|Homage of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey. Source: Royal UK|
The latest release from the ONS Census 2021 reveals that "for the first time fewer than half of people in England and Wales describe themselves as Christian."
The ONS release emphasises that the religion question is voluntary but 94.0% (56.0 million) of usual residents answered the question in 2021, an increase from 92.9% (52.1 million) in 2011.
Wales had a greater decrease in people reporting their religion as “Christian” (14.0 percentage point decrease, from 57.6% in 2011 to 43.6% in 2021) and increase in “No religion” (14.5 percentage point increase, from 32.1% in 2011 to 46.5% in 2021) compared with England and Wales overall.
Following my previous entry a commentator trolled: "Another possibility is the infantile and derogatory nature of the thoroughly unChristian contributors to this site. The rest of us, however few in number, do at least try faithfully to address the injunction to love one another and leave the judging to God."
So what is a Christian? What is love? We are made a Christian at our baptism when we pledge to turn away from sin, reject evil and remain faithful to Christ to the end of our life.
Many of us are challenged for being unchristian because we do not accept the secularisation of Christianity. "All you need is love" say revisionists using the word synonymously for same sex relations despite the various forms of love referred to in the Bible.
Church going has declined because for many it has ceased to have any of the 'otherness' of old. Others continue to attend from habit or to seek affirmation of their life style based on the claim that 'all you need is love'.
The issue is coming to a head.
Warning bells are sounding as the coronation of Charles III approaches. The King's coronation must not be 'woke-fest celebration of so-called modern Britain', former minister Sir Edward Leigh told the Commons. The event must be a 'spiritual one', he said.
Concerns had been expressed following an interview in 2015 whether Charles would be 'Defender of Faith' or 'Defender of The Faith'. This was the response of the then Prince of Wales:
"No, I didn’t describe myself as a defender: I said I would rather be seen as ‘Defender of Faith’, all those years ago, because, as I tried to describe, I mind about the inclusion of other people’s faiths and their freedom to worship in this country. And it’s always seemed to me that, while at the same time being Defender of The Faith, you can also be protector of faiths. It was very interesting that 20 years or more after I mentioned this – which has been frequently misinterpreted – the Queen, in her Jubilee address to the faith leaders, said that as far as the role of the Church of England is concerned, it is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions. Instead, the Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country. I think in that sense she was confirming what I was really trying to say – perhaps not very well – all those years ago. And so I think you have to see it as both. You have to come from your own Christian standpoint – in the case I have as Defender of the Faith – and ensuring that other people’s faiths can also be practised."
The desire to protect freedom of beliefs is laudable but contradictory in part given the nature of some 'religions'. Under Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 'Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.'
One has only to read the appeal from Release International to see how Christians are persecuted in Muslim countries. Blasphemy laws are used to persecute Christians in Pakistan while Islamic terrorism is rife in Africa.
One cannot justify defending a political ideology that does not respect the rights of others and mandates the death sentence for apostates.
Breaking the trend in the census results apart from the increase in “No religion”, there were increases in the number of people who described themselves as “Muslim” (3.9 million, 6.5% in 2021, up from 2.7 million, 4.9% in 2011) and “Hindu” (1.0 million, 1.7% in 2021, up from 818,000, 1.5% in 2011).
In 2015 a survey found that Islam was the fastest growing religion in the UK while the Church of England was in decline. "In 1983, the number of people following Islam stood at 0.6% of the population compared to a little under 5% in 2014." It needs no encouragement
The BBC has already taken the lead in promoting Islam by appointing Muslims as Religion Editors. If this spills over to the coronation of King Charles the Church of England may as well shut up shop now along with the Church in Wales where the 2021 census showed that Wales had a greater decrease in people reporting their religion as “Christian” (14.0 percentage point decrease, from 57.6% in 2011 to 43.6% in 2021).
From Christian Post: Christians are being butchered in Africa. What are we going to do about it?
"The number of Christians who paid with their lives for their faith was 5,898 in 2022, which is up from 4,761 in 2021, according to the Open Doors USA organization.
"Out of that number, around 4,000 Christians were killed in Nigeria by Islamist groups, such as Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, and Ansaru, which teach that Christians should either convert to Islam or die."
What are we going to do about it?
Religious and political leaders can stop endorsing Islam's claim that it is a religion of peace.