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← If you're not religious, tell the census so

If you're not religious, tell the census so - Comments

mlgatheist's Avatar Comment 1 by mlgatheist

Blockquote Its figures have been cited in parliament as evidence that faith is on the increase; that greater public resources should be granted to religious organisations; that the state should fund yet more faith schools.

If the numbers were true then it would indicate that more money should be used to educate the very young in rational thinking. No government money should be used to indoctrinate even more children.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 13:19:42 UTC | #597165

Notstrident's Avatar Comment 2 by Notstrident

Undoubtedly the same sort of statistical error(s) apply to the numbers often quoted for the U.S.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 13:28:13 UTC | #597171

SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 3 by SoHelpMeReason

Does the UK let churches off the hook with taxes like the US does? I'm probably just asking a question I already know the answer to, but just to be sure.

And uh...I would support this public Jedi affiliation, personally. I've been looking around for a new religion recently (sorry guys!) because FSM just doesn't have enough men in dresses for me, who really help me make the spiritual connection. But I'm willing to look past that for the Force.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 13:50:49 UTC | #597182

NH King's Avatar Comment 4 by NH King

Except if the numbers show a high percentage of religious people, then they will run with them. If they show a low percentage of religious people, those numbers will be ignored.

The UK is different than the US, but not that different. Politicians here in the US make up numbers and completely ignore the facts. As an example, our whole body of elected officials went around saying how unpopular the public option was, how the American people hated it, while never once mentioning a poll. There were no polls showing less than 60% public support for the public option.

Not only do we need to be honest on the census and on reputable polls in the UK and US, but we need to find what the census or poll said (even if we don't like it) and make sure the media presents those numbers. If 79% of Britons are religious according to the census, we can't say it's about 70%, and we can't say it's "the vast majority" or round it to 80%. Here in the US, if there are 13% "none"s, it's 13%, not "bigger than you think" or a "sizable percentage" just as it's not an "insignificant minority."

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 13:55:21 UTC | #597183

I.Kant's Avatar Comment 5 by I.Kant

George Pitcher over at his Telegraph blog isnt impressed:

Any pretence that the British Humanist Association had to “fairness” in the public sphere is swept aside this week as it launches its campaign to stop respondents to the ten-yearly national Census on 27 March saying they’re religious. The New Atheists have been beside themselves with rage since the 2001 Census, when 72 per cent of people in England described themselves as Christian. And so the BHA will this week be commanding us all from posters and bus-sides thus: “If you’re not religious for God’s sake say so” (which may be rather more theologically profound than they intend to be).

Read the rest here:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/georgepitcher/100077842/the-religion-control-freaks-are-telling-you-what-to-think-for-the-2011-census/

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 14:14:56 UTC | #597185

Linda Ward's Avatar Comment 6 by Linda Ward

Will the reduction in oil supply to America result in civil war there? The USA is not energy self-sufficient and most of the population doesn't get reality.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 14:19:33 UTC | #597188

MostlyHarmless's Avatar Comment 7 by MostlyHarmless

Comment 3 by SoHelpMeReason :

Does the UK let churches off the hook with taxes like the US does? I'm probably just asking a question I already know the answer to, but just to be sure.

And uh...I would support this public Jedi affiliation, personally. I've been looking around for a new religion recently (sorry guys!) because FSM just doesn't have enough men in dresses for me, who really help me make the spiritual connection. But I'm willing to look past that for the Force.

Hokey religion and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid!

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 14:29:38 UTC | #597189

Dr. monster's Avatar Comment 8 by Dr. monster

i can remember many forms (not just the census) where you are told to pick a religion and there is no option of atheism. I asked why, and was told, it was to determine the type of funeral I would get if I were to die. people just love to pigeonhole.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 15:48:06 UTC | #597216

AsylumWarden's Avatar Comment 9 by AsylumWarden

Read Pitcher's article. Very interesting that you've got an Anglican Priest complaining about it. Can anyone spot an immediate bias anywhere?

Scrolling down to have a look at the comments, they seem to be divided, but this one really got me:

The BHA are as bad as that little creep Dawkins kicking Christianity because it won't bite back, but leaving Islam well alone out of self-admitted cowardice.

Since when does Dawkins, or anyone on here on his site for that matter, leave Islam well alone???

