Most often on a Sunday

It appears Northern Ireland still boasts the highest levels of regular church attendance in the UK.

  • merrie

    I note that it is much higher in the Republic of Ireland – around 67% and that in Poland it is higher still – 75%

  • smcgiff

    ‘I note that it is much higher in the Republic of Ireland – around 67%’

    Clearly those of us in the Republic have a lot more to be thankful for than those in the UK. 🙂

    I imagine NI is so much higher than the rest of the UK because of its proportionately higher Catholic populace. All praying to join the Republic!!!

  • Bemused

    And people wonder why the North is a backward, provincial, intolerant hole?

  • Fra

    And people wonder why the North is a backward, provincial, intolerant hole?

    **********************************************

    Hmm, cause people like you? Little thing missing called repect, Bemused.

    Are you not being intolerant yourself with views like that.

    Anyhow this assumption that people with no religion are more tolerant that others is rubbish. I work with those who have faith and those with none and it seems to me that there aren’t much difference between the both.

  • I Wonder

    I note that at least one FP family has ceased attending due to the power-sharing arrangements. I wonder will this most regular group of attendees dwindle from here on in?

  • Kathy_C

    Hi all,

    I read recently that in england soon the majority religion will be Catholic due to the numbers of english/Irish Catholics and due to the Polish immmigrants. Won’t that be interesting……and according to this recent survey the Poles go to Church more than the english, Scots, Welsh, and Irish

  • churchgoer

    Kathy_C
    You fell into the rather superficial error that many others did.

    That report suggested that there may soon be more Catholics worshipping on a Sunday than Anglicans. A huge proportion of people in England profess to be members of the CoE but just aren’t regular attenders.

    The other problem with that survey is that they just looked at attendance at CoE churches and ingored the evangelical churches across England which are actually experiencing some of the fastest growth.

  • It seems the most important statistic is left out of the discussion – how many DON’T go to church. As usual the kudos is claimed by the Godheads, without noting that the majority of NI’s population don’t attend church. As usual they claim more voice in the media than most despite being minority, fractured and generally split (and that’s just the anglicans…) organisations. It is also interesting that the argument also goes ‘a lot of people aren’t regular attenders…’ What that does not take an account of is the large amount of the population who are actively atheist or humanist/agnostic, or more likely to be unconcerned about church issues or churches except when they attend to get married or go to a funeral.

  • eranu

    “I imagine NI is so much higher than the rest of the UK because of its proportionately higher Catholic populace. All praying to join the Republic!!!”

    perhaps the catholics down south are all praying that they dont get stuck with a load of northerners? 🙂

    quick question- do catholics pray to mary and people who have been made saints over the years? as i understand the bible, they are all just people and not God. so they wont be able to hear you and they wont be able to do anything either. maybe ive picked it up wrong?

  • Greenflag

    merrie

    ‘I note that it is much higher in the Republic of Ireland – around 67% ‘ (so the de churched figure would be 33%?)

    That was the 2002 figure for the Republic . The present figure for church attendance in ROI is probably less than 67% .The figures for NI refer to a RECENT survey presumably this year 2007 ?

    The present figure for the de-churched (sounds more politically correct/less threatening than atheist or agnostic) in ROI is IMO probably a little higher than the NI figure of 41% .

    Conclusion .

    When it comes to either Golden Calf or Rosary Beads more are opting for the Veal than the Kneel !

  • kensei

    “quick question- do catholics pray to mary and people who have been made saints over the years? as i understand the bible, they are all just people and not God. so they wont be able to hear you and they wont be able to do anything either. maybe ive picked it up wrong?”

    Catholics pray for intercession. They ask the Saint to pray them in regards to the matter. A bit like asking your friends to do it, except the Saint is dead.

  • hovetwo

    My understanding is they are intercessors. You don’t pray to them as demigods, you ask them to pray on your behalf, in the same way you might ask your family, friends and congregation to pray for you. It puts a human, often female, face on religion for many.

  • kokane

    Another example of how Ulster/Occupied Territories/Wee Six/Non Iron etc always seems to be more in step with the Free State/Eire/Unoccupied Territories etc than the mainland.