UK in post-Christian era: Williams

Mid Devon Star: Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said the country is not as secular as some people think Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said the country is not as secular as some people think

Britain is no longer a country of believers but rather has entered a "post-Christian" era, a former archbishop of Canterbury said.

Lord Williams of Oystermouth, who stood down as leader of the Church of England in December 2012, said that the time of habitual worship is over and that a further decline of widespread faith is likely in the future.

His comments, in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, come after the Prime Minister was criticised for saying the UK should be "more confident about our status as a Christian country" and "more evangelical" about faith.

David Cameron's comments prompted fury from secular and atheist groups and led to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, an atheist, calling for the the separation of Church and state in England.

A poll for the newspaper also found that while more than half the public regard Britain as a Christian country, the majority of practising Christians are afraid to express their beliefs.

Lord Williams, who is now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, said that while Brit ain's "cultural memory is still quite strongly Christian", it is "post-Christian" in that habitual practice across most of the population is not taken for granted.

He said: "A Christian nation can sound like a nation of committed believers, and we are not that. Equally, we are not a nation of dedicated secularists.

"I think we're a lot less secular than the most optimistic members of the British Humanist Association would think."

Underlining Britain's changing relationship with religion, he added: "A Christian country as a nation of believers? No. A Christian country in the sense of still being very much saturated by this vision of the world and shaped by it? Yes."

Asked whether Britain will lose its faith altogether, he said: "Given that we have a younger generation now who know less about this legacy than people under 45, there may be a further shrinkage of awareness and commitment...

"The other side is that people then rediscover Christianity with a certain freshness, because it's not 'the boring old stuff that we learnt at school and have come to despise'. I see signs of that, talking to youngsters here at Magdalene and in school visits. There is a curiosity about Christianity."

The Sunday Telegraph's poll, which surveyed 2,000 people online, found that 56% of people regard Britain as Christian, rising to 60% among men and 73% among over-65s.

Some 62% said the rise of religious fundamentalism had made Christians afraid to express their faith while 41% said they were not religious.

Comments (5)

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1:27pm Sun 27 Apr 14

varteg1 says...

Not that I care what Williams has to say, but I remind him that if not for his ilk with their constant meddling and interference in the affairs of mankind over the last few thousand years, our race would probably be ten centuries further advanced that it currently is....or exterminated.....tak
e your pick!
Not that I care what Williams has to say, but I remind him that if not for his ilk with their constant meddling and interference in the affairs of mankind over the last few thousand years, our race would probably be ten centuries further advanced that it currently is....or exterminated.....tak e your pick! varteg1
  • Score: -1

7:02pm Mon 28 Apr 14

elfinia says...

I prefer the new guy, Archbishop Welby. He seems more sincere and tuned in to ordinary people.
I prefer the new guy, Archbishop Welby. He seems more sincere and tuned in to ordinary people. elfinia
  • Score: 1

9:29pm Mon 28 Apr 14

welshmen says...

varteg1 wrote:
Not that I care what Williams has to say, but I remind him that if not for his ilk with their constant meddling and interference in the affairs of mankind over the last few thousand years, our race would probably be ten centuries further advanced that it currently is....or exterminated.....tak

e your pick!
varteg1 says, " our race would probably be ten centuries further advanced that it currently is"....

What race?, is that the same race I call British Natives....
[quote][p][bold]varteg1[/bold] wrote: Not that I care what Williams has to say, but I remind him that if not for his ilk with their constant meddling and interference in the affairs of mankind over the last few thousand years, our race would probably be ten centuries further advanced that it currently is....or exterminated.....tak e your pick![/p][/quote]varteg1 says, " our race would probably be ten centuries further advanced that it currently is".... What race?, is that the same race I call British Natives.... welshmen
  • Score: -1

9:24am Tue 29 Apr 14

varteg1 says...

welshmen wrote:
varteg1 wrote:
Not that I care what Williams has to say, but I remind him that if not for his ilk with their constant meddling and interference in the affairs of mankind over the last few thousand years, our race would probably be ten centuries further advanced that it currently is....or exterminated.....tak


e your pick!
varteg1 says, " our race would probably be ten centuries further advanced that it currently is"....

