Church of England ‘Faces Extinction,’ Says Ex-Archbishop; Churchgoers Should Be ‘Ashamed’ of Themselves

One (almost) down, a bunch more to go.

The Church of England is “one generation away from extinction”, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.

Lord Carey, 78, said churchgoers should be “ashamed” of themselves for failing to invest more in young people and called for urgent action before it’s too late.

The outspoken Lord said that unless more was done to attract new worshipers, every one of the 43 CofE dioceses across the world could be wiped out within 25 years.

He also expressed fears that the modern church was too old fashioned and “not the most exciting place to meet new people“.

Because I’ll grab any opportunity to plug my favorite British comedy duo, Mitchell and Webb, here’s a sketch in which a couple mistakenly believes that the local church is “a great place to make friends”:

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(Image via Shutterstock)

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • God’s Starship

    Churches are a great way to meet people. Unfortunately the people you meet can be scary as fuck.

    • Leah

      They can also be great. Just as in any social situation in the world.

      • God’s Starship

        I meet fewer people who think Obama is going to force them into a gay marriage at the gym. That’s all I’m saying.

        • Leah

          Interestingly enough, I’ve never met someone with that specific fear. And I’ve been in my fair share of churches. But of course, I don’t doubt your personal experience.

      • Artor

        I can find great people elsewhere, without a guarantee that they are already irrational dupes.

        • Leah

          I just want to make sure I am understanding you correctly. All religious people are guaranteed “irrational dupes”?

          • JohnnieCanuck

            If they aren’t, then they find value in allowing people to assume that they are. Not a great recommendation either.

            Oh and you added the ‘all’ to his words, moving it to an absolute statement.

            • Leah

              The syntax of his original statement is a bit confusing, but I think the “all” was justified in light of the “guarantee” language, and it’s placement in the sentence.

              So, I find value in allowing people to assume I am an irrational dupe. Let me think about that one.

              • JohnnieCanuck

                Consider where you are posting. — Here there be atheists.

                You joined with a set of believers because of what you had in common with them, some beliefs. Only people who don’t accept your particular beliefs will see you as a dupe. Sadly, that is the majority of the world’s population that don’t follow your religion. Also all the sects within your religion that can clearly see that they alone are right about certain things and you are not.

                One way of looking at this is that the price of acceptance in such an in-group includes professing belief in something quite extreme. That is, not just everyday healing miracles, but returning to life miracles.

            • Artor

              I did say “guarantee,” which kinda implies all. I have an old family friend who is extremely intelligent, science-minded, and otherwise rational. But he is a church-goer, and when talking to him, it’s jarring to see his mind disconnect from his mouth.

              • Leah

                It seems disconnected to you. Perhaps it doesn’t seem disconnected this extremely intelligent, science-minded person. Who is right?

                • Artor

                  Me, of course. I’m sure he doesn’t think he’s being irrational, and would easily spot the logical fallacies on any other subject but his faith. But fallacies are even more glaring from someone who taught me what a few of them meant in the first place.

                • Leah

                  I don’t know if I’m right about anything, and I don’t know if you’re right about anything, but damn, you sound confident! At any rate, perhaps he is able to “reconcile” these logical fallacies somehow. Or else he’s just being dishonest with himself and everybody else, which is unfortunate.

                • JohnnieCanuck

                  It’s compartmentalisation and it is a feature of human minds. More a bug than a feature, actually. Another term is cognitive dissonance.

                  Lewis Carroll commented on it when the White Queen bragged about believing “six impossible things before breakfast”.

          • Artor

            In at least one aspect of their person, yes. Humans have an amazing ability to compartmentalize, so this doesn’t mean it carries through everything they do, but the fact that they are church-going religious people means that they have an irrational aspect they are duped into spending time and resources to indulge.

            • Leah

              I wouldn’t say I have been “duped” in to church-going. I’ve actually give it a significant amount of thought, especially in the past few years, and have made a conscious decision to continue.

              • Artor

                I’m sorry to hear it. I hope you come to a better conclusion some day.

                • Leah

                  Cool.

          • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            All religious people are, at the very least, selectively irrational about what most consider an important part of their life.

            • Leah

              You know, I apologize. I actually agree with you, and I’ve actually argued your point to other religious people, particularly Christians. I’m not a big apologist – I actually DO think Christianity is irrational in a lot of respects. And though I do usually view myself as being rational, and feel like I’ve proven that in many instances, perhaps the “compartmentalization” theory proves true here.

