British Church says religious trends report ‘misleading’

May 8th, 2008 - 8:58 pm ICT by admin  


London, May 8 (IANS) The Church of England hit back after a Christian think tank claimed active Christians in Britain will be outnumbered by mosque-going Muslims within 30 years, and that Hindus too will close in soon after. According to Religious Trends, published every year by Christian Research, there will be about 1.96 million active Muslims in Britain, compared with 1.63 million church-going Christians by 2035.

Its forecast for 2050 shows churchgoing in Britain declining to 899,000 while the active Hindu population, now at nearly 400,000 more than doubling to 855,000.

By 2050, it claims, there will be 2.66 million active Muslims in Britain - nearly three times the number of Sunday churchgoers.

A Church of England spokesman said Wednesday: “These sorts of statistics, based on dubious presumptions, do no one of any faith any favours.”

“Faith communities are not in competition and simplistic research like this is misleading and unhelpful,” he said.

The spokesman said the research does not compare like with like. The number of practicing Muslims, for instance, is based on the number of people who said they were active in the 2001 census.

If the same process were applied to Christians, it would give a figure of 20 million active churchgoers, according to the spokesman.

The Reverend Lynda Barley, head of research and statistics for the Archbishops’ Council, said: “The figures for the number of people worshipping in a Church of England church or cathedral each month are 30 percent higher than the electoral roll figures and have remained stable since 2000.”

“These statistics are incomplete and represent only a partial picture of religious trends in Britain today,” she added.

The research is said to be based on an analysis of membership and attendance of all the religious bodies in Britain, including a church census in 2005.

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