A Eurobarometer poll in 2010 reported that 37% of UK citizens "believed there is a God", 33% believe there is "some sort of spirit or life force" and 25% answered "I don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".
In the begging portion of the 21st century, various members of Britain's atheists/agnostics, for example Richard Dawkins, have engaged in aggressive atheism evangelism efforts. In addition, the late Christopher Hitchens was born in Britain and emigrated to the United States in 1981 was a high-profile atheist. However, the movement they lead, New Atheism, has significantly waned and is now essentially dead (see: Decline of New Atheism).
A sign of desecularization and/or the ending of secularization in Britain
The news website Premier reports:
|“|| The decline in the number of people calling themselves Christians has halted, new figures suggest.
A small increase in the percentage of Brits who classify themselves as followers of Christ has been found in the British Social Attitudes Survey.
The report, which is published every year, has not been official released but the Sunday Telegraph has reported some of its findings.
The amount of Brits who say they are Christian has increase in the past year from 42 per cent to 43 per cent, it says.
Such a small change is within the margin of error in surveys but if it is to be believed it shows a decade long decline in Christianity has levelled off.
Concerning the future of religion/secularism in Europe, the British professor Eric Kaufmann wrote:
|“|| We have performed these unprecedented analyses on several cases. Austria offers us a window into what the future holds. Its census question on religious affiliation permits us to perform cohort component projections, which show the secular population plateauing by 2050, or as early as 2021 if secularism fails to attract lapsed Christians and new Muslim immigrants at the same rate as it has in the past. (Goujon, Skirbekk et al. 2006).
This task will arguably become far more difficult as the supply of nominal Christians dries up while more secularisation-resistant Muslims and committed rump Christians comprise an increasing share of the population.
Other signs pointing towards a decline of British atheism in the 21st century
Recently, there have been a number of signs that in the 21st century British atheism will experience a dramatic decline as far as being an influential ideology:
1. British academic and religious/political demography expert Eric Kaufmann declaring that the future of the Western World and the world at large belongs to religious conservatives due to religious conservative immigration to the West and the higher birth rates of religious conservatives (and the sub-replacement level of births of the irreligious). See also: Desecularization
Most atheists in the United Kingdom (UK) are white. In the UK, by the year 2050, 30 percent of the population is expected to be non-white. Atheists in the Western World have historically not engaged in evangelism of racial minorities in their countries (see: Western atheism and race). Yale Daily News reported in an article entitled White Europeans: An endangered species? that "Without a major shift in the current fertility trends, industrialized Europe will see its native population decline by about three-fourths over the 21st century." See also: Decline of global atheism and Global Christianity
2. British evolutionist Richard Dawkins, who formerly championed militant atheism and was previously Britain's most prominent atheist, emphatically and repeatedly denying he was ever an atheist to Rowan Williams who at the time was the Bishop of Canterbury (See: Richard Dawkins and agnosticism). A likely reason why Dawkins disavowed ever being an atheist, despite championing militant atheism in the past, is that he cannot prove that God does not exist. In addition, many theists have very negative views of atheists (Views on atheists).
Furthermore, Richard Dawkins lost a considerable amount of influence due to some statements that offended many women atheists (see: Elevatorgate and Richard Dawkins and women and Richard Dawkins' loss of influence).
4. The British Humanist Society and Richard Dawkins backing down from debate offers from the Christian apologist William Lane Craig. The Oxford University atheist Daniel Came told Richard Dawkins that his refusal to debate Craig was bound to be seen by many as an act of cowardice. See: Atheism and cowardice
5. Worldwide young earth creationism is seeing dramatic growth. Eric Kaufmann told a secular audience in Australia: "The trends that are happening worldwide inevitably in an age of globalization are going to affect us."
6. British atheist Rory Fenton, who is the president of the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (AHS) declaring in 2014:
- "For non-religious students on campuses across the UK, 2013-14 has been the most challenging year to date, with criticism of religion censored and religious rules enforced in lecture theatres."
- "At their Freshers' Fayre in October, our members at LSE wore t-shirts featuring the satirical Jesus and Mo webcomic...At the request of their own students' union, the body surely set up to defend student rights, the university sent 10 security guards to surround the two students and their offending cotton, demanding that they remove the t-shirts or be removed themselves."
- "...at London South Bank University our members were told they could not invite speakers who criticised religion at all, or even engage religious societies in debates, putting joining the South Bank Atheist Society on a par with joining the BNP. This February the same university banned images of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a satirical deity in which nobody believes, on the grounds that they were "religiously offensive".
7. Economic adversity has an inverse relationship to atheism as many people turn to God in times of trouble. On the other hand, pentecostal and holiness Christian churches have historically increased during tough economic times. In 2011, the UK had a 406% external debt to gross national product (GNP) ratio which was equivalent to $160,158 of debt per person. Such a large amount of external debt certainly could cause future problems for the UK economy.
8. Scientism/materialism currently has very limited appeal in the UK. In October 2013, The New Statesman reported: "A mere 13% - and only a quarter of the non-religious - agreed with the statement that "humans are purely material beings with no spiritual element".
BBC, atheism and anti-Christian bias
See also: Atheism and the media
The Daily Mail reported about Britain's influential broadcaster the BBC:
|“|| The BBC employs more atheists and non-believers than Christians, an internal ‘diversity’ survey has found.
The new research has been seized on by critics who accuse the Corporation of bias against Christianity and marginalising the faith in its output.
The survey found that just 22.5 per cent of all staff professed to be Christians.
- The British state’s silent war on religion by Frank Furedi (Sociologist and commentator), Spiked, June 9, 2015
- The Church of England: Hot and bothered - The rise of evangelicalism is shaking up the established church, The Economist, March 10, 2012
- Evangelical Christianity is rising in the UK. Demographic data points to upcoming reversal of secularism in the UK. No English speaking country will be safe for Darwinism, March 12, 2012
- Prominent Brit atheist Polly Toynbee pulls out of debate with apologist William Lane Craig, Uncommon Descent, August 14, 2011
- Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God, The Daily Telegraph, May 14, 2011
- Children who front Richard Dawkins' atheist ads are evangelicals, by Ken Ham, December 16, 2009
- Atheist's bizarre bid to convert Christian by Richard Smith, The East Anglican Daily Times, September 12, 2008
- Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, p. 204". Fieldwork: Jan-Feb 2010.
- Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, p. 204". Fieldwork: Jan-Feb 2010.
- Decline in UK Christianity 'halts', Prremier
- Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
- Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann, Belfer Center, Harvard University/Birkbeck College, University of London
- Eric Kaufmann: Shall The Religious Inherit The Earth?
- Eric Kaufmann's Atheist Demographic series
- Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
- Non-white people almost 30 per cent of population by 2050, By James Kirkup, Political Editor, The Telegraph, May 5, 2014
- White Europeans: An endangered species? By Trevor Wagener, Yale Daily News, February 27, 2008
- Biblical Christianity is rising in the UK
- Global creationism
- Shall the religious inherit the earth
- Atheist students must fight back
- Why are British Student Unions imposing Islamic rules?
- Does atheism thrive on economic prosperity? Does religion prosper when people are desperate and ignorant?
- Social unrest in Europe altering its religious landscape
- Why a literal reading of the Genesis is surging in the world. Why a a literal reading of the Genesis will increase in the Western World
- World Bank - World Databank
- A blow to the New Atheism? Britain is losing its religion - and becoming "spiritual" instead
- Christians a minority at 'biased' BBC where staff are more likely to be atheists or non-believers