For the first time, more than half of Britons describe themselves as having “no religion”, with just 15 per cent of respondents considering themselves a member of the Church of England.
From a study conducted in 2016, data from the British Social Attitudes Survey suggests that 53 per cent of the British public describes themselves as having “no religion” – up from 48 per cent in 2015, reports Christian Today.
When the survey began in 1983, the proportion of those who had no religion stood at just 31 per cent.
Anglicans have halved in number since the year 2000 when 30 per cent claimed to align themselves with the nation’s church, and just three per cent of those aged 18-24 described themselves as Anglican, compared to 40 per cent of those aged 75 and over.
In 2015, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey warned that the Church of England is only “one generation away from extinction”.
However, the number of those identifying as Catholic – around one in 10 – has remained stable.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 12, 2017
It is believed that the fall in religious affiliation has been driven by the growing number of young people, aged 18-24, saying they have no religion – up from 62 per cent in 2015: young people are not replacing baby boomers and the older generations in churches’ pews.
In January, Breitbart London reported that less than a third of millennials believe Britain is a Christian country, whilst more than 40 per cent say the UK has no specific religious identity.
Implying that to mitigate against a falling congregation, the Church of England should abandon core Biblical teachings and liberalise, Roger Harding, head of public attitudes at the National Centre for Social Research, said:
“We know from the British Social Attitudes survey that religious people are becoming more socially liberal on issues like same sex relationships and abortion. With falling numbers, some faith leaders might wonder whether they should be doing more to take their congregation’s lead on adapting to how society is changing.”
Last year, a study by the Pew Research Center estimates that as the fastest growing religion in the world, Islam is expected to pass Christianity by the end of the century.