              However, while I acknowledge that religion, or Christianity in particular, is not rational, we part ways in that I don’t see “rationality” as the most important gauge of “truth” or “reality” in every aspect of the world. I think the ability to reason is really crucial in a lot of instances, but at some points, things like emotion, experience, relationships, love, etc, kind of defy rationality, but seem a million times more important. This may be the humanities-inclined part of me speaking, and I feel like I’m fumbling my words. But I guess I don’t feel that science or reason alone quite explains everything about ME. And in that uncertain space lies the possibility for something often termed “god.” Maybe it’s that dichotomy between heart and head and finding a very precarious balance between them.

              Anyway, I don’t know why I was so offended before. I guess the term” duped” implies that I, and all religious people, are kind of stupid, or that we’ve been passively tricked into supporting wicked institutions, etc. I think that there are other kinds of intelligence and other kinds of wisdom that religious people might have that don’t make the headlines on Friendly Atheist. Other kinds than just the also good “freethinking” done by the minds on this blog. And I think the vastness and diversity of human experience on this planet allows for that.

              All right, go ahead, down-vote me.

              • smrnda

                Not down-voting, but I find it strange that people think of ‘reason’ and ‘emotion’ as being in opposition. If someone asked me “why do you love the person you are with?” I’d have reasons based on evidence. If someone asked “do you think she loves you?” I’d also have reasons, based on evidence of some kind. I feel like human emotions, love, relationships and such aren’t totally separate from logic and reason.

                Take how upset people get when a loved one defies expectations for no clear reason – ‘why did this person I love not do X?’ is upsetting when X is something you expect that you’ve taken to be an indicator that the person loves you. It’s more emotionally significant, but not that different than realizing that a program that’s been giving you probabilities on (0,1) starts spitting out NaN errors. Something has gone wrong, and we want to know why.

                • Leah

                  “I feel like human emotions, love, relationships and such aren’t totally separate from logic and reason.”

                  I agree. They aren’t totally separate. But sometimes they are. Sure, I have reasons for loving my husband. We have a lot in common, we have great conversations, he’s a kind, loving, self-sacrificing man. Let’s say those are the reasons I love him. But my love for my daughter seems different. Sure, she’s cute, but otherwise, she keeps me up all night, she is constantly spitting up and I have to keep changing her outfits, she will scream uncontrollably for no reason and I can’t find a way to stop it. That is mainly my relationship with her. Yet I love her more than I have ever loved anyone (except for maybe my husband, but it’s a different sort of love). This love doesn’t seem based too much on “reason.” Maybe it’s just chemicals in my brain that instinctually make me feel feelings of love for her, but that isn’t “love.”

                  Again, I realize I’m talking to atheists, and these ideas aren’t very well structured. Kind of shooting from the hip here.

                • Pofarmer

                  “Maybe it’s just chemicals in my brain that instinctually make me feel feelings of love for her, but that isn’t “love.””

                  Actually, in large part it probably is. At least the beginnings of it.

                • Leah

                  What do you mean by “beginnings?” Do you think the feeling of love leaves the realm of chemicals?

                • Pofarmer

                  I Have been reading a book called “Sex and God, How religion distorts sexuality”. He argues that feelings of love/ lust start out as pretty much straight out chemical/hormonal responses, and over time develope into more cognitive/intellectual areas, This tends to explain why, at least in part, why many relationships dissolve after a relatively short period of a few years. You can only keep the chemical part up for so long, then the relationship has to transition.

                • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Maybe it’s just chemicals in my brain that instinctually make me feel feelings of love for her, but that isn’t “love.”

                  Actually, it is. But I don’t see why that should matter. The fact that there is a physical mechanism underlying them doesn’t make feelings and emotions any less real, or any less important.

                • Leah

                  That’s how you see it. I see it differently. But at any rate, I appreciate your responses.

              • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                It is not my experience that emotions defy rationality. Quite the opposite, my emotions are an input to my approach to thinking about things. Rationality, for me, isn’t about some cold, passionless logic. It’s simply about weighing evidence, about being intellectually honest in my beliefs, not accepting as true- or possibly true- things that lack evidence. That does not conflict with emotions. It does not require ignoring my emotions in making decisions or forming my beliefs.

                We live our lives according to an inner model we develop. A highly rational approach is one such model- one I favor, and think all people would do well to adopt. But other models serve many people well, too, despite being irrational and not based on reality. Religion is a major component of such a system.

