempt to minimise the significance of the majority figures for faith and Christianity. In fact, these figures draw attention to the free ride that has been given to these bodies whose total membership would barely fill half of Old Trafford. For instance there are an estimated 28,000 members of British Humanist Association - the same membership as Union of Catholic Mothers, whilst the National Secular Society has an estimated 5,000 - the same as the British Sausage Appreciation Society."