Just Sociology

The undeniable trend of secularization in the UK

Throughout the world, there has been a long-standing discourse about the change in the role of religion in society, also known as secularization. In the United Kingdom, this discussion has become increasingly important, as seen in the statistics from recent surveys.

Despite the fact that a large portion of the UK population identifies as religious or spiritual, there is a growing trend towards secularization that has led to questions about the future impact of religion on society. This article aims to provide an overview of evidence supporting secularization, including statistics on religious belonging, behavior, and belief, alongside an evaluation of the view of secularization.

Statistics on Religious Belonging

According to the British Social Attitudes Survey, the number of UK adults identifying as Anglican has declined from 40% to 12% between 1983 and 2017, while the number of those identifying with no religion has increased from 31% to 52%. Christian affiliation has decreased overall, with the highest increase in those identifying as Muslim since 2004.

This demonstrates the growing diversity of religious beliefs in the UK, as well as a significant shift away from traditional Christian faith.

Statistics on Religious Behaviour

The Church of England, traditionally one of the most prominent religious institutions in the UK, has seen a decline in weekly church attendance from 30% in 1980 to 14% in 2018. There has also been a decline in religious rites such as hatching (baptism), matching (marriage), and dispatching (funeral).

In addition, the number of people choosing a civil ceremony has been steadily increasing, contributing to an overall decrease in the presence of religion in daily life.

Statistics on Religious Belief

A YouGov poll in 2018 found that 37% of Britons expressed belief in a higher spiritual power, while 35% stated that they believed in no higher power. The poll also revealed that younger people were more likely to believe in no higher power than older people, indicating a generational shift in beliefs.

These statistics suggest that there is a decline in traditional religious beliefs among the UK population.


While there is evidence supporting secularization in the UK, there are also counterarguments to consider. One such argument is that the growing religious diversity suggests that religion is not declining, but rather adapting to societal changes.

Additionally, the subjective nature of religious belief means that it is difficult to measure religious affiliation accurately, and thereby difficult to determine a decline in religious belief.

Supporting arguments

Despite these counterarguments, there are still supporting arguments for the view of secularization. The declining social significance of religion is evident in the decline of weekly church attendance and the decreasing use of religious rites.

Furthermore, the statistics on religious belonging, behavior, and belief all point towards a diminishing role of religion in the lives of UK citizens. This trend is not exclusive to the UK but is seen in other countries worldwide.


The evidence for secularization in the UK is clear with a decrease in Christian and religious affiliation, church attendance, and use of religious rites. Additionally, there has been a shift towards a belief in no higher power among younger generations.

While there are counterarguments, such as growing religious diversity and the subjective nature of beliefs, the overall trend towards secularization is undeniable. This may have significant implications for the role of religion in UK society in the future.

In conclusion, the evidence supporting secularization in the UK is clear, as shown by declining religious affiliation, church attendance, and use of religious rites. While there are counterarguments, the overall trend towards secularization is undeniable, and it has significant implications for the role of religion in UK society in the future.

It is important to carefully consider the implications of these changes and to continue exploring both the challenges and opportunities presented by secularization. FAQs:

Q: How does the decline in religious affiliation affect religious institutions?

A: Religious institutions are likely to experience a decline in membership and may need to adapt their practices to remain relevant. Q: What impact does the shift towards secularization have on society?

A: The shift towards secularization can lead to a more diverse and pluralistic society, but it can also prompt challenges to traditional social values and norms. Q: Are younger generations less religious than older generations?

A: Yes, younger generations in the UK are less likely to identify with a religion or believe in higher powers compared to older generations. Q: Does the decline of religion necessarily mean a decrease in morality or values?

A: No, morality and values are not exclusively tied to religious beliefs and can be shaped by a variety of factors. Q: Do counterarguments negate the evidence supporting secularization?

A: No, the presence of counterarguments does not negate the overall trend towards secularization, which is supported by significant statistical evidence.

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