                • Leah

                  I think Drakk kind of hit at what I find “cold” and “passionless” about atheism. It might not be “rationality,” per se. In response to the “emotion, experience, love” thing, he had this to say:

                  “Who says those things can’t be investigated in a rational manner? We know the cause of those things – signalling processes in neural pathways – and what we don’t know we’re working on knowing.”

                  To reduce everything that is most important and meaningful to me to neural pathways is depressing. To me. If it’s not to you, then that’s great. But that’s why I’m not an atheist, because I’m holding out hope that my love for my husband or my daughter means something. Certainly not rational, but definitely crucial for my mental well-being. So I get your second paragraph. Though I’m not sure about the “not based on reality” idea, I can respect your viewpoint. Though perhaps that’s not what you want to hear from a theist.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Cool. You know you have irrational beliefs because you want them to be true. That’s a thing people do- it doesn’t actually bother me, because accuracy and reality aren’t things everyone cares about. Just so long as you know that’s what you’re doing, and don’t claim that that your beliefs are objectively true or make true claims about the nature of reality.

                  The “not based on reality” idea is that you don’t like the idea we’re giant sacks of chemical reactions that feed an organic, imperfect computing device which, through its immense complexity, gives rise to sentient, sapient beings who can begin to understand the universe around them. I think that’s fucking awesome, but a lot of people find it scary. So you choose to believe we’re more than that, even though there is no evidence suggesting it.

                • Leah

                  You think it’s fucking awesome, I don’t. Our perspectives differ. Definitions of “evidence” differ. Even definitions of “reality” differ. It’s a debate that has been raging since humans have thought, and while many atheists and theists alike might say it’s over, I don’t. That’s all.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I don’t think definitions of evidence differ at all, nor do definitions of reality. Evidence is pieces of information, obtained generally through experimentation and observation. Reality is, well, what actually is. If we think reality is one way, we use our little pieces of information to support our proposition, and then we test it to see if our conception of reality holds up when we get even more little bits of information in.

                  Clearly you don’t find it fucking awesome. It terrifies some people. I imagine you would be one of them. So you believe things you know to be non-real, because it’s better for your mental health that way.

                  Out of curiosity, what else could evidence or reality possibly be? How do you define them?

                • Drakk

                  To reduce everything that is most important and meaningful to me to neural pathways is depressing.

                  Really. I found that when I finally understood the fact that everything, even my own body, was made of atoms, that it enhanced my appreciation for atoms rather than reducing my appreciation for myself. Indeed, through studying physics I’ve found myself able to find beauty in things like telescopes (the precision to which those mirrors are ground!), nuclear reactors (the symphony of mathematics behind decay equations! Particles that break the speed of light!), engines (so many components spinning so fast yet near perfect in synchronicity! The creativity behind their design!).

                  What would I see in these thing without my knowledge? At most I could say “pretty” or “cool”.

                  I’m holding out hope that my love for my husband or my daughter means something.

                  It does. To you, and to them. Not to the universe at large. Frankly, the suggestion that those things are meaningless under atheism is somewhat insulting. Is the love of an atheist less meaningful because it isn’t sanctioned by a phantasm in the sky? Are you thinking through the implications of these statements before you post them?

              • Drakk

                I don’t see “rationality” as the most important gauge of “truth” or “reality” in every aspect of the world.

                Because “faith” works so well as a discriminant between true and untrue statements. If you’d rather be happy than factually correct, why don’t you just say it in those terms so we all know not to take you seriously.

                things like emotion, experience, relationships, love, etc, kind of defy rationality, but seem a million times more important.

                Who says those things can’t be investigated in a rational manner? We know the cause of those things – signalling processes in neural pathways – and what we don’t know we’re working on knowing.

                But I guess I don’t feel that science or reason alone quite explains everything about ME. And in that uncertain space lies the possibility for something often termed “god.”

                You do know we actually have a term for this, right? It’s an “argument” we encounter so often that we have a shorthand phrase to refer exactly to the concept: god of the gaps. You are essentially saying that “god” is exactly identical to your own ignorance, because it represents everything you don’t understand (yet). By logical extension, worship of god is worship of your own ignorance. And people wonder why I’m so contemptuous of people who use this argument.

                Maybe it’s that dichotomy between heart and head and finding a very precarious balance between them.

                The heart pumps blood.

