Fixed at the time of writing

There’s an interesting thread running over on Hacker News on the decline of church membership in the USA — which has dipped below 50% for the first time(1). That’s a big deal. The USA is one of the most devoutly Christain countries in the West, and its religious leaders wield a great deal of political influence. The figures reflect what has been happening in the UK for decades – an accelerating decline of membership and attendance across all demographics.

The number of people in the UK self-identifying as Christian stood at 58% in 2011, dropping 12% since 2001(3). That’s quite a steep decline. Attendance has dropped off a cliff too. The average C of E church service now fills less than thirty seats(2).

The reasons behind the decline are, of course, violently debated — but I think that they are well summarised by this comment:

It’s not about churches not being able to answer questions clearly; the reality is just that fewer people believe in gods.

FreakNL / Hacker News

I was brought up in a devoutly religious family. We went to church three times a week. Not once. Not twice. THRICE. There is no doubt, in my mind, that it influenced the person that I am today and probably for the better – but I’ve never believed in God. The existence of a benevolent, omniscient and omnipresent supreme being would have been welcome when so many things in life had no explanation, but today, to me, makes no sense at all.

Some militant atheists relish the downfall of Christianity. I’m not one of those. I just know that faith is something that I will never have. Honestly, I’ve looked for it, and it ain’t coming. For me, the answers to life problems must come from somewhere other than the bible. Increasingly, it seems that other people feel the same way.

  3. Wikipedia – Religion in the UK

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