No, Northern Ireland Isn’t A Christian CountryJuly 2, 2009
Quite regularly I hear people say that “Northern Ireland is a Christian country.” But even if you accept the premise (is there really such a thing as a ‘Christian country?’) one would surely have to say that Northern Ireland is less Christian than it used to be. Consider the results of a survey carried out in 2007 on behalf of the Evangelical Alliance of Northern Ireland:
Only 42% of NI respondents can say there are four GospelsOnly 54% of respondents can name the Holy TrinityJust 60% of respondents can name the first book of the BibleOnly 31% of respondents could say the First CommandmentOnly 31% of respondents could identify Martin Luther as the man who started the ReformationJust 21% of NI respondents aged 16-24 could say there are four Gospels versus 54% of the over 65s
Then in 2008, a BBC online survey found the following results concerning Northern Ireland:
• 73% believe in a god/deity/higher power
• 64% believe there is a link between declining church attendance and declining morals in today’s society
• 81% believe that society is moving away from religion
• 71% feel that churches could offer more for young people
• About half (51%) say religions are out of touch with society and need to change with the times
• 21% agree that shops shouldn’t be open on a Sunday
• 61% say sport should be played on a Sunday
• 50% would like churches to develop more online resources
These surveys indicate what few seem to realise: secularism is on the rise in Northern Ireland.
Like the rest of the Europe it has become a mission-field once more.