                I guess the term” duped” implies that I, and all religious people, are kind of stupid

                Depends on your definition of stupid. You don’t fit mine, because it’s certainly possible to teach (some) religious people both rational thinking and to apply it to every one of the claims they accept as true. Stupid is what I reserve for the type who proudly proclaim that they’ll never ever change their beliefs despite whatever evidence becomes available.

                I think that there are other kinds of intelligence and other kinds of wisdom that religious people might have that don’t make the headlines on Friendly Atheist.

                A claim for which I am sure you have evidence aplenty.

                Any minute now.

                And I think the vastness and diversity of human experience on this planet allows for that.

                …this doesn’t quite simplify down to the “millions of people can’t be wrong” argument, but it certainly evokes it.

                (That argument is terrible too).

                All right, go ahead, down-vote me.

                Since you asked so nicely.

                • Leah

                  “And people wonder why I’m so contemptuous of people who use this argument.”

                  I think you could be “contemptuous” of me for the way I act or the things I do (which you are in ignorance of), but why for the way I think?

                • Drakk

                  Why shouldn’t I be? What else should I judge the thinking human on, if not the pattern of their thoughts?

              • Pofarmer

                “But I guess I don’t feel that science or reason alone quite explains
                everything about ME. And in that uncertain space lies the possibility
                for something often termed “god.” Maybe it’s that dichotomy between
                heart and head and finding a very precarious balance between them.”

                So how do you get from ” I don’t understand everything about me” to, I want to accept the teaching of the Catholic Church.

                • Leah

                  I think the Catholic church’s teachings would be more confident. I feel like there was a lot of uncertain language in that passage you picked out. For instance, “I guess,” “the possibility,” “Maybe,” etc.

                • Pofarmer

                  The thing is, just because an organization or individual is confident in their teachings, it doesn’t then follow that those teachings are true, helpful, or even coherent.

                • Leah

                  That’s not what I was suggesting.

                • Pofarmer

                  So, clue me in here.

                • Leah

                  You said this originally:

                  “So how do you get from ‘I don’t understand everything about me’ to, I want to accept the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

                  I responded by pointing out the uncertain language I was using, which would signify that I wasn’t ready to “accept” anything, but rather, was speculating. I was not implying that since the Catholic church is confident in that particular teaching of theirs, that means they’re right.

                  If some of my ideas seem to bump up against or even intersect with Catholic ideas, that’s fine. But I’m not firmly set in those ideas. I’m open to the idea of them changing as I continue to live and think.

                • Guest

                  You are projecting your wishes and biases into the bible, just as Mr. Borg is doing, just as theologians have done for thousands of years.

  • Fallulah

    Hmmm their true motivations are showing. They are more about saving their “business” than saving “souls”.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Well, I suppose I can’t really blame them for that. You can’t save “souls” without the “business”. Otherwise you’re just one dude in a funny dress speaking oddly and without meaning.

  • islandbrewer

    As soon as I read the title, I immediately looked up a link to that same Mitchell and Webb sketch to post it here!

    Wooo! *high fives*

    • Brian Westley

      At least their hats don’t have skulls on them…

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    The writing on the wall.

    One of the few useful bits of rhetoric to come from the bible.

  • SJH

    “One (almost) down, a bunch more to go.”

    So your goal is to rid to world of those evil religions. If that is not prejudice then what is?

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Actually, the goal is to lead people to critical thinking, which usually (but not always) leads to rejection of superstition and religion. Religions are inherently harmful, though not evil, and while we don’t want to force anyone to think anything, it’d be nice if people engaged their brains just a little bit on the question of religion.

      For example, there’s a discussion over on LJF about anti-theism, in which several women say they are theists because they weighed the evidence and decided that it is in favor of a deity of some sort. While I disagree with that conclusion (I find the evidence or lack thereof swings the other way), I respect it because they arrived at that conclusion through skeptical, critical thinking means. However, none of them participate in organized religion, none of them tithe or believe that intermediaries between them and their deity are necessary, most of them lean Deist (non-interventionary deity mostly) or pagan, and they don’t base their morality off what this deity supposedly said.

      Watching harmful organizations that fleece people and teach them to accept beliefs without evidence self-implode is a good thing.

      • SJH

        Please prove your assertion that religions are inherently harmful. Please do not point to anecdotal stories of where people have use religion to cause harm. Show me that religion has had a net negative effect on society. I would say that you will not be able to do this because societies are far too complex to makes such judgments.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Well, religion is the belief in things without evidence. It exalts and glorifies believing in things without evidence and in the face of contrary evidence. It says that if you want it to be true, it is, and damn the facts. It then places itself on a pedestal where you aren’t supposed to question it, ever, because faith is super special.

