Gransnet forums


From the Humanist Association - discuss

(434 Posts)
granjura Tue 12-Jan-16 15:25:13

The latest figures show that 98.6% of us don't attend church services.

And yet the Church of England retains established status, legal exemptions from the Equality Act and Human Rights Act, a 26-seat bloc vote in the House of Lords, and control of roughly a third of schools in England.

Despite what some politicians try to tell us, Britain is not a 'Christian country', and it's high time we broke our formal links with the Church and fully embraced the principles of secularism and equality as guarantors of freedom for everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

Justin Welby's quotation in this article is quite something, too. 'The culture has become anti-Christian, whether it is on matters of sexual morality, or the care for people at the beginning or the end of life,' he told the meeting in Canterbury, alluding disdainfully to our tolerant liberal society's progressive attitudes to same-sex relationships, assisted dying, and abortion.

granjura Tue 12-Jan-16 15:39:32

Following last night's discussions in Canterbury.

Eloethan Tue 12-Jan-16 16:52:23

On the Big Questions yesterday one spokesperson for the C of E said, relating to the conflicting views in the Church re sexuality, it was important that the church was separate from and not answerable to the state. Someone then suggested that that stance might be considered by some to be valid, were it not for the fact that the C of E has a privileged position and exerts power within the political establishment.

granjura Tue 12-Jan-16 18:45:34

Apparently a loss of 22.000 regular worshippers have been 'lost' last year- mainly older people unable to attend or deceased, and not replaced. How long before attendance falls to below 1%?

Jalima Tue 12-Jan-16 20:50:27

Well, I am astonished by those figures - probably more people attend at Christmas time but I have been to several services in the last few months which have been very well-attended (at more than one church).

granjura Tue 12-Jan-16 21:12:11

In a rural or town area Jalima? Here where I live, there used to be a service in every village and every Church, but now there is a rosta, and services take place in one village one Sunday, and another the next, etc- so attendance 'looks' not to bad- but it still perhaps 80% or more less than used to when I was a kid.

Jalima Tue 12-Jan-16 21:14:38

A large parish church in a town, a cathedral in a city and a small village church (not part of a roster).

Lilygran Tue 12-Jan-16 21:18:41

The latest figures from? It's easy to throw statistics around but you usually need to do some digging if they are being used to support a view likely to be controversial or at least, contested. Patterns of attendance have undoubtedly changed a great deal over the last twenty or thirty years. Many people who certainly think of themselves as regular churchgoers rarely go to every service every Sunday, for example. This makes it difficult to collect reliable figures on a sampling basis. And while I agree with Jalima from my personal experience, that is also difficult to quantify in any meaningful way

etheltbags1 Tue 12-Jan-16 21:26:54

Im in favour of the OP, Im a believer but not an attender at church, however live and let live, I have no problems with other religions or with those who have no religion at all.

Jalima Tue 12-Jan-16 21:36:11

The figures are from the Humanist Association?
Are they impartial and absolutely factual?

granjura Tue 12-Jan-16 21:49:24

Yes Jalima- and no, I can't garantee the figures.

Ethel- I have nothing against religions, per se- and have friends and relatives who belong to very many.

The point being though- is that this Government constantly repeats that England is a Christian nation, and that schools and institutions should strongly reflect that. And as the OP says- a very large proportion of schools are run and strongly influenced by faith of one kind or another- and our own Government too, with the 26 seat for the CofE.

granjura Tue 12-Jan-16 21:50:51

So I agree 'live and let live' in your own home, privately, but not in schools, not in Government, not with such a strong hold on our institutions.

Time for religous tolerance, bu time for it to be a private matter.

Lilygran Tue 12-Jan-16 22:12:18

The nature of religion means that it can't be a purely private matter. It isn't a hobby. The practise of one's religion in terms of ritual can be a private matter but the practise of religion in terms of everyday life has to be carried on in public.

Anniebach Tue 12-Jan-16 22:25:38

People of many faiths want their children to attend faith schools, to close faith schools is taking away what has been a right in this country for many years. Faith is not to be pushed at people but neither should it be kept behind closed doors . I understand the problems of parents who do not want their children to attend faith schools but think the same respect should be extended to people of faith by atheists .

The humanist association is getting too demanding, they want to change Thought For The Day, would it not be more charitable to have their own few minute slot ?

I will not hide my faith behind closed doors

TwiceAsNice Wed 13-Jan-16 07:12:17

I'm in favour of schools with a Christian ethos ( or whatever faith you practise) How will children grow up making sense of believing in God if they don't find it being spoken about from the time they are small and open to listening. My daughter and SIL are not church goers but their children are taught Christian concepts in school. If when they are older they choose not to believe that is their right but let's start off with a good grounding, you get your moral compass from other avenues besides your home.

