by Olivia Rutgard, The UK Telegraph Newspaper, 5/14/17.
The decline in Anglicanism may have slowed thanks to a resurgence in patriotism and pride in Christianity, a report has found.
Academic Stephen Bullivant said that the growth in non-religious people has slowed and Anglicanism has seen a small uptick since 2013.
The professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary’s University in Twickenham said that the church was recovering after losing a lot of believers after the publication of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in 2006.
He also said that a rise in patriotism might be linked to greater pride in Christianity among some groups.
“People see Christianity as an expression of Englishness. There has been more rhetoric around Britain being a Christian nation.
“People are looking for ways to connect with others. I suspect a larger proportion of people who do say they are Anglican tend to be patriotic,” he said.
The figures, which are based on an analysis of the British Social Attitudes Survey and the European Social Survey, show the the proportion of people who say they have no religion rose to a high of 50.6 per cent in 2009. It has been static or lower ever since and reached 48.6 per cent in 2015.
Meanwhile the proportion who say they are Church of England worshippers has risen from a low of 16.3 per cent in the same year to 17.1 per cent in 2015.
The report says: “The proportion of self-describing Anglicans in Britain has more than halved, from 40 per cent in 1983, down to 17 per cent in 2015.
“That said, the past three years are worth highlighting. If talk of even a modest Anglican revival would be premature, one certainly can speak of a newfound stability.”
Professor Bullivant added that the release of Dawkins’ book had stopped a lot of latent Anglicans from describing themselves as Christian.
“That book was really aimed at those people who said they were Anglican but didn’t really believe in God,” he said.