          This sort of fuzzy thinking is inherently harmful to society. Once any idea is elevated to the status of religion, any other idea can be as well. The concept of belief as equivalent to fact has caused real harm to our country and the world. The ideological convictions of many on economic policy, for example: in the face of contrary evidence, people still cling to trickle-down economics and tax cuts as the answer in a recession in the face of contrary evidence, and if called out on it point to their faith in the Chicago school to back up their factually erroneous ideas.

          The very base concept of religion (belief without evidence, without question, and in the face of contrary evidence) is inherently harmful.

    • John Perkins

      post-judice

      • Dave Littler

        Beat me to it!

      • SJH

        I’m sure the KKK felt the same way about African-Americans. We all think our prejudices are based upon some knowledge. This knowledge is generally based upon emotion and misinformation rather than reason.

    • Terry Firma

      Let me fix that for you:

      SJH: “So your goal is for people to abandon superstitions and irrational beliefs.”

      TF: “Yes please.”

      • SJH

        Please define “irrational beliefs”. I think you are making assumptions about why people believe what they believe. I wonder if this is due to prejudice rather than rational. I would guess that your hatred of religion is probably an “irrational belief” since there is no evidence that religion equals bad and non-religion equals good.

        • Terry Firma

          Please define “irrational beliefs”.

          I do, every day. Thank you for reading this blog!

          • SJH

            I ask because it is very rational to believe in God. Your comments state that it is not therefore you must define rational differently the most.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Please tell us why it’s rational to believe in any deities at all. We’ll move on to your specific version a bit later.

              • SJH

                Oh please. There are rational beliefs in the existence of God. If you don’t know what they are then perhaps you should do more research.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I have done quite a bit of research. I’ve been unconvinced. Perhaps you should lay out your own personal, rational reasons to believe in a deity and I can see if I find them any more convincing.

    • smrnda

      If I decided to rid the world of crooked pay-day loan sharks, is that prejudice, or is that just determining that a particular line of business is harmful? Is it wrong for me to alert people to pseudoscience medicine that will kill them?

      There’s a huge difference between encouraging people to question certain religious beliefs or pointing out that they are irrational and why and going out and actively trying to *force* churches to close. It’s the difference between arguing against what a book says and calling for the banning of a book. If religions actually have a positive impact or can be supported with reason, they’ll survive, otherwise, not.

      • SJH

        It is prejudice to assume that religious people are crooked and that religion is bad for a society when there is no evidence of that other than the biased stories you hear from like minded people. If a person listens to propaganda and forms there opinions based on those along with their hate then it is bigotry and that is more dangerous than the vast majority of religions.

        • Matt Davis

          No-one’s saying that religious people are crooked, as a general rule. The belief systems themselves, however, are. Remember; people deserve respect, ideas do not.

          • SJH

            How are the belief systems crooked? They are just things not people. They cannot be crooked. Just like any belief system, including atheism, people can use it for evil. Religious people are no more likely to use it for evil as anyone else.

  • sam

    Your product is shit, Mr. Carey. It seems that fewer people are interested in buying it these days, and your solution is to _shame_ them into buying more? I have no business training, but surely that doesn’t work. If I’m a used car salesman, and no one is buying my lemons, is it good business practice to berate potential customers for not buying my shit product?

    • ScottG

      To be more faithful to the analogy: he’s not shaming them for not buying cars. He’s shaming the current car owners for not telling their (younger) friends and family members how great the car is.

      Also: at a local level, many of these churches are somewhat autonomous. The local church is often at fault for not making the changes that they could to encourage more youth outreach.

      • John Herling

        That’s a combination of inertia and complacency, which is characteristic of a lot of churches, including evangelical ones.

  • Amor DeCosmos

    in good news, the Sunday Assembly will be able to pick up some cheap real estate as it broadens in appeal over the next 25 years.

  • Greg G.

    25 years is too long. Close it today.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Faced with dwindling membership, shaming those few remaining members doesn’t seem like an effective way to attract new members or keep the old ones.

    Doubling down on the various practices that drive people away seems to be a broad trend in religion these days.

    • CultOfReason

      LOL. I once had a professor in college who was extremely frustrated that half the class wouldn’t show up, he proceeded to unload on those of us who actually did show up. Go figure.

    • Pofarmer

      This is pretty much exactly what the Catholic Church in the U,S. is up to now. They are going to wind up with the hard core brain washed.