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 16:18:37 UTC | #597233

mixmastergaz's Avatar Comment 10 by mixmastergaz

The BHA are as bad as that little creep Dawkins kicking Christianity because it won't bite back, but leaving Islam well alone out of self-admitted cowardice

I must have missed Richard's confession of cowardice too!

Either that or this is just another liar for Jesus.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 16:44:13 UTC | #597246

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 11 by God fearing Atheist

Comment 5 by I.Kant :

George Pitcher over at his Telegraph blog isnt impressed:

Read the rest here:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/georgepitcher/100077842/the-religion-control-freaks-are-telling-you-what-to-think-for-the-2011-census/

I'm glad the BHA campaign is being noticed.

I was going to ask if Andrew Copson's piece was just on the web, or did it make it to the hard copy of the Guardian.

The "problem" with the BHA campaign is that it could backfire if it does not get enough publicity. Say the Christian percentage changes from 72% to 67%. That could be because only 20% of the population saw the campaign, 10% stuck to Christian, 5% stuck to No religion, Muslim or whatever, and 5% of cultural Christians changed, i.e, 25% of those who saw the campaign. However, I will bet large sums of money that Christian groups will claim that 100% of the population saw the campaign, and that 67% is the true figure after the entire population gave careful consideration to the BHA message.

Now the BHA have chosen the battle, they had better win it!

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 16:49:30 UTC | #597247

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 12 by prettygoodformonkeys

@ Linda Ward

Not sure what kind of oil-based civil war you picture; Texas against all the other states...?

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 16:50:29 UTC | #597248

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 13 by God fearing Atheist

Comment 10 by mixmastergaz :

The BHA are as bad as that little creep Dawkins kicking Christianity because it won't bite back, but leaving Islam well alone out of self-admitted cowardice

I must have missed Richard's confession of cowardice too!

Either that or this is just another liar for Jesus.

Dawkins' self-admitted cowardice WTF!

and again

and more

Its not difficult to see Dawkins being a "coward". Google is your friend.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 17:00:17 UTC | #597252

foundationist's Avatar Comment 14 by foundationist

Comment 3 by SoHelpMeReason :

I've been looking around for a new religion recently (sorry guys!) because FSM just doesn't have enough men in dresses for me, who really help me make the spiritual connection.

I know the craving to see men dressing up. You should quit while you still can. It starts quite harmless, a few Rocky Horror parties, a drag ball here or there. Then you want more, need more to get that special kick. You go into English courtrooms and watch old footage of gaddafi. And before you know it you are in Rome, watching the bishops and cardinals.

I've been down that road, kid, don't you make the same mistakes....

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 17:59:51 UTC | #597274

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 15 by Cook@Tahiti

If Britain really is so irreligious, then why does it keep voting for religious politicians? I bet the majority of Poms on this site voted for Tony Blair in 1997 and again and again.

Even more important than filling out the census correctly, is STOP VOTING for the religious politicians.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:03:28 UTC | #597279

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 16 by Vorlund

Comment 10 by mixmastergaz :

The BHA are as bad as that little creep Dawkins kicking Christianity because it won't bite back, but leaving Islam well alone out of self-admitted cowardice

I must have missed Richard's confession of cowardice too! Either that or this is just another liar for Jesus.

Richard has often taken up issues on the aburdities and evils of islam directly with muslims. Its just another ignorant, congenital and perjured liar, ranting for jesus ben joseph through his streptococcus mutans encrusted teeth.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:08:57 UTC | #597282

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 17 by God fearing Atheist

Comment 15 by Rtambree :

If Britain really is so irreligious, then why does it keep voting for religious politicians? I bet the majority of Poms on this site voted for Tony Blair in 1997 and again and again.

Even more important than filling out the census correctly, is STOP VOTING for the religious politicians.

Blair kept quite until he was leaving office. The famous Alastair Campbell (Director of Communications and Strategy) line was "We don't do god". In his memoirs, Campbell admitted he was telling porkies. He knew full well Blair was religious and it worried him.

