Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, says judge


A major inquiry into the place of religion in modern society has provoked a furious backlash from ministers and the Church of England

I guess this is the case all across Western Europe, places like Poland and Hungary are still quite devout but Western Europe is not, even Italy and Ireland aren’t devout anymore, I wonder what the future holds for Western Europe, US, Australia etc; atheistic dictatorship or Sharia law? :frowning:


I’ve noticed from the UK and some other countries, numerous persons who seem too smart for their own good and are very sceptical of religion. This said, this article quotes but one study, it’s not as if it is gospel so to speak.


Inasmuch as English Common Law is largely based on relatively benign Judeo-Christian principles, I wonder what this judge would think if elements of Sharia law were actually imposed on Britain and her? That’s really what she’s asking for, but I doubt she would like it if it happened.


The Corab report is grossly unfair to Catholic schools


It might not be much preferred but I think the former rather than the latter is likely. Certainly with regards stable and well-established democracies like the UK, Australia, Ireland. You only get to buy into the political culture (ie and get the power to change the law in this way) if you’re part of the political establishment, whether on the left or right. Sharia law is frankly too alien to many countries’ political for it to be remotely possible, even if there were a suddenly huge growth in their Muslim population. Apart from anything else, not all Muslims want to live under Sharia law anyway, or at the very least on religious matters (like weddings, taking out debt) might look to it, but not with any desire to impose it on anyone else.

Ditto, actually dictatorship. While more possible, I think it’s too alien.

As for atheistic, I think it’s more likely to be aggressively secular, which isn’t quite the same thing. The (Anglican) Bishop of Birmingham (think it was Birmingham anyway) was on the radio this morning essentially giving some ground towards this report. When even the established church starts to think like that, I think the future is pretty clear.

Part or even most of it IMO is from of a rather aggressive benignly-secularist body on the left, which broadly actually includes many on the mainstream right.

Still, what this report proposes is distressing to anyone, even those who don’t have a great deal of personal faith, who appreciates the practical (and generally still-working) eccentricities of Britain.


There was a time “aggressive secularism” would also have seemed “too alien.” What is “too alien” today (atheistic dictatorship, sharia law, etc) can, as has been proven time and again by history, become established (just think of homosexual marriage. From “alien” to “only bigots oppose it” in less than a decade).


While the judge is correct, Britain is no longer a Christian country - it is, as Ross Douthat has stated, a secular post-Anglican nation - something totally different than a atheist nation or a Islamic state, or whatever else.


The report was condemned by the Tory government presently in power and the CofE. The Education Secretary was notably emphatic, calling its proposals “ridiculous”.

It’s findings are likely correct, Britain has become a much more pluralistic society. Around 50% of the population are probably not religious at all, while the majority of the 50% that are religious do not comprise chiefly, anymore, of Anglicans.

However its suggestions are indeed ludicrous. Whether or not the majority of Britons practise Protestantism anymore is quite beside the point. Britain is culturally Christian and will remain so in terms of its values.

Also, irreligion or rather a lukewarm attitude to public expressions of faith has a long and venerable history in British culture.


**Under Charles II an intellectual climate favourable to irreligion flourished in England, which has continued ever since, perhaps culminating in the spectre of Anglican bishops ridiculing belief in the “old man in the sky”…

When Voltaire spent three years in England (1726-28), he was startled by the open and widespread atheism there, remarking, “In France, I am looked upon as having too little religion; in England as having too much”. Similarly Montesquieu reported from England in 1731, “There is no religion in England…if religion is spoken of everyone laughs”.**

Perhaps exaggerations on the part of Voltaire and Montesquieu, since Britain was a much more religious place before, say, the 1980s, but it’s true to say that culturally our attitude to religion has never been quite like it is in the US. We British, even the religious ones among us such as the Catholics on CAF (and the Catholic community is one of the most actively practising of religious communities in the UK), are more prone to reservation when it comes to being vocal about religious belief in the public sphere.


Makes me wonder if ISIS made an attempt on the Holy Father’s life would anyone in Europe even care? :sad_bye:


Of course they would. Pope Francis is immensely popular among people of all faiths and none.

