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Elaine Graham Grosvenor Research Professor of Practical Theology University of Chester.

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Presentation on theme: "Elaine Graham Grosvenor Research Professor of Practical Theology University of Chester."— Presentation transcript:

1 Elaine Graham Grosvenor Research Professor of Practical Theology University of Chester

2 ‘Is the world we inhabit more, or less, religious than it used to be? Do we witness a decline, redeployment or renaissance of religiosity?’ (Zygmunt Bauman, 1988)

3 YouGov Poll 2011: 55% of adults identified as Christian and 5% of other faiths; 40% professed no religion; 38% of 18-34s = ‘Christian’; 53% ‘no religion’ 70% of over-55s = ‘Christian; 26% no religion. (NB Census: 72% = ‘Christian’)

4 YouGov, 2011: 79% agreed with the statement that religion is a cause of much misery and conflict in the world today; 11% disagreed. 35% agreed that religion is a force for good in the world, but 45% disagreed. “All in all, these data point to a society in which religion is in- creasingly in retreat and nominal. With the principal exception of the older age groups, many of those who claim some religi- ous allegiance fail to underpin it by a belief in God or to trans- late it into regular prayer or attendance at a place of worship. People in general are more inclined to see the negative than the positive aspects of religion, and they certainly want to keep it well out of the political arena.”

5 Joint Council for Qualifications, Aug 2012: candidates sitting A Level RS rose by 3.2% increase in candidates was 4.9%. GSCE RS candidates: Up 17.6% in June 2011 Since 2001, entrants have nearly doubled: 221,974 from 119,550.

6  Religious decline  Religious pluralism  Equality and Diversity legislation  Faith and the “Big Society”  Religious Literacy  AHRC Religion & Society Westminster Faith Debates

7  Buoyancy of numbers amongst Evangelical, Pentecostal Christians  Religious pluralism  New visibility of religion: global, national, local  BUT  Steady decline in Christian & Jewish affiliation and membership  Scepticism, atheism and secularism  The gap between an increasingly secular majority and a heterogenous religious minority - with implications for social cohesion.

8 ‘Britain now finds itself in a situation in which old and new forms of commitment, power and organ- ization co-exist and compete with one another … why Britain can be religious and secular; … why the majority of the population call themselves Christian but are hostile or indifferent to many aspects of religion; why governments embrace ‘faith’ but are suspicious of ‘religion’; why public debate swings between ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘in- tegration’; why religion is viewed as both radical and conservative; why we build multi-faith spaces … but can no longer speak of God in public.’ (Linda Woodhead, 2012)

9  ‘Desecularization’? ‘Revival’? ‘Deprivatization’ of religion?  Co-existence of secularizing and sacralising trends: the irresistible force of faith meets the immovable object of religious scepticism  Talk of the ‘post-secular’ (Jurgen Habermas)  Problematic issues for public religion: law, politics, welfare; competing hierarchies of equality; freedom of speech

10  Convergence of global, national, local pressures on cultural identities, political controversies and community cohesion  From religious ‘belief’ and ‘practice’ to ‘identity’  Academic freedom – secular liberties vs religious sensibilities  Academic interest in religion and spirituality independent of personal commitment; individual quest for faith independent of prior socialization, knowledge or upbringing

11  Mission and identity – greater latitude but con- tinued resistance to ‘doing God’  Image and outreach – the “public theology” of Church foundation HEIs  Governance and leadership  Student experience – identity, belief, vocation, values  Curriculum – especially the gulf in ‘religious literacy’  Chaplaincy provision and priorities – especially for “Generation SBNR”

12  How can Church foundation HEIs articulate an apologia for their Christian roots and evolving mission in a ‘post-secular’ society?  How should the faith-based ethos of a Church HEI be embodied in its governance and leadership?  What would it mean to promote ‘religious literacy’ within an institution? (cf. Goldsmiths/Cambridge project)  What are the patterns and trends of religious affiliation and spiritual quest - and what relationship do they bear to organized religion and institutional chaplaincy?  How do these trends manifest themselves for you; how do local, national, global factors impinge?


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