The current UK deputy PM is an atheist, though he "respects" religion and his wife is Catholic. I guess he thinks if he says anything against religion he will get less votes, and, more importantly, less nookie.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:21:33 UTC | #597291

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 18 by ZenDruid

I think the results of such a census would be less ambiguous if, for example, the "Christian" box were subdivided into 'bible Christian', 'church Christian', and 'philosophical Christian'. I strongly suspect that a significant fraction would choose the third option.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 19:08:51 UTC | #597321

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 19 by Alan4discussion

Can I remind anyone who did not see it, that we had a discussion in December 2010 about this survey.

Today, a quarter of a century on, there has been a steady and remarkable turnaround. In the latest 2010 BSA report, published earlier this month, only 42% said they were Christians while 51% now say they have no religion.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 19:10:03 UTC | #597323

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 20 by Stevehill

I was struck by this post on the Guardian site from DavidPollock, who seems to have some inside information -

The ONS was at first very sympathetic to changing the question. They even tested a possible new question which produced sensible results - but then said they could not use it. Why? Because too many non-religious Sikhs answered that they had no religion - and "the Government needed to capture the whole Sikh population" and the ONS would not make "Sikh" a category in the ethnicity question because some Sikhs would answer "Indian" instead!

On such perverse foundations we are likely to get yet more faith schools (there's a creationist school in the first list of Michael Gove's "free schools"), to see public services contracted out to religious bodies that are exempt from discrimination laws, to see more millions handed over to religious organisations in the name of 'community cohesion', to see bishops keep their seats in a largely elected House of Lords, and to have the virtues of "faith" preached at us by Government ministers for another ten years.

I agree. This question seems to have been nobbled either by the faith-heads or by politicians seeking an answer they've decided upon in advance as an excuse to hand over e.g. the entire education system to churches.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 19:19:01 UTC | #597331

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 21 by God fearing Atheist

Comment 20 by Stevehill :

I was struck by this post on the Guardian site from DavidPollock, who seems to have some inside information -

This David Pollock?

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 19:24:23 UTC | #597335

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 22 by Rich Wiltshir

I'm sure we're all aware this campaign is unlikely to produce a significant swing toward the BSA (British Social Attitudes) survey of 51.2% However, this is another brick in the wall of reason.

I've just spent my 2011 CD budget on this donation, but it's well worth it.

Defrosting the glacier of religoon needs more heat than this campaign; but all fires of reason serve the goal. There're huge obstacles of literacy and numeracy to overcome, too. Politicians are as guilty as most when it comes to accepting a number on their first impressions; they don't interrogate it, just imagine the votes or promotions it may get them.

This will be interesting, if difficult to locate on publication.

The ONS refused to change the question (though it did pledge to give guidance after the census on the ways in which data should and should not be used) and so we shifted the focus of our activity.

NOW is the time to start campaigning for 2021's census questions; compulsory for everyone over voting age.....

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 19:31:29 UTC | #597342

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 23 by Stafford Gordon

Don't worry, I will let it be known that I am among the rational.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 21:36:05 UTC | #597420

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 24 by Mr DArcy

"What is your religion?"

"None" will be my answer. If people are so foggy in their thinking that they will be confused by the question, then so long will those people deserve the preference given to faith schools or the other results of not being clear minded.

Unfortunately there won't be a box marked "Bollocks".

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 21:58:19 UTC | #597431

Toronto Atheist's Avatar Comment 25 by Toronto Atheist

along with 58% of under-4-year-olds

I wonder if the proprietor of this website has any objection to this statistic. Just curious, is all.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 03:09:20 UTC | #597525

The Plc's Avatar Comment 26 by The Plc

Comment 10 by mixmastergaz :

The BHA are as bad as that little creep Dawkins kicking Christianity because it won't bite back, but leaving Islam well alone out of self-admitted cowardice

I must have missed Richard's confession of cowardice too!

Either that or this is just another liar for Jesus.