Plus there are numerous highly religious countries in Europe, Britain just isn’t one of them.

Even in the UK though, Catholics, Evangelicals, Muslims, Hindus and other groups have high worship attendance rates. So religion is by no means dead over here.The main problem seems to be with the mainstream Protestant churches, such as the CofE and Church of Scotland, which are both in terminal decline. Evangelical Protestantism and Pentecostalism by contrast are a thriving, growing force within the religious sector of the population.


Of course they would, Britain is one country amongst many, there’s a temptation I’ve noted at CAF to view all the European countries as homogenous. There is an equal temptation at times to view all of America in that manner, neither is true. European countries vary hugely as do areas of the US in culture, how devout people generally are, politics etc.


I don’t think that way at all and I understand there is a vast difference between Italians & English but all you hear on media is how secularized Europe has become. You hear how Italians are no longer going to mass and not having children anymore. France is even more secular. If this notion is in error please let me know. I would love to be wrong.:shrug:


I can only speak of countries I’ve been to or lived in but certainly Britain has become rather apathetic regarding religion in many ways. Ireland where i come from has become increasingly like that and sadly I don’t know if that will change. It must be said some of the blame for that in Ireland does attach to the way Church became too heavily identified with the state at times to the point where at certain times it was hard to know ithe state was not an extension of the Church. Croatia still seems rather more hopeful I noticed travelling around i, Serbia although not Catholic seemed less secularised. Italy seemed an odd mixture, some areas seemed still to be not terribly secularised but others were almost totally secular and the Churches had become more tourist attractions than functioning religious spaces. But as Vouthon says even in the UK is more complex than you might think and discrete communities do hold onto their faiths.


Whilst the report has been roundly (and rightly IMHO) condemned, I think it’s important to remember the context for this. Part of the focus for the report touches on the role of the Established church in England which is unique in Europe, and that Britain is unique in having Church of England Bishops in the House of Lords. Also faith schools both Church of England and Catholic are fully funded by the taxpayer in a way that does not happen elsewhere, except in Ireland. But the report suggests wrongly that a decline in churchgoing leads to an automatic opposition to this heritage. Even the latter ignores the fact that church decline has been reversed in some cities eg London now has one of the highest church attendances in Europe.

The CofE’s response is attached below:

*We welcome the call in this report for greater religious literacy and the highlighting of the scale of social action by the Church - as well as its recommendation that where a religious organisation is best placed to deliver a social good, it should not be disadvantaged.

"We also welcome the acknowledgement that the establishment of the Church of England has helped the integration of non-Christian perspectives in British society and helped them to make their voices heard in the public sphere. The Church of England, through its dioceses, parishes and at national level has been at the forefront of work to increase understanding between the different faiths.

"We are however disappointed that the report misunderstands the role of Church of England schools in providing a rounded education to more than a million pupils from all backgrounds as part of our commitment to the common good. If there is a significant problem with our schools it is that many of them are so popular that they are oversubscribed and not every parent who wants to can send their children to one.

"The report also misunderstands collective worship in schools. We believe that if the law on collective worship were repealed schools would risk losing this vital element of shaping a community that reflects the full breadth of human experience. We know, for example, that the response of many schools to the horror of the Paris attacks will have been in the context of collective worship.

"The report is dominated by the old fashioned view that traditional religion is declining in importance and that non-adherence to a religion is the same as humanism or secularism.

"In a fortnight where we have seen overwhelming public support for the Church of England over the Lord’s Prayer cinema advert, it is important to remember that most public opinion is strongly opposed to the marginalisation of Christianity.*

The Catholic Church in England and Wales has not yet issued its response.


William Kipatrick actually wrote a book on this very subject, Christianity, Islam or Atheism (202012, Ignatius Press) so it’s worth a look into what he says on the subject.


Im not sure whether that is a good or bad thing…if the Pope was following in Christs footsteps (so to speak), in reality, most secular people should absolutely hate him and everything he says, the fact that so many non-religious seem to just love him kind of tells me maybe this is the case because he has really not said or done anything they disagree with.


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