“Births, deaths and marriages. They’re the only events that get most people in the UK through church doors these days and even that is too often for some. But this doesn’t stop the majority of us calling ourselves Christian. More than half of British people say they believe in God despite only one in seven actually attending a Christian church service each month, says a new study.” So reported BBC News Magazine back on April 3.
It seems that while people find the church thing a little bit difficult, they are willing to recognise God. There’s even a cute catchphrase for this absent majority – believing without belonging.
The church says the results challenge the UK’s secular image, proving not everyone has embraced consumerism as their modern-day god.
It’s not often that it has much to shout about. Congregations have been declining for years, according to figures published by the Christian Research. While some churches are growing and the rate of decline in congregations has slowed, overall numbers are still dropping. It is not alone in suffering this “curse of apathy”.
Local organisations have seen a slump in membership, according to a new YouGov poll, which found 70% of people have no links to community groups like the Women’s Institute, Guides and Scouts.
Read it all here.
Some economists argue there is empirical evidence that believing promotes economic growth, but belonging has no independent effect. Belonging is an input to believing: more belonging with no more believing has no effect on gross national product, conventionally measured. See this Harvard study.