Islam is the fastest growing religion in England and Wales, according to new census data. The number of people identifying with no religion nearly doubled over the last decade while the percentage of people who call themselves Christians has dropped to 59 percent, down from 72 percent 10 years ago.
Of the roughly 56.07 million people counted in the census, 33.24 million described themselves as “Christian” while 2.7 million identified as Muslims, an increase from 3.0 percent to 4.8 percent over a 10-year period. Further, the 2.7 million Muslims in England and Wales make it the second largest religion there. The next largest religions are Hinduism (817,000), Sikhism (423,000), Buddhism (248,000) and Judaism (263,000).
Religious leaders attempted to explain away the trend. “Christianity is no longer a religion of culture, but a religion of decision and commitment,” said a spokesman for the Catholic Church.
A spokesman for the Archbishop’s Council of the Church of England said “one of the reasons may well be fewer people identifying as ‘Cultural Christians’ i.e. those who have no active involvement with churches and who may previously have identified as Christian for cultural or historical reasons.”
CNSNews.com has more background:
“Other mainstream and fringe faiths (including pagan, pantheist, wiccan, satanist, druid, “Jedi Knight” and others) lagged far behind, but the number of people declaring themselves to have no religion jumped to 14.4 million, from 7.7 million a decade ago. This means a full one-quarter of people in England and Wales now identify as having no faith.”
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