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Former Archbishop of Canterbury declares Britain to be a ‘post-Christian nation’ as levels of religiosity continue to fall
In an interview in The Telegraph this weekend Lord Rowan Williams of Oystermouth, former Archbishop of Canterbury and current master of Magdalene College Cambridge, claimed that Britain is a ‘post-Christian country.’
In his comments Lord Williams conceded that ‘habitual practice for most of the population is not taken for granted,’ and that the country could not be called a Christian country as it is not ‘a nation of believers.’ However, the former Archbishop did say that Britain is a Christian country ‘in the sense of still being very much saturated by this vision of the world and shaped by it.’ The British Humanist Association (BHA) has today published a new infographic exploring the identities, beliefs, values and practices of the British, and concluded that Britain is a diverse nation made up of those of many religions and none.
In the same article in which these comments appeared The Telegraph released polling data on whether or not people believed that Britain is a Christian country. The poll, conducted by ICM, found that 56% of respondents said that ‘Britain is a Christian country’, with 30% saying it ‘is a non-religious society’.
Meanwhile the British Religion in Numbers (BRIN) blog analysed polling numbers on this subject over time and observed that whilst the number of people who believe that Britain is a religious country fell steeply prior to 2007, it has begun to rise again in recent years. However, the number of people who believe that Britain should be a Christian country has continued to fall.
BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal commented ‘It is important to remember the contributions of all who have made this country what it is without regard to their religion or beliefs. Whilst many of those who contributed to this country’s development were of the Christian faith, when public figures declare that Britain is a Christian, or post-Christian, country they are unnecessarily excluding the contributions of all the non-Christians who help, and have helped, to make this country what it is. As polling numbers continue to show a fall in religiosity, we call on public figures to remember to be inclusive and sensitive in their public pronouncements.’
Source: British Humanism Association