The decline of a formerly Christian empire
The collapse of Christianity will weaken the entire civilization
I was saddened to see the recent census data in England and Wales show that the only demographics in marked decline are the English and Christians.
Liberal commentators have been claiming it’s a fine thing to see high levels of immigration because it is immigrants propping the Church up. Well, that cannot be true if we have had record highs in immigration in recent years, reaching 1.1 million immigrants arriving in the U.K. last year, and Christian numbers keep falling. Moreover, the number of Christians is still plummeting, putting us in the minority for the first time in modern history.
The U.K. has always been a Christian country. There are those who would argue Joseph of Arimathea arrived in England as the first missionary, the very man who buried Jesus. It has been claimed that St. Paul arrived in England during his journeys West. King Lucius, a second-century king of the Britons, is credited with requesting Christian teachers be sent to this land from the Bishop of Rome. His letters to Pope Eleutherus speak of the Christian conversion of Britain.
We know Christians crossed to the U.K. from Gaul—now France—and planted churches during the 2nd century. And, of course, St. Alban arrived in Hertfordshire in the 3rd or 4th century, and is recorded as one of the first British Christian martyrs—and all of this is before Augustine of Canterbury famously arrived in the year of our Lord 597 as a monk, sent by St. Gregory the Great, to evangelize King Æthelberht.
The Church of England has many roots, Celtic, European, Roman, and potentially Judean. Many would denigrate our history, claiming we began as a pagan nation, but the truth is the British, as British, have always been Christian. These lands are Christian, and our society and our laws were built upon the Christian faith.
It is astonishing, then, to see Christianity fall into a minority religion in the U.K., with only 46.2 percent of people identifying themselves as Christians in the 2021 census. A thirteen-point percentage drop in a decade. What has gone wrong?
If we look at places where the Church is growing: Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Muslim world, we see an orthodox Christianity rooted in traditional doctrine. Conversely, when we look at places the Church is in decline: the U.K., Canada, and America, we see the Church is modernizing, becoming more liberal and less orthodox. Will the liberal churches in the West learn from this? Probably not. Chances are, they’re going to double down on chasing societal norms in an attempt to become more relevant to the secular society around us, therefore pushing the faithful further away.
It seems to me the problem is obvious. The further the Church steps away from God’s law and toward the abstract values of the day, the faster the decline. We are called to be in the world but not of the world.
We take a lot of stick for proclaiming Christian teachings on the issues of marriage, abortion, and sexuality. These traditional messages catch people off guard; they are shocked to hear them because the Church has been silent for too long. It’s time for the bishops to become defenders of the faith once again and start proclaiming the truth. It’s a simple message, the gospel: we are all sinners; sin is bad; we must repent, find faith in Jesus Christ, be born again in the Holy Spirit, and we may live an eternal life in Him.
The question facing us in the U.K. is the same question being asked in the U.S., Australia, Canada, and much of the West, “What kind of country do we want to be?” The liberals have been pushing for a secular society for a number of decades now, leaving behind our Christian foundations, and look at where that has got us. We’re at a crossroads: We must soon decide which values we want to adhere to and maintain. The future of civilized society as we know it will depend upon our answer to that question.
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These daily articles have become part of my steady diet. —BarbaraSign up to receive the WORLD Opinions email newsletter each weekday for sound commentary from trusted voices.
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