What race?, is that the same race I call British Natives....
You may call them British natives, but DNA genome evidence spells out the fact we are no different to the populations of the rest of Europe.

So what sets us apart...one thing, Language.

For the rest of our characteristics, we are no different to the worst or best across the Continent, we have had our vile and most horrifying times, as well as our most altruistic ones, we dragged millions across the Atlantic in chains to our eternal shame, whilst later ruing our involvement and bringing that inhuman and inhumane trade to a close.
If it had not been for our international pressures Nazi Germany would not have come into existence, much of the worlds ethnic populations would not have been so badly treated, for example the Aborigines of Australia and the rest to whom we showed no mercy in our race to grab their assets.

If anything we need to be enmeshed within the confines of the EU, in the hopes it will help mask our dismally cruel record


So what makes you think we are so wonderful;?
[quote][p][bold]welshmen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]varteg1[/bold] wrote: Not that I care what Williams has to say, but I remind him that if not for his ilk with their constant meddling and interference in the affairs of mankind over the last few thousand years, our race would probably be ten centuries further advanced that it currently is....or exterminated.....tak e your pick![/p][/quote]varteg1 says, " our race would probably be ten centuries further advanced that it currently is".... What race?, is that the same race I call British Natives....[/p][/quote]You may call them British natives, but DNA genome evidence spells out the fact we are no different to the populations of the rest of Europe. So what sets us apart...one thing, Language. For the rest of our characteristics, we are no different to the worst or best across the Continent, we have had our vile and most horrifying times, as well as our most altruistic ones, we dragged millions across the Atlantic in chains to our eternal shame, whilst later ruing our involvement and bringing that inhuman and inhumane trade to a close. If it had not been for our international pressures Nazi Germany would not have come into existence, much of the worlds ethnic populations would not have been so badly treated, for example the Aborigines of Australia and the rest to whom we showed no mercy in our race to grab their assets. If anything we need to be enmeshed within the confines of the EU, in the hopes it will help mask our dismally cruel record So what makes you think we are so wonderful;? varteg1
  • Score: 0

11:57am Tue 20 May 14

andrewedmondson says...

Williams has accepted that this is not a Christian country. What other conclusion could he make based on numerous surveys.

But of course he is optimistic that Christianity will return in a new guise. Now that is just not going to happen because young people are better educated and will be more so in the future as the grip of the Church of England and the Catholic Church on schools is broken.

The youth of the country determine its future religious nature. Over 10 years ago 65% of 12-17 year olds said they were atheist or agnostic. That figure will inevitably increase.

We are approaching a crisis in education. As religious MPs and the churches press for more religious control in schools, religious belief and practice is in free fall. One day in the not too distant future parents will say NO to religious discrimination in schools, with all of its negative consequences. Instead of pretending to be religious to get their children into the best school, they will demand equality. And many religious parents agree too.

I hope I live long enough to see the disestablishment of the C of E and the secularisation of out public institutions. It is one more way for our society to progress in the area of human rights. But before this happens we can say with confidence that this is not a Christian country and has not been for many years.

NOTE Councillors and MPs are far more religious the population they represent, which is one of the reasons we are in this farcical situation.
Williams has accepted that this is not a Christian country. What other conclusion could he make based on numerous surveys. But of course he is optimistic that Christianity will return in a new guise. Now that is just not going to happen because young people are better educated and will be more so in the future as the grip of the Church of England and the Catholic Church on schools is broken. The youth of the country determine its future religious nature. Over 10 years ago 65% of 12-17 year olds said they were atheist or agnostic. That figure will inevitably increase. We are approaching a crisis in education. As religious MPs and the churches press for more religious control in schools, religious belief and practice is in free fall. One day in the not too distant future parents will say NO to religious discrimination in schools, with all of its negative consequences. Instead of pretending to be religious to get their children into the best school, they will demand equality. And many religious parents agree too. I hope I live long enough to see the disestablishment of the C of E and the secularisation of out public institutions. It is one more way for our society to progress in the area of human rights. But before this happens we can say with confidence that this is not a Christian country and has not been for many years. NOTE Councillors and MPs are far more religious the population they represent, which is one of the reasons we are in this farcical situation. andrewedmondson
  • Score: 3
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