  • scullymom

    love the mitchell and webb video!!

    • Sennju

      That series of sketches is one of my favorites. My favorite current British comedians :D

  • Leah

    Awesome show, compliments of BBC2: http://www.hulu.com/rev

    • Terry Firma

      I’ve seen the trailers for it on Hulu, which make it look pretty dreadful. So it’s good? I’ll try an episode or two.

      • Leah

        It’s gotten great reviews and won several awards in Britain. I think it’s pretty funny and can also appeal to both the religious and non-religious, which is kind of rare for a television series with this sort of theme.

      • FTP_LTR

        Well worth it, if you ask me. Miles Jupp’s generally understated earnestness as Nigel, and whatshisname as the manipulative, and ultimately tortured Archdeacon definitely have their moments. Not to mention the homeless, helpless and hopeless figure of Mick.

        Surprisingly enjoyable, despite the religious setting.

  • Mark Moss

    This is no surprise. England is rapidly becoming an atheist, agnostic or indifferent nation and our churches find most use for weight loss, girl guiding and other such groups…

  • icecreamassassin

    “Lord Carey, 78, said churchgoers should be “ashamed” of themselves for failing to invest more in…”
    …establishing that the claims of objective facts of their belief structure are actually TRUE.

  • Kobe Amick

    Sounds like someone needs a new boy.

  • Dorothy

    the Anglican church used to be dominant in Canada, but it’s just about done here, too. it’s members have polarized, most have gone with the trend toward secularization and become atheists or, more commonly, just lapsed members or ‘nones’. The ones who were really committed to religion left and headed towards churches with more appeal to youth (less stuffy tradition). Unfortunately those churches also tend to be more fundie, so this is not entirely a good trend.
    The age of the average Anglican in Canada is now somewhere in the senior citizen range. i’m one of the rats who deserted the sinking ship (about 20 years ago).

  • Sids

    I’ll believe it when I see it. Wouldn’t be the first time religious leaders have predicted the end.
    Spoiler: so far they’ve been wrong every time

  • David McNerney

    I don’t think this is something we should be celebrating.

    The CofE is for the most part a harmless organization (as religions go). The dwindling numbers are most likely to end up in the clutches of the evangelicals or the Catholic church.

    • islandbrewer

      Or they may just stop going to church altogether.

      • David McNerney

        Much as I’d wish that was the case – it won’t be. They will still have a need to fill that churches do actually provide, especially the cake-baking, tea drinking CofE. And they will get it elsewhere – but those elsewheres are not nice places.

  • Acleron

    It’s always someone else’s fault. Never appears to cross their minds that it is their belief system that is the problem.

  • SGHeathen

    “There is so much violence, too many divided families, too little job security, too many young people with nothing to aim for.” I hate it when church brings this up. The answer is not mission trips, not the bible, not the gospel, not faith. The solution is education and employment. You don’t have that in the church. Every minute spent praying is a minute too much. If solving humanity’s problem is really the goal, people really shouldn’t be encouraged to go to church.

  • CottonBlimp

    He says churchgoers should be “ashamed” for “failing to invest more in young people” – because it’s THEIR job to keep his business running. Then, in the same article, it mentions he said gay marriage would lead to incest and polygamy. I can’t believe young, educated people are leaving this font of compassionate wisdom.

    No, Carey, YOU should be ashamed to associate with such a joke of a church entirely propped up by government assistance. YOU should be ashamed your congregation screwed up as simple a moral issue as women priests. YOU should be ashamed to chastise your former flock for allowing their children the intellectual freedom to leave your horrid institution. YOU should be ashamed to talk about the sanctity of marriage as the former head of a religion started so Henry VIII could remarry and kill his wives.

  • Old Fogey

    I think a lot of what has been going on over here (UK) is that people are slowly realising that they don’t have to play the religious role. For many years my mother-in-law insisted here family went to church on Sunday, because that is what you did, and it was “not done” to stand out as different.

    After their last move (40 years ago) there wasn’t a church that she liked conveniently to hand, so she fell out of the habit.

    Talking to her now, in her late 80′s, she is clear that she no longer believes, and is not at all sure that she ever did – it was a matter of tradition and convention. She even put “none” on the last census, which I think left her feeling free, if with a frisson of superstitious worry left over.

    There is a kind of snowball effect. As people become freer about saying they are an atheist, it encourages others to join them because they loose their fear of standing out from the crowd.


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