UK Census 2011: what would Nicky Gumbel do?

Top Christian Nicky Gumbel, of Alpha Course fame, has a point when he says that cultural Christianity isn’t worth much if you’ve never never darkened the doors of a church (save for weddings, Christenings and funerals) or accepted Jesus as your personal saviour or been slain in the Spirit or whatever.

I’m not sure the success of the Census Campaign would do much more than annoy those Christians who like to bang on about how this is a Christian country in online discussions. But that seems a worthy goal, so I’m happy to support it.

You never know, it might even help get the bishops out of the Lords, which would be even better.

The poster on the right wasn’t endorsed by Gumbel or McDonalds (in fact, I’m told Gumbel got the quote from Keith Green): it’s a mashup from Hampshire Humanists which Crispian Jago found. His site has plenty of other census posters for you to enjoy.

10 Comments on "UK Census 2011: what would Nicky Gumbel do?"


  1. Come to think of it, I have geeky friends all over the religious spectrum, but I can’t think of any who are seriously out of sync with their self-identification. (Some people are unsure or conflicted but are generally clear what they’re conflicted between.) So I approve this meme, but I’ll be forwarding it for the benefit of friends who persuade their relatives to do so more than anything else. But I should and will.

    I think being culturally Christian is definitely something (I would sometimes refer to myself as Christian, in comparison to my Jewish fiance) but we don’t really have an umbrella for it, and I heartily agree that “no religion” is a better description than “Christian” for the set of people…

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  2. I approve of the census campaign. I think people should say what they are, e.g. my mum, who AFAIK still puts “C of E” but is probably the most anti-Christian atheist I know.

    Also, I find the following four groups of people annoying: atheists who think they’re a persecuted minority; Christians who think they’re a persecuted minority; atheists who think the country should be run their way because they’re a large majority; Christians who think the country should be run their way because they’re a large majority. I hope that if the census campaign succeeds it should shut at least two out of four up.

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    1. Worst-case scenario for you, then: Christians come out in the majority in the census results, so Christians who think they’re a majority and atheists who think they’re a minority point to that as supporting evidence. But atheists who think they’re a majority continue to argue that most of the people who ticked Christian were really more atheist than theist, and Christians who want to feel persecuted continue to consider most of that census response to be from non-true-Scotsmen. Bingo, all four groups still yammering.

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  3. Since when did anyone take the blindest bit of notice of the census for anything other than even the vaguest (and only that) idea of how many people roughly maybe live somewhere in the country a bit?

    I neither support nor oppose this campaign, because I can’t see the point in it at all.

    In fact I don’t even know why I’m writing this. I must be very bored.

    S.

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    1. Since when did anyone take the blindest bit of notice of the census

      Only demographers, social scientists, doctors, statisticians, civil servants, local councils, economists, marketers, planners, and similar riffraff. No-one who matters, really.

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  4. You know how they’re going to widen the representation of religious leaders in the Lords? Since there were more Jedi than Jews or Sikhs last time, doesn’t that mean they’ll have to put Jedi Masters in the Lords?

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    1. If Gumbel got the quote from Green, then Green got it from the Duke of Wellington. (Being born in Ireland didn’t make him Irish, any more than being born in a stable made him a horse. Apparently.)

      Andrew R

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      1. I thought it was being part of the elect that made you a Christian. Being born part of the elect made you a Christian, regardless of which country you were born in.

        Perhaps I have got that wrong.

        Or perhaps Paul did.

        Romans 8
        For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

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  5. UK law recognises Sikhism as both a religion and an ethnicity

    That’s….odd. I recognise it may be true in law, but it’s probably the oddest thing that could happen to the most explicity opt-in major religious community. I would recognise this of both Hinduism and Judaism (you’re born a Hindu whether you like it or not), but not Sikhism. Wonder why UK law thinks so?

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