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For the First Time, Christians are a Minority in England

For the First Time, Christians are a Minority in England

Christianity has become a minority in England and Wales, as fewer than half of all citizens consider themselves Christian. 

Britain has become increasingly less religious in the last decade, and for the first time a minority of the population considers themselves part of the country’s official religion. 

The Office for National Statistics announced this week that roughly 46 percent of the population of England and Wales describe themselves as Christian, a 13 percent drop from a decade earlier. Both the Muslim and Hindu populations slightly increased, while the “nones” — those who identify with no religion — grew from one in four people to one in three. 

The shift has caused many secular campaigners to rethink the way religion is woven into British society. The nation has state-funded Church of England schools and even bishops who sit in Parliament. But according to Andrew Copson, chief executive of the charity Humanists U.K., the shift shows the U.K. is “almost certainly one of the least religious countries on Earth.”

Religious leaders in England shared with AP News that they are not surprised by the results, and see it as a challenge for the Church to overcome. 

“We have left behind the era when many people almost automatically identified as Christian, but other surveys consistently show how the same people still seek spiritual truth and wisdom and a set of values to live by,” said Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell.

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