Friday, January 04, 2008

Fuzzy Fidelity

What is the dominant religion in Britain today , Robert Piggott , the BBC religious affairs correspondent has an answer. It is not , as you would expect, outright secularism, and certainly not atheism. Far from it , the default position of the majority is what he calls “Fuzzy Fidelity” .He has the research to back it up taken from the Cathie centre for Census and Survey Research in Manchester. The attitudes to religion that predominate can be summarised by the following statements : “A mild dose of it is good for you “ ,“It is a social good “ “I believe something .. sometimes” .
A large group have renounced organised religion but are unwilling to abandon their connection to the Church entirely . They attend seasonal services and rites of passage celebrations but with such determination that a cynical explanation grows less plausible. The group is highly various , some are weak deists, others undecided, some cling to a residual “small voice"; yet more are merely unhappy with materialism. A full 72% of people at the last census identified themselves as Christian and this incontrovertible fact cannot be massaged into non existence .
Professor Linda Woodhead at Lancaster University sees this tenacity in terms of an identity crisis. If we are not white Christians then we are ..what ? . Dr. Abby Day claims to have discovered a growing identification of Church going with sorts of middleclass aspiration, which I find far fetched . The “Damascean” conversion which strikes as ones children approach school age is well documented elsewhere of course. Intriguingly, it has been suggested that it is fashionable , once more , to be religious.If there is an ephemerality to the current “vogue “ that may explain why the Churches voice is not uniformly stronger on moral issues .I think I detect a growing interest in Christian derived morality as it relates to abortion , but I am speaking for myself .
Professor Voas who conducted the research claims we are at staging post on the way to full secularism . I do not agree ….I cannot exactly tell you why but I feel a wind blowing in a new direction . I notice an increased interest in our own history and its Chistian elemements .

I happened to be watching a programme in which a long haired but in fact achingly traditional Cof E Vicar from nearby looked at Zen Buddhism . It was first of a series in which he will taste-test exotic disciplines in search of the usual nebulous rewards. It was by no means as bad as it sounds, but it occurred to me that the BBC have missed a tremendous opportunity. Think of the audience for a "History of the Church of England" . Its intellectual ferment , its martyrs, its virile confidence and glorious works from Donne to St.Pauls to the the Book of Commons Prayer. All this lurks behind the jumble sales and apologetic vicars of today. What a riveting story it would make.
We seem to have reached an impasse ,faith will not die but cannot find a resting place . I just have a feeling that we will start to reappraise our own heritage as the first and best place to look for answers .
Sources
Http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/staff/voas.html
Http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/religstudies/index.php
Http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/apply/research/sfi/ahrcsi/religion_
Economic and Social Research Council Publication “ Britain in 2008”

14 comments:

Newmania said...

Professor Voas who conducted the research sees this position as a staging post on the way to full secularism . I do not ….I cannot exactly tell you why but I feel a wind blowing in a new direction . I see an increased interest in our own history and the Christian part of it . (newmania)


I think you're right, n. Part of the force propelling that whirlwind is of course the backlash against the fragmentation of our culture and heritage which is occurring under the pressure of rapid mass migration and multiculturalism.

Faced with the relativistic hegemony dictated by the EU and nulab, one buttressed by a plethora of non-Christian religions or none, the English are experiencing a revival in our support for the institutional certainty of English Christianity.

However, there does also seem to me to be more than a backlash or fashion fad underlying this resurgence of faith/religion. As well as recoiling from relativism and the numerous crises it has inflicted on us - which together amount to the breakdown of our society, We English seem to me to be doing what all people everywhere and everywhen do at such times of crisis - looking back to a golden age of peace, happiness and order. Whether that Golden Age actually ever existed or not is irrelevant, I think the English need a Golden Age revival and we are going to have one and nulab are going to suffer mightily for that. Christianity is a central part of the collective consciousness we have of that golden age.

Aunti Flo

Newmania said...

