You know how they say you can make statistics mean anything you want … well the C of E responded to the religious census today, saying ‘Census figures …confirm … that Christianity remains the largest religion in England in 2011, with 31.5 million people (59.4 per cent of the population) self-identifying as Christians.’
Now I’d been listening to this census thing on the car radio, and got the distinct impression from our trusty and oh-so-objective media friends that it was BAD news for us Christians …
The C of E Director of Communications was much more robust: “During the past decade alone the CofE has baptised an average of 2,500 people a week – with a 40% increase in adult baptisms – conducted more than 1000 weddings a week, celebrated the ordination of more than 5,000 new priests and maintained more than 16,000 parish church buildings. While 253 churches closed over the past decade, 1,000 new congregations were started through the Fresh Expressions initiative.
“Today’s figures pose questions – not least for most of the London based national media – about whether their perceptions and reporting of faith accurately reflect the reality of a faithful nation, especially when considering the figures in the North East and North West of the country.”
So there. But my absolute favourite paragraph is the final one …
“Doubtless, campaigning atheist organisations will attempt to minimise the significance of the majority figures for faith and Christianity. In fact, these figures draw attention to the free ride that had been given to these bodies whose total membership would barely fill half of Old Trafford. For instance there are an estimated 28,000 members of British Humanist Association – the same membership as Union of Catholic Mothers, whilst the National Secular Society has an estimated 5,000 – the same as the British Sausage Appreciation Society.”
SAUSAGE APPRECIATION???!!! that is so cheeky
(For the whole text you can go to http://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2012/12/census-2011.aspx )