On the heels of the projection of Christianity’s extinction in Britain, comes a story in the Telegraph of how churches are being rented as camping spaces. “Champing” as they call it is showing how churches in the country are looked at no differently than castles or museums that people pay to visit for historical reasons instead of spiritual.
“As a veteran ‘champer’, I can recommend it without reservation. There’s something so special about the silence and tranquillity of a rural church, and enjoying this over two days is a great way to commune with centuries of history, whilst escaping the push-button trappings of modern life.
“It’s great to be able to give guests the opportunity to be the key holder of one of our churches for a weekend, so they can not only enjoy the interior beauty of these buildings, but also head out and enjoy the natural beauty of rural England in the same way our ancestors would have, travelling on foot, dining at the local pub and soaking up the sights and sounds of the country.”
Damian Thompson writing for The Spectator (UK) on the increasing secularization of Great Britain:
Every ten years the census spells out the situation in detail: between 2001 and 2011 the number of Christians born in Britain fell by 5.3 million — about 10,000 a week. If that rate of decline continues, the mission of St Augustine to the English, together with that of the Irish saints to the Scots, will come to an end in 2067
Saint Paul tells us that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek; the Almighty is not interested in ‘heritage’, the new name for ethnicity. But since Britons with Anglo–Saxon and Celtic ancestors make up 90 per cent of British Christians, that rejection represents a devastating loss of faith.
It has all happened so quickly. Anglicans in particular are abandoning their faith at a rate that (in more ways that one) defies belief. According to the British Social Attitudes surveys, their numbers fell from 40 per cent of the population in 1983 to 29 per cent in 2004 and 17 per cent last year.
And America may be next:
It’s time we abandoned the notion that America is religiously special — living proof that popular Christianity can thrive in an advanced industrial democracy. Last month, Pew Research published a big study about America’s changing religious landscape. Its subtitle was ‘Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow’. All of which applies to Britain, too.
Only 57 per cent of Americans born between 1981 and 1996 identify as Christians; 36 per cent of ‘young Millennials’ between the ages of 18 and 24 are the so-called ‘nones’ — they have no religious affiliation at all.
Michael Brendan Dougherty writing for The Week:
The taboos of secularism interlock in other odd ways. Modern Western secularists feel no anxiety whatsoever when they encounter harsh criticism and satire of Christianity. But if you offer a particularly barbed remark about Islam among the enlightened, someone will ask you to politely agree that Christianity is just as bad. And ironically, this instinct to protect the powerless is a leftover instinct of Christian civilization, which put sayings like “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last” at the heart of its worship and moral imagination.
We used to say of comedians, “He can make that joke, because he’s Jewish.” In this respect, the Western world’s comfort with attacking Christianity is an inadvertent admission that Christianity is “our” religion. And so it elicits from us none of the respect, deference, or fear we give to strangers. Viewed this way, secularism looks less like universal principle than a moral and theological critique derived from Christian sources and pitched back at Christian authorities.