Census of the Uk shows 12 point drop among Christians and 10 point boost to No religion

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As the title indicates,
What do you make of this?
Surprised? Did you expect differently, if so, more or less?


The source is the Office for National Statistics:
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/key-statistics-for-local-authorities-in-england-and-wales/stb-2011-census-key-statistics-for-england-and-wales.html#tab---Religion

EDIT: It has come to my attention that I inverted the numbers in the title, this has now been fixed.
EDIT2: Due to popular demand, I have changed the title to read no religion instead of atheist, I know that the groups are not the same and apologise for construing them as such.

Other way round: 12-point drop for Christians, 10-point increase for no religion.

This is not a surprise.

Christianity is in decline, but the decline happened long ago. It's appearing on statistics now for the following reason.

It has long been the case that most people say they are Christian out of nothing but social convention. Decades ago people were socially "expected" to be Christian, socially expected to go to church and so on, and so Christianity was much more tied into public life.

For decades, this relationship has been unravelling; people stopped going to church, Christianity has become less socially important, and people know less about it (never mind adhere to it). Frankly, loads of those 60% still saying they are Christian will have barely opened a Bible or know much of its contents, have only been a church for a wedding, funeral or christening. They say they are Christian because it was a social norm; their parents did, and those parents did because their parents did. They don't really think about it, and don't really believe.

The number saying they are Christian will continue to rapidly decrease as this social convention continues to fade away and all the non-believers give up the facade. Then it will settle into a much smaller decline reflecting the decline of true adherents, who I strongly believe are already a minority (I'd guess about 20-30%).

Hardly a huge shock, Christianity has been in decline for a while in the Western world.

It's not like anything will change though, I can't imagine this will send the government racing to disestablish the Church of England, which is the only religious thing I can think of that affects most people.

All your believers are belong to us... America is following that trend is well but not as severely. I'm curious to see how far it goes, if there is ever a leveling off of believers where there are a couple million that will stay with the religion where new converts are equaled out by people leaving the religion or dieing.

Agema:
Other way round: 12-point drop for Christians, 10-point increase for no religion.

Yeah, I fixed that now, also, good on you for checking sources, I like that.

DJjaffacake:

It's not like anything will change though, I can't imagine this will send the government racing to disestablish the Church of England, which is the only religious thing I can think of that affects most people.

Perhaps not, but it's encouraging and removes even more credibility to the few who still think that a State Church and the Lords Spiritual are a good idea.

william124:

Agema:
Other way round: 12-point drop for Christians, 10-point increase for no religion.

Yeah, I fixed that now, also, good on you for checking sources, I like that.

DJjaffacake:

It's not like anything will change though, I can't imagine this will send the government racing to disestablish the Church of England, which is the only religious thing I can think of that affects most people.

Perhaps not, but it's encouraging and removes even more credibility to the few who still think that a State Church and the Lords Spiritual are a good idea.

Considering all 3 of the bloodiest and most brutal regimes in human history was 'non-religious' I would hardly brand the State church and lords Spiritual a 'bad idea'.

Agema's correction also shows something else: "No religion". That's a bit different than Atheists. It may include people who believe in gods but not in any particular one from a specific religion. They may be Theists of various sorts, they may also be Deists. They include "pure" Agnostics, they include Atheists. The group of the "nons" is a bit broader than just Atheists, although Atheists are certainly a big chunk of them. Still, we shouldn't conflate them.

What's interesting is all of the other major religions like islam, judaism, etc are on the rise or stable. Maybe this somewhat correlates to the greater influx of non-native born people immigrating? It's curious that Christianity is seeing such a huge drop when a comparable religion like islam increased from 3 to 5%. Maybe religion allows immigrants to feel more at home, so it plays a more important role in their lives.

It's worth bearing in mind that the idiots who claimed to be Jedi were included in the count of religious citizenry. Fortunately, at least as far as I'm aware, there were a lot fewer of those cretins in this census than the previous one.

