The Big Change in Religion and Belief

Jeremy Rodell, chair of SE London Humanists, came to speak to us for our first talk of the autumn.

He gave a fact filled, fascinating and thought-provoking talk on how the UK’s belief landscape is changing, probably faster than it ever has. The growth of the ‘nones’, those with no religious affiliation, has been the most remarkable facet of this change, although as Jeremy pointed out, belief and religion are not necessarily the same thing, and the different forms of wording between the Census and the British Social Attitudes Survey can affect the headline figures.  Nerveless, the trends are obvious, and as well as the growth of the ‘nones’, it is clear the CofE has a problem, while the more evangelical Churches are more than holding their ground. Next, Jeremy looked at the diversity within Islam – something that’s all too often overlooked, before examining the similar diversity within the ‘nones’.  The European Social Survey provided an insight here, and some indication as to how many of those ‘nones’ might hold Humanist values. 

So how to respond to this change?  Jeremy suggest several areas where Humanists may want to take action.  These included: explaining what secularism means – not atheism, but treating all religions and belief systems equally;  addressing problems in education – opposing faith schools, while campaigning for good SRE and RE, and finally, dialog with the religious – engaging with the various groups and forums to address issues of common concern and spread understanding of people’s differing beliefs.

If you want to see Jeremy’s slides, they’ve been uploaded to our Facebook Group, or you can email us and we’ll send them on.