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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Census figures: Pluralism is here to stay

Yesterday the Office for National Statistics released data for religious populations from the 2011 Census. Angus Ritchie, the Director of the Contextual Theology Centre has posted a very helpful comment on these statistics. 

In his response Angus suggests that:

"In the midst of the debate which these figures will provoke, it is worth getting some perspective. The majority of English and Welsh people identify themselves as Christian, at a time when wider social pressures give less and less encouragement to such identification. There is no room for complacency – and no point in denying that this number has declined substantially in the last decade. But these figures tell of a striking persistence of religious belief and practice. The public square continues to be a place where people of faith and people of no faith coexist in large numbers – with people of faith forming the substantial majority ...

Whatever else we make of the Census figures, this much is clear: pluralism is here to stay, with a growing array of religious and secular worldviews commanding significant allegiance. Whatever challenges this presents to the churches, it is hardly the world the ‘New Atheists’ have been campaigning for. The task for us all is to negotiate and build a truly common life – bearing witness with confidence and generosity to that which we believe most deeply."

The Contextual Theology Centre’s Presence and Engagement Network (PEN) is holding an event in Southwark on Making Sense of the Census on the afternoon of Monday 18th February – before the PEN 2013 Lecture, to be given by the Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd David Ison.


Bruce Springsteen - Land Of Hope And Dreams.

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