...You put that quite beautifully Flo and I agree with every word in fact every syllable . On the other hand these cocerns do not make you anti immigrant , xenophobic still less racist .
People must be free to come and go as we are but there is a limit to the amount of some types of immigration we cansustain and at what rate .

A society confident in itself is the first to welcome newcomers , it is when it is threatened that things are difficult.

People often confuse these matters and usually deliberately

anthonynorth said...

I think a lot of people misunderstand what religion is. The best definition is, I'm sure, a social codification of a Creed. It should be separated from 'spirituality', which is an inner knowing of something 'other.'
People traditionally practice a religion as a social expression of their inner spirituality.
I think what we're seeing, in secular society, is a move away from 'religion', with all its notions of duty, and more towards 'spirituality', in which one can 'feel good' about themselves.
This would explain while many feel 'spiritual' without actually practicing a faith.

Arthurian Legend said...

Hang on a minute...Newmania logged on as himself and signed the first comment piece at the bottom 'Aunti Flo'...and then Newmania as himself follows up directly behind with a comment congratulating and agreeing with Aunti Flo.

Aunti Flo IS Newmania.

QED.

I claim my £5.

mutleythedog said...

I think everyone has spiritual concerns and interests, there are very few real atheists that I know, there are many more agnostics. But often agnosticism is really an expression of cant be bothered to think right now... I was thinking of becoming a Hindu myself they have all these weird twinkly animal Gods..what fun!

Anonymous said...

Aunti Flo IS Newmania.

QED.

I claim my £5. (Arthurian Legend)



Explain then, Arthurian Legend, how Auntie Flo' has such an intimate knowledge of Harlow and the inner machinations of its political machine - one which, I would add, predates newmania's recent move from Islington, where you are aware he lived.

Though I am flattered that would mistake my posting for newmania's worthy prose, I am not flattered to be mistaken for a man.

As will shortly become apparent to you, you've twitted yourself with this daft claim. I expect you to own up to that and apologise to me on newmania in Lewes.

Auntie Flo'

Auntie Flo' said...

Arthurian Legend:


And you should of course apologise to newmania

Newmania said...

I was just moving FLo`s comment onto the right thread AL she is very real.

Nice to see you

Philipa said...

I'll give this post the attention it deserves when I'm not covered in children but ooh, N, you are going to love my latest - I mention you on Iain Dale (copied on my blog)

The gauntlet is down.

Philipa said...

Oh per-lease, Arty leg-end, Auntie Flo is just NOT Newmania.

You know, last year someone I'd written to many times couldn't tell the difference when a third person responded as me. I felt sure he'd know the difference but no. And you know, I was really angry about that.

I thought I had a certain... style. Obviously not :-/

Mrs Smallprint said...

I think that the Church of England has served us well dispite our fondness for labelling it out of touch (we love our rituals and want to keep them).

The separation from Rome followed by change of power from Monarch to parliament helped our country to develop in a way that wouldn't otherwise have been possible.

So, we want the Church but we want it in its place, likewise the Monarchy and Parliament.

At the moment we only have two out of three because one has betrayed us repeatedly by giving away our rights. Sooner or later this will cause real unrest and that is very sad.

Newmania said...

I feel the saame way about what has happened to our Parliamnt Mrs. SP.

Anthony North- I see what you mean but if there is a no socila expression if what you are then it becomes rather self serving and this "inner sprituality" does seem to be associated with a peculiar sort of modern self obsession

Newmania said...

I was thinking of becoming a Hindu myself they have all these weird twinkly animal Gods..what fun!


Mutkley you will scoff but ts has occuurredc to me that the jumble of traditions and ideas that is Conservatism has more in common with Hinduism than anything else i can think of

Anonymous said...

Philipa said...
Oh per-lease, Arty leg-end, Auntie Flo is just NOT Newmania.

You know, last year someone I'd written to many times couldn't tell the difference when a third person responded as me. I felt sure he'd know the difference but no. And you know, I was really angry about that.

I thought I had a certain... style. Obviously not :-/


Thanks, Philipa, shame that AL hasn't had the goodness to apologise yet.

Auntie Flo'

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