Comocat:
What's interesting is all of the other major religions like islam, judaism, etc are on the rise or stable. Maybe this somewhat correlates to the greater influx of non-native born people immigrating? It's curious that Christianity is seeing such a huge drop when a comparable religion like Islam increased from 3 to 5%. Maybe religion allows immigrants to feel more at home, so it plays a more important role in their lives.

I think that the increase in non-christian religious people is due to both the fact that some religions are more strongly associated with identity, for example in most of Europe, if you ask a person to describe themselves they usually take much longer to identify themselves as Christians than Muslims do (in my experience) and the fact that Islam is far stronger than Christianity, by which I mean that in Islam-majority countries, Islam has more influence than Christianity does in Christian Majority countries.

Fraser Greenfield:
Considering all 3 of the bloodiest and most brutal regimes in human history was 'non-religious' I would hardly brand the State church and lords Spiritual a 'bad idea'.

I fail to see how those two bits of information are correlated.

You know, after thinking about this for a while, I imagine this steady decline will be good for christianity in the long run.

"Cafeteria Christians" will start leaving the church, until eventually non-believers are almost equal to believers. This will, in a sense, force those christians who remain true to the church to follow the whole "love thy neighbor" thing more closely. When it comes to religions, I always find the most pious believers are of the smallest groups. People will start noticing those few Christians a bit more "closely" then usual, and so groups like the WBC (being unable to claim being part of some kind of "religious majority") Will be much harshly criticized or otherwise ignored by the general populous.

In short: While the influence of the church may fade, it'll leave good men and women in charge of it and genuine believers practicing the faith ernestly. I suppose it's best to be in a moral minority then an apathetic or amoral majority.

Fraser Greenfield:
Considering all 3 of the bloodiest and most brutal regimes in human history was 'non-religious' I would hardly brand the State church and lords Spiritual a 'bad idea'.

There's considerable ambiguity in your post. Could you explain specifically which the three 'bloodiest and most brutal regimes in human history' were, & why they were specifically non-religious please?

This is obvious. People are getting more intelligent, hence religions drops.

Just compare countries where IQ is lower (usually poor countries) with countries where IQ is higher and you'll see who gives more importance to religion.

btw it can also kinda proves why communists are usually intelligent.

Anoni Mus:
This is obvious. People are getting more intelligent, hence religions drops.

Just compare countries where IQ is lower (usually poor countries) with countries where IQ is higher and you'll see who gives more importance to religion.

btw it can also kinda proves why communists are usually intelligent.

.......

Surely not. I'm not even going to stoop to listing the vast, vast number of incredibly intelligent people who were religious.

As to the last part: which communism do you aspire to? I'm curious.

Sanguine:

Anoni Mus:
This is obvious. People are getting more intelligent, hence religions drops.

Just compare countries where IQ is lower (usually poor countries) with countries where IQ is higher and you'll see who gives more importance to religion.

btw it can also kinda proves why communists are usually intelligent.

.......

Surely not. I'm not even going to stoop to listing the vast, vast number of incredibly intelligent people who were religious.

As to the last part: which communism do you aspire to? I'm curious.

It's statistical data. I know there are intelligent religious people, I was 8 years in a catholic school and met many intelligent people, both catholics and atheists, but again it's statistical data, countries where religion is less important have higher average IQ.

Marxism.

Sanguine:

Anoni Mus:
This is obvious. People are getting more intelligent, hence religions drops.

Just compare countries where IQ is lower (usually poor countries) with countries where IQ is higher and you'll see who gives more importance to religion.

btw it can also kinda proves why communists are usually intelligent.

.......

Surely not. I'm not even going to stoop to listing the vast, vast number of incredibly intelligent people who were religious.

Of course there are exceptions, but if we look at the post in context it would seem Anoni Mus is talking about general populations & not specific individuals therein.

"[...] the higher one's intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious [...]".
Paul Bell, MENSA Magazine 2002 published findings regarding 43 studies examining correlations between high IQ, good education, & little or no religious belief; all but four of the studies, conducted over nine decades, were conclusive & none contradictory. They included:

1998 survey of the US National Academy of Sciences.
1980 Wiebe and Fleck study.
Norman Poythress' 1975 SATs study.
Scientific American 1999 article with Prof. Kyung.

