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Monday, May 23, 2016

England Christian No More

The Tuesday morning front page of the British newspaper The Guardian trumpets a seismic cultural change across the pond - "Christians now in a minority as UK becomes less religious". Less religious? That's an understatement! As the article says in the second paragraph...
The proportion of the population who identify as having no religion – referred to as “nones” – reached 48.5% in 2014, almost double the figure of 25% in the 2011 census. Those who define themselves as Christian – Anglicans, Catholics and other denominations – made up 43.8% of the population.
In the world of sociology that level of change in such a short amount of time is earthshaking news. It means there is a fundamental change in the structure of society that is absolutely unprecedented. In three short years 23% of the population decided that there is either no god or that they want nothing to do with a specific religion. For the first time in centuries the UK can no longer call itself a Christian nation.

The numbers though hide the reality that the problem is much deeper and will continue to accelerate. As the article points out, "Half of all Christians in England and Wales are over the age of 55." In addition, for every 1 person the Church of England recruits they lose 12. What's more, that 1 person they gained came from another denomination. Put together that means that the rapid decline of Christianity in England will accelerate in the next 30 years as the older demographic dies off.

The real story though is how the Church of England is responding to the news. A spokesperson commented, "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." 

That's simply not credible. Secularism has been on the rise in the UK over the last decade with the aggressive work of the New Atheists including broad advertising campaigns declaring such slogans as, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." England has responded by showing every sign of secularization including an every growing denial of Christian values. Of course some people leaving Christian churches will gravitate toward New Age religions, but even then they have a secular mindset.

What is really concerning is the complete lack of understanding by the Church of England that their defection to liberal theology has made the change all but inevitable. By denying the authority of Scripture and playing along with their secular foes they have given up without a fight. What's truly amazing is that there are any Christians at all left in the United Kingdom.

But before we here in the United States take a deep breath and thank God that we live in the good ol' USA we might want to consider the historical reality that what happens on the east side of the Atlantic ocean crosses to the west side in short order. In our bigger cities, and particularly the bigger cities on the East and West coasts there is a similar race to atheism, agnosticism, and secularism and for all the same reasons it has been happening in the UK and Europe. And what happens in the cities spreads to the rural areas as the elites of society spread their gospel of secular humanism through news, entertainment, and educational institutions.

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