According to a new analysis of 2011 UK census, one in 10 people under 25 are Muslim, Christianity is declining 50 percent faster than previously thought and in 10 years Islam may become the dominant religion with only a minority identifying as Christian.
The analysis of the 2011 UK census by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that earlier analysis which showed only a 15 percent decline in Christianity was bolstered about 1.2 million foreign-born Christians such as Polish Catholics and Nigerian evangelicals. That is, foreign-born Christian immigrants masked the extent of decline of Christianity among the British-born population.
The Telegraph reports that the latest analysis showed that there were 5.3 million fewer British-born people professing Christianity, a decline of 15 per cent in a decade, and about 6.4 million increase in people describing themselves as having no faith.
In the same period, the number of of people professing Islam in England and Wales rose sharply by 75 percent. This massive surge was caused by about 600,000 foreign-born or immigrant Muslims.
According to The Telegraph, the massive demographic shift is being driven significantly by young people. The census analysis showed that nearly half of British Muslims are under the age of 25 and nearly a quarter of Christians over 65. The proportion of young British who describe themselves as "Christian" even in the "nominal" sense, has dropped below half for the first time. But in the past 15 years the British Muslim population has gone through a dramatic surge increasing by 75 per cent in England and Wales.
The ONS calculated on the basis of the demographic trend that although Christianity is still the dominant religion in the UK with about 50 percent of the population claiming the Christian religion, in 10 years only a minority will identify as Christian.
The portent of "Islamization"?
The portent of "Islamization" is a growing preoccupation among ethnic whites in the UK. The recent statistics will do nothing to allay growing xenophobia.
The Telegraph reports that Prof David Coleman, Professor of demography at Oxford University, comments: "This is a very substantial change – it is difficult to see whether any other change in the census could have been remotely as big. But I wonder how far it reflects an overarching change in society where it is more acceptable more normal to say that you are not religious or are not Christian."
Dr Fraser Watts, a Cambridge theologian, agreed that on the basis of the trend it was possible that people identifying as Christians could become a minority in 10 years. He said: "It is still pretty striking and it is a worrying trend and confirms what anyone can observe - that in many churches the majority of the congregation are over 60."
RT reports that a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said: "While this is a challenge, the fact that six out of 10 people in England and Wales self-identify as Christians is not discouraging. Christianity is no longer a religion of culture but a religion of decision and commitment. People are making a positive choice in self-identifying as Christians."
The analysis also showed that the number of people who identify as atheists increased by 10 percent, from 15 percent to 25 percent. RT reports that the British Humanist Association described the change as a "significant cultural shift."
Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said that the erosion of the influence of Christianity among young people was "unstoppable." He summarized the implications of the ongoing demographic changes: "In another 20 years there are going to be more active Muslims than there are churchgoers."
Calls for de-establishment of the Church of England
The trend that points to an erosion of the influence of Christianity and surge in number of atheists and secularists is driving calls by secular campaigners for the de-establishment of the Church of England.
The Telegraph reports Wood said: "The time has now come that institutional Christianity is no longer justified, the number has dropped below critical mass for which there is no longer any justification for the established Church, for example, or the monarch going through a religious ceremony at coronation. The expressions of optimism by the church are just completely misplaced."
But a spokesman for the Church of England reacted, saying: "These figures highlight the diversity of Christianity in this country today, something which has been increasing for decades and shows the relevance of Christianity to people from all backgrounds. These figures once again confirm that this remains a faithful nation and that the fall in the numbers identifying themselves as Christians is a challenge but – as you can see from the stability of Church of England attendance figures – the committed worshiping center of the church remains firm. The challenge to the Church is to reconnect with the nominal."
The challenge of "segregation"RT notes that increasing immigration and influx of people with diverse ethnic backgrounds is driving segregation in the UK, a phenomenon closely associated with what has been labelled "white flight," that is, white Britons leaving areas where minorities have settled.
According to RT, population statistics show that the number of white Britons in London has decreased from 4.3 million to 3.7 million, that is, about 600,000 white Britons have moved out of the London in the past decade, although the total population of the city has increased by more than a million.
David Goodhart, the director of Demos, a social equality "think-tank," told RT: "We do have an integration problem. Changing ethnic composition of the capital is causing a large exodus of ethnic white out of the city."
Goodhart pointed out that the problem of integration was not uniquely British but widespread in the EU in spite of efforts to eradicate it. He told RT: "Part of the point of the euro was to disperse German power and prevent the rise of nationalism in Europe, but it has done precisely the opposite on both fronts. We now have serious national resentments in countries like Greece."