Anoni Mus:

It's statistical data. I know there are intelligent religious people, I was 8 years in a catholic school and met many intelligent people, both catholics and atheists, but again it's statistical data, countries where religion is less important have higher average IQ.

I'd settle for "places with better education tend to have less religious-based communities, hence have higher average IQ" But to be honest that seems a little semantic even to me. Does make it Sound a bit less like you were implying that all religious people are stupid though.

Anoni Mus:
Marxism.

As for this, again I'll settle for "people with properly formulated political beliefs tend to be more intelligent." There are plenty of unintelligent people who call themselves communists, just as many as all the other ideologies.

catalyst8:
Of course there are exceptions, but if we look at the post in context it would seem Anoni Mus is talking about general populations & not specific individuals therein.

"[...] the higher one's intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious [...]".
Paul Bell, MENSA Magazine 2002 published findings regarding 43 studies examining correlations between high IQ, good education, & little or no religious belief; all of the studies, conducted over about six decades, were conclusive. They included:

1998 survey of the US National Academy of Sciences.
1980 Wiebe and Fleck study.
Norman Poythress' 1975 SATs study.
Scientific American 1999 article with Prof. Kyung.

Firstly, this is a very, very narrow definition of intelligence. Though I do concede that measuring intelligence is incredibly difficult, so I do understand that when debating it we do have to reach for this slightly inadequate definition.

Secondly I do not disagree with the truth of the statistics, but that the conclusions that people sometimes draw are perhaps slightly off. The conclusion that people seem to be drawing from this is that clever people are less likely to be religious, which is fine. However this does not imply that if you are brought up to be religious, you are more likely to be stupid. Individual families play such a huge role that you really can't talk of "likelyhood" when dealing with something like this. I suppose I'm arguing then that statistics aren't very useful when talking about this subject, as the difference in samples is too great.

Sanguine:

catalyst8:

"[...] the higher one's intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious [...]".
Paul Bell, MENSA Magazine 2002 published findings regarding 43 studies examining correlations between high IQ, good education, & little or no religious belief; all of the studies, conducted over about six decades, were conclusive [...]

Firstly, this is a very, very narrow definition of intelligence. Though I do concede that measuring intelligence is incredibly difficult, so I do understand that when debating it we do have to reach for this slightly inadequate definition.

I agree & would go further to say not just measuring, but even arriving at an adequate definition for the mass noun is a huge challenge, much like addressing the question 'what is art?' It's worth pointing out however that the published findings qualify 'intelligence' with 'education level', where the phrase is not just given to contextualize IQ but is also used in the sense of a well-rounded, thorough education.

Sanguine:
Secondly I do not disagree with the truth of the statistics, but that the conclusions that people sometimes draw are perhaps slightly off. The conclusion that people seem to be drawing from this is that clever people are less likely to be religious, which is fine. However this does not imply that if you are brought up to be religious, you are more likely to be stupid.

No one said that people were more likely to be stupid, in fact the article itself stresses that the studies found an increased likelihood of higher education &/or intelligence among the non-religious. The inference to the contrary is yours alone.

As an aside I'd like to point out two errors on my part:
The forty-three studies were conducted over nine decades, not six as I initially stated.
Four of the forty-three studies (though ones considerably prior to the ones I cited as examples) were inconclusive.

Sanguine:
Individual families play such a huge role that you really can't talk of "likelyhood" when dealing with something like this. I suppose I'm arguing then that statistics aren't very useful when talking about this subject, as the difference in samples is too great.

As with all statistical data when applied correctly ('correct' in the sense of applied mathematics) individual datum, or families in this case, are insignificant. You might argue that the statistics aren't very useful, but on this I cannot agree with you. You say that "the difference in samples is too great" but that is exactly the point of extensive studies conducted independently, over nearly a century, with a truly massive pool of subjects which was intercontinental, multicultural, & sourced from various social classes; these aspects are perhaps the strongest, most irrefutable support for the whole conclusion. 'Systematic observation, measurement, & experiment, & the formulation, testing, & modification of hypotheses' - it's the definition of the scientific method in action.

catalyst8:
No one said that people were more likely to be stupid, in fact the article itself stresses that the studies found an increased likelihood of higher education &/or intelligence among the non-religious. The inference to the contrary is yours alone.

Fair enough, my apologies.

catalyst8:

Sanguine:
Individual families play such a huge role that you really can't talk of "likelyhood" when dealing with something like this. I suppose I'm arguing then that statistics aren't very useful when talking about this subject, as the difference in samples is too great.

As with all statistical data when applied correctly ('correct' in the sense of applied mathematics) individual datum, or families in this case, are insignificant. You might argue that the statistics aren't very useful, but on this I cannot agree with you. You say that "the difference in samples is too great" but that is exactly the point of extensive studies conducted independently, over nearly a century, with a truly massive pool of subjects which was intercontinental, multicultural, & sourced from various social classes; these aspects are perhaps the strongest, most irrefutable support for the whole conclusion. 'Systematic observation, measurement, & experiment, & the formulation, testing, & modification of hypotheses' - it's the definition of the scientific method in action.

I suppose you are right, the conclusiveness of each of the studies does certainly suggest credibility. I was going to give an analogy of collecting the hair colour of all the members of MENSA every ten years, excluding grey, then trying to draw conclusions from that, but I suppose that is what the conclusiveness of the studies excludes.

Witty Name Here:
This will, in a sense, force those christians who remain true to the church to follow the whole "love thy neighbor" thing more closely.

I'm... not sure about that. Would be ideal, but on the other hand it could also result in them isolating themselves all the more from the rest of society and radicalizing themselves. You mention the WBC; well, if the world as a whole "goes to damnation" or some sentiment like that, I wouldn't be surprised to see more WBC-like groups cropping up. Or, most probably, both radicalization and moderation would occur; for different groups of Christians.

Anoni Mus:
This is obvious. People are getting more intelligent, hence religions drops.

I really wish there was an adequate face-palm emoticon.

OP: It seems very natural, less and less people are being raised with religion every day, whether this be strictly atheist or just vaguely spiritual.

Hafrael:

Anoni Mus:
This is obvious. People are getting more intelligent, hence religions drops.

I really wish there was an adequate face-palm emoticon.

OP: It seems very natural, less and less people are being raised with religion every day, whether this be strictly atheist or just vaguely spiritual.

Why? Facts are facts.

Just type intelligence and religion on google for more clarification.

...yeah...

Anoni Mus:

Hafrael:

Anoni Mus:
This is obvious. People are getting more intelligent, hence religions drops.

I really wish there was an adequate face-palm emoticon.

OP: It seems very natural, less and less people are being raised with religion every day, whether this be strictly atheist or just vaguely spiritual.

Why? Facts are facts.
Just type intelligence and religion on google for more clarification.

First of all define your terms, then we can have a grander discussion about this.

Also, do you really believe that people were more stupid 60 years ago, or 2000? I promise you, my main man St. Augustine of Hippo is smarter than you.

Hafrael:

Anoni Mus:

Hafrael:

I really wish there was an adequate face-palm emoticon.

OP: It seems very natural, less and less people are being raised with religion every day, whether this be strictly atheist or just vaguely spiritual.

Why? Facts are facts.
Just type intelligence and religion on google for more clarification.

First of all define your terms, then we can have a grander discussion about this.

Also, do you really believe that people were more stupid 60 years ago, or 2000? I promise you, my main man St. Augustine of Hippo is smarter than you.

What terms?

The most intelligent a society is the less it believes in God, simple and true. What do you want to discuss?

Anoni Mus:

The most intelligent a society is the less it believes in God, simple and true. What do you want to discuss?

You define intelligence as a lack of faith in God? Seriously?

Gimme a sec to find my copy of the Pensees.

Hafrael:

Anoni Mus:

The most intelligent a society is the less it believes in God, simple and true. What do you want to discuss?

You define intelligence as a lack of faith in God? Seriously?

Gimme a sec to find my copy of the Pensees.

It's exactly that...

I mean, my English isn't perfect, but I think everyone should be able to understand what I said, or at least knowing what I didn't said, and defining intelligence was one of the things I didn't do.
And now this sentence sounded so weird that I'm really starting to doubt my English skills. Thanks a lot, it's all thanks to you and your lack of comprehension.

Anoni Mus:

Hafrael:

Anoni Mus:

The most intelligent a society is the less it believes in God, simple and true. What do you want to discuss?

You define intelligence as a lack of faith in God? Seriously?

Gimme a sec to find my copy of the Pensees.

It's exactly that...

I mean, my English isn't perfect, but I think everyone should be able to understand what I said, or at least knowing what I didn't said, and defining intelligence was one of the things I didn't do.

I am left bewildered again, do you, or do you not believe that intelligence is shown by a lack of faith in God? I cannot tell if you are being sarcastic or not.

I will quote here a very very intelligent chemist who believes the exact opposite

Hafrael:

Anoni Mus:

Hafrael:

You define intelligence as a lack of faith in God? Seriously?

Gimme a sec to find my copy of the Pensees.

It's exactly that...

I mean, my English isn't perfect, but I think everyone should be able to understand what I said, or at least knowing what I didn't said, and defining intelligence was one of the things I didn't do.

I am left bewildered again, do you, or do you not believe that intelligence is shown by a lack of faith in God? I cannot tell if you are being sarcastic or not.

I will quote here a very very intelligent chemist who believes the exact opposite

No, Intelligence is not shown by a lack of faith, but the more intelligent you are the less likely it is to believe in God. It's just what several studies says.

Don't care about quotes, they prove nothing.

Anoni Mus:
snip

Then how do you explain the smartest people who have ever lived being religious?

Anoni Mus:
No, Intelligence is not shown by a lack of faith, but the more intelligent you are the less likely it is to believe in God. It's just what several studies says.

Don't care about quotes, they prove nothing.

I'd say there's a big difference between intelligence and education. A lot of very intelligent people never get the chance to a better education. That doesn't make them dumb. It makes them uneducated.
I don't know what sources you refer to, but I'm going to assume that they're about academics and the like having a much higher rates of Atheism. But, again, that'd be education, not intelligence. If it's something else, please let me know.

To be simplistic: I'd assume that people who learnt about alternatives to the things they were taught from birth (i.e. explanations other than the creation myth of their religion) are more likely to adopt these other, better supported ideas and thus also more likely to drop the old beliefs they were raised with. The more you understand the world, the less you need to rely on the supernatural to explain why it is the way it is.
But, again, that's knowledge and education, not intelligence in itself.

Not to mention that education didn't always include those explanations we have today, so while people weren't justified to assume the supernatural back then, it's more understandable at least.

Also, the usual caveat: I was never religious, so maybe I'm off on this interpretation of the "path" a lot of people take.

Hafrael:

Anoni Mus:
snip

Then how do you explain the smartest people who have ever lived being religious?

I don't.
I got proof for what I'm saying, here's a graph: image another one image

Now, what might be a possibility is that there's a gap in IQ and importance of religion, for example: lower to medium IQ believes more in God, medium to high IQ believes less in God, and then really high IQ believe more in God again, but there's no data (that I know of) that proves that.

Skeleon:

Anoni Mus:
No, Intelligence is not shown by a lack of faith, but the more intelligent you are the less likely it is to believe in God. It's just what several studies says.

Don't care about quotes, they prove nothing.

I'd say there's a big difference between intelligence and education. A lot of very intelligent people never get the chance to a better education. That doesn't make them dumb. It makes them uneducated.
I don't know what sources you refer to, but I'm going to assume that they're about academics and the like having a much higher rates of Atheism. But, again, that'd be education, not intelligence. If it's something else, please let me know.

To be simplistic: I'd assume that people who learnt about alternatives to the things they were taught from birth (i.e. explanations other than the creation myth of their religion) are more likely to adopt these other, better supported ideas and thus also more likely to drop the old beliefs they were raised with. The more you understand the world, the less you need to rely on the supernatural to explain why it is the way it is.
But, again, that's knowledge and education, not intelligence in itself.

Not to mention that education didn't always include those explanations we have today, so while people weren't justified to assume the supernatural back then, it's more understandable at least.

Also, the usual caveat: I was never religious, so maybe I'm off on this interpretation of the "path" a lot of people take.

I'm talking about IQ, not education. My google searches were just for correlation between IQ (or intelligence) and religion, never education.
The reason I don't look for education is because I, myself, am uneducated, I finished the equivalent of High School but didn't went to university nor intend to in the near future, which is a waste of my intelligence and I'll probably never going to achieve anything relevant. Not that I'm a genius, I'm as close to the average as being a genius.

And yes, some people say that IQ is not a very good measure of intelligence, but it's the best that I know of.

EDIT: But there's also a correlation between IQ and education, people who have a graduation tend to have higher IQ than those who don't, and those with doctorate even higher, but again, that's statistical data.

Hafrael:

Anoni Mus:

Hafrael:

I really wish there was an adequate face-palm emoticon.

OP: It seems very natural, less and less people are being raised with religion every day, whether this be strictly atheist or just vaguely spiritual.

Why? Facts are facts.
Just type intelligence and religion on google for more clarification.

First of all define your terms, then we can have a grander discussion about this.

Also, do you really believe that people were more stupid 60 years ago, or 2000? I promise you, my main man St. Augustine of Hippo is smarter than you.

OP: I would like to state that the article said non-religious, not atheist.

I feel it's abit unfair to compare modern day people to say Leonardo De Vinci, Newton, Louis Pasteur or my personal favorite Antoine Lavoisier (the man more or less created the classification system for elements). Would the medieval peasant know more than a modern day doctor?

That being said there is a question if we as a majority are becoming more stupid. The Ancient Greek might have all been geniuses by today standards. Apparently man when they were hunter gatherers used their brain far more. It's when the settled down that things like filth and diseases took their toll. Of course, that was for sheer brain size, from skeletons dug out. Big brains don't necessarily mean a greater intelligence.

Then we have to talk about our food and water. The Romans had lead based pipes and while we can try to act superior, we have to remember that we used lead in gasoline until the EPA outlawed it. The U.S has water that while legal is still unsafe. The high rate of mental diseases may be due to GMO's and pollution. So the collective intelligence may change due to this. OF course, then it's all about the society and not about the time era.

Hmm. Does mysticism play a part in brain development? Is it for or against?

That's a question for the ages. Certainly taking into account spirituality shows a certain degree of imagination. In a time with so few answers, stopping to ask questions that may lead to spirituality is a mark of intelligence. Someone who operates through the lenses of dogma, may however have their inquisitiveness dulled. My point? Prophets are smart and the believes or followers are stupid.

Of course, the same is true with atheists. Then again, just thinking that life is short and that you best make good use of it is very intelligent in itself instead of operating on a set of assumptions or delusions. Good, now both sides are angry.

Now what if a great mind was religious? It doesn't mean that they were automatically stupid. They can be both. Then again, knowing society back then they have had no other choice then to say that. They might not really have cared for religion.

What about the "track record" of religion? Scientific progress was very limited during the middle ages. Of course, you could say that the church was mainly responsible for technology at that time. I could then answer that while true, the church repressed everyone else until they were the only institution that funded science. I would have to acknowledge however, that the Muslim countries were incredibly advanced (they discovered spectrometry) as well as the Chinese empire. Was it maybe something about Christianity then? This is mainly centered on religion as it affected medieval Europe.

True progress only came in my opinion during the enlightenment when people rejected the dogma of the monarchy and the church. The revolt was socioeconomic as well as "spiritual", so it might not mean anything.

I'm still of the opinion that as you learn you reject the point of view of a single religion for being too constrictive or for not having every answer. You also have to remember that in the past an explanation was a good as any. Now, to think that there's a big special entity is a big assumption to make. Especially when it's based solely on "faith", which is the death of science. Before anyone says this I will flame anyone who equals science to faith. In science, you can replicate the experiments.

That being said that doesn't excuse being a dick to the religious. Don't be like the guys in /r/ atheism. Those guys are dicks.

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