THERE are now more people who identify with having no religion in England and Wales than there are Christians, according to a new report.
Based on data recorded in 2014, the analysis found that 48.5 per cent of respondents considered themselves atheists or agnostics, with no ties to organised religion.
Meanwhile those who described themselves as Christian, whether Catholic, Anglican, Evangelical, or scurrying down the rabbit hole of evangelical creeds, accounted for a mere 43.8 per cent.
With the population of so-called ‘nones’ increasing dramatically in recent years, the report’s authors argue that people are no longer simply not practicing the religion they were born into, a trend evident for centuries, but actively consider themselves no longer a member of the faith.
“What we’re seeing is an acceleration in the numbers of people not only not practising their faith on a regular basis, but not even ticking the box. The reason for that is the big question in the sociology of religion,” said Stephen Bullivant, report analyst and theology lecturer.
While the data did not include results for Scotland, an April survey suggested that the majority of the population were irreligious at 52 per cent. Churches are being converted into cavernous bars and restaurants across the progressive north.
A spokesperson for the Church of England said: “The increase in those identifying as ‘no faith’ reflects a growing plurality in society rather than any increase in secularism or humanism. We do not have an increasingly secular society as much as a more agnostic one.”
The report underscores a growing demographic concern for Christian authorities across the UK, and indeed Europe. The number of regular churchgoers has been steadily declining for decades, the majority of those who go are post baby boomers, and when Christian faiths do receive new members, they are almost universally migrants from other denominations playing religious musical chairs.
There is no reason to suspect that the trend won’t continue, although Europe remains something of a special case, together with segments of the Anglo populations in the Americas and Pacific.
In South America and Africa, Christianity continues to grow, due in no small part to the rise of a fiery evangelism filling much of the void left by a Euro-centric Catholicism over the years.