I don't think this poster is a liar, just ignorant. They've more than likely based this on some real lies from some Christian defamation blog or Daily Mail column. I severely doubt that the poster has read Dawkins' books or watched any of his documentaries or listened to his lectures for his or herself.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 03:19:41 UTC | #597529

TheVirginian's Avatar Comment 27 by TheVirginian

I was just reading an account from the venerable Bede's "Ecclesiastical History of the English People," (part 4, ch. 16, if you want to look it up), about how, in 686, King Cadwalla of Gewissae (a Christianized Anglo-Saxon), captured the Isle of Wight, he exterminated the native pagan population and brought in Christian settlers. The pagan natives included two young princes who, before their executions, were persuaded to be baptized. So these were deathbed conversions, literally. Bede says that after conversion, "they met bodily death gladly, in the firm faith that through it their souls would pass to eternal life." This sort of horror is why so many Britons still call themselves Christians. Christianity should be outlawed in the UK, and the US, as a terrorist organization that spread through crimes against humanity. Yes, I'm a believer in intellectual freedom, so I don't really support banning Christianity. But it's murderous history should be a matter of public record, and should be taught in schools (Fat chance!) In the U.S., it's a matter of historical record that Christianity provided the legal and theoretical basis for the enslavement of Africans, while banning sex with them, on the grounds that they were pagans and mere contact would be contaminating, but, hey, they could be forced to work for their Christian owners because of specific Bible verses, which hundreds of clergy were more than happy to quote in defending the institution of slavery from the 17th century to 1861, and which subsequently was the underlying basis of segregation. As an American Southerner of an ... ahem ... "certain age," (OK, born in Virginia in 1952, when the Christian system of segregation was still legal) I'm more than familiar with the Christian linkage to those evil systems known as racism and segregation, which I utterly detest. So I fully support Christians espousing their bigotry, just as I will use my right to call them out and expose the biblical basis of their bigotry, and damn them (in a secular sense) for their hatred.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 07:38:17 UTC | #597565

TheVirginian's Avatar Comment 28 by TheVirginian

I was just reading an account from the venerable Bede's "Ecclesiastical History of the English People," (part 4, ch. 16, if you want to look it up), about how, in 686, King Cadwalla of Gewissae (a Christianized Anglo-Saxon), captured the Isle of Wight, he exterminated the native pagan population and brought in Christian settlers. The pagan natives included two young princes who, before their executions, were persuaded to be baptized. So these were deathbed conversions, literally. Bede says that after conversion, "they met bodily death gladly, in the firm faith that through it their souls would pass to eternal life." This sort of horror is why so many Britons still call themselves Christians. Christianity should be outlawed in the UK, and the US, as a terrorist organization that spread through crimes against humanity. Yes, I'm a believer in intellectual freedom, so I don't really support banning Christianity. But it's murderous history should be a matter of public record, and should be taught in schools (Fat chance!) In the U.S., it's a matter of historical record that Christianity provided the legal and theoretical basis for the enslavement of Africans, while banning sex with them, on the grounds that they were pagans and mere contact would be contaminating, but, hey, they could be forced to work for their Christian owners because of specific Bible verses, which hundreds of clergy were more than happy to quote in defending the institution of slavery from the 17th century to 1861, and which subsequently was the underlying basis of segregation. As an American Southerner of an ... ahem ... "certain age," (OK, born in Virginia in 1952, when the Christian system of segregation was still legal) I'm more than familiar with the Christian linkage to those evil systems known as racism and segregation, which I utterly detest. So I fully support Christians espousing their bigotry, just as I will use my right to call them out and expose the biblical basis of their bigotry, and damn them (in a secular sense) for their hatred.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 07:40:48 UTC | #597566

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 29 by Schrodinger's Cat

The reasons why the data from the 2001 census was so aberrant are simple and well known. They mostly have to do with the fact that the question is a closed and leading one: "What is your religion?" This question is demonstrated to produce a much higher number of "religious" responses than non-presumptuous questions such as: "Do you have a religion?"

Even that revised question is wrong. What should be asked is 'Do you practice any religion ?'.....or some question which at the very least distinguishes a person from the hordes of 'nominal' people.

One of the things I've always found amusing is, for example, the sheer number of 'Christians' who were offended by Life Of Brian.....but who live anything but Christian lives and never go to church. At some point, as I think Richard Dawkins even says to the Bishop of Durham in The God Delusion video, one has abandoned sufficient tennets of the faith as to make one's faith meaningless.

Tue, 01 Mar 2011 10:11:57 UTC | #597607

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 30 by SaganTheCat

http://newsthump.com/2011/03/03/2011-census-organisers-brace-themselves-for-millions-pretending-to-be-christians/

Thu, 03 Mar 2011 13:12:41 UTC | #598324