However I am not in favour of the church having unlimited power and am saddened by some of the opinions being expressed which show poor tolerance of others sometimes and this is not just related to the Christian faith either.

mumofmadboys Wed 13-Jan-16 08:34:51

When in a difficult situation a lot of people believe in God. My sons friend died at 21 in an accident and his friends flocked into church for his funeral and took the words seriously. Sadly our world has become so secular with for instance sports on Sunday , shops open on Sunday and Sunday working that Church has been pushed out of many lives. People still want baptisms, weddings in church and funerals in church. A lot of people hang on to a little belief. It is hard for youngsters today to grow up as Christians in such a secular and godless society. However I think I agree that the Church should be disestablished.

Eloethan Wed 13-Jan-16 09:36:37

TwiceasNice What exactly are Christian concepts? If people mean "love thy neighbour as thyself", "turn the other cheek", etc. etc. - principles of kindness and humility - I would say that those values are not exclusive to religious people.

You say: "How will children grow up making sense of believing in God if they don't find it being spoken about from the time they are small and open to listening."

Surely it is up to the parents to talk about their beliefs and demonstrate them in the way they conduct their own lives? Then there are churches, synagogues, mosques, etc., in which people may congregate for instruction and prayer. I don't think anybody is suggesting that people should not be free to practice their religions at home and in their places of worship. But some people are saying that religion should not be given a privileged position within the political establishment and neither should schools be sponsored by religious organisations.

Anniebach Wed 13-Jan-16 09:40:57

Why should children of faith be taught by atheists ? It works both ways sorry ,

Alea Wed 13-Jan-16 09:52:14

I take exception to granjura's description of Justin Welby as "disdainful". Anyone who has heard him or read him carefully will I hope, see the truly compassionate and humane man who far from being out of touch with our 21st century society, know and says it like it is. His previous high flying career puts him in a different league from woolly clergy who may have little or no grasp of the secular life outside the Church.
That is not to say that the same can necessarily be claimed for the whole C of E.
However, he is making a real effort and "disdainful" is to do him an injustice
This is from the DT.

In his first interview with a gay publication, the Most Rev Justin Welby, told PinkNews that the Church had to accept that same-sex marriage is now the law in England and Wales after securing overwhelming support in Parliament
He said it was “right and proper” that same-sex marriage has now come into force, adding: “And that’s great.”
His comments came as he offered an olive branch to the gay community, publishing new rules for Church of England schools aimed at stamping out homophobic bullying

mumofmadboys Wed 13-Jan-16 10:44:08

I agree with what you have said about Justin Welby, Alea.

TriciaF Wed 13-Jan-16 11:23:00

Me too, Alea.

Luckygirl Wed 13-Jan-16 11:45:06

I do not think the figures (wherever they have been obtained) are relevant. Faith is a private matter, publicly expressed where relevant (e.g. churchgoing). It is not a given and should be divorced entirely from state institutions of all kinds.

Respect for people's faith should be the norm - unless it involves removing healthy bits from babies or children, or regarding individuals as devils.

It is good to see that the new school curriculum is so comprehensive in terms of learning about world religions and humanism.

I am happy for my DGC to be taught by people of any faith or none, as long as they teach their subject and do not force their religion or absence of it on the pupils.

Penstemmon Wed 13-Jan-16 12:37:23

As a humanist I do not support faith schools as I believe that developing a faith is best done within a family or the community of faith that a family belongs to. I do think schools should teach about religions and non- religious beliefs. Morality and good social values are not confined to those with a religious or spiritual life and are taught in non faith schools equally as well as in faith schools.

I do believe that we should separate state and church whilst recognising that UK cultural heritage is strongly based, linguistically and in custom & practice, in its Christian heritage. This can also be addressed in the education system but I do not think we need to say prayers or sing hymns at state /government (local or national) meetings and events.

I think that the House of Lords needs reforms in all sorts of ways and I would include the bishops in that!

Penstemmon Wed 13-Jan-16 12:40:31

p.s. I do not think that numbers of church attenders is in any way an accurate indicator of Christian believers. I think that both now and in the past, there have been attenders who do not believe and non attenders that do!

Penstemmon Wed 13-Jan-16 12:44:35

p.p.s. my brother, who is an 'elder' in the Baptist church and a really practising Christian , does not believe that schools should have daily 'acts of worship' on the grounds that worship is something one does voluntarily and spritually. He is an RE teacher.