20th October 2008

“By 2050 there will be just 3,600 churchgoing Methodists left in Britain, Christian Research predicts. Anglicans will be down to 87,800, Catholics to 101,700, Presbyterians to 4,400, Baptists to 123,000 and independents to 168,000.”

Ruth Gledhill

2 Responses to “20th October 2008”

  1. The Atheist Advocate Says:

    Wish we could figure out what was fueling the trend and cultivate it in American labs. Even better, a cure for the muslim disease that seems to be growing!

  2. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    The predictions of the demise of religion and/or God/the gods, ever since the enlightenment, have proven just as wrong as the predictions by fundamentalists of the “any-day-now-Apocalypse.” Perhaps some particular churches/temples/etc… will eventually go the way of the dodo, but I doubt that belief in some sort of God/gods/spirit will ever disappear (And if it did – and I say this as a theist – I’m not sure that would be a bad thing!). For most people I know (admitedly a limited sample), giving up church does not automatically equal giving up God, gods, etc…

    As far as what is fueling the “trend” (if there really is a trend), I see two major things:
    1. Science
    I think science is probably the most successful endeavor human beings have ever engaged in as a group. Despite it’s often heated controversies, it is capable of the most amazing discoveries and explanations of the world in which we live. Although science does offer answers to some of our deepest questions, I think science’s true strength lies in its ability to come up with even deeper questions.
    Even the most die-hard fundamentalist cannot avoid the wonders of science. The simpleist actions in our everyday modern lives – driving the car, watching TV, using the cellphone – are unargueable affirmations of science’s ability to make sense of (what I think is God’s) creation.
    Those who argue against science fight a battle they cannot win.

    and 2. Fundamentalism
    Sometimes, even as a believer, I think some way ought to be found to shut the fundamentalists the f**k up. On the other hand, as we’ve seen in the McCain/Palin campaign, maybe it would be better to let them keep opening their big fat mouths. People of goodwill, even those who believe in indefensible “theories” like intelligent design, do not care for the angry and hateful rhetoric of the “true believer.”
    Many leave the church due to disgust with that sort of hate-mongering rather than any disagreement with the belief in/idea of God (of course I am talking about believers in the West; the rise of charismatic/pentocostal, and therefore fundamentalist, churches in the so-called Third World is another matter).

    In short, I think it is the success of science along with the failures of fundamentalism (in the West) that is “fueling the trend.”
    Hope all that made sense (even if you disagree)!

    BTW: I’m not sure there is any practical difference between “atheist” and “anti-theist,” other than “anti-theist” sounds rather militant. In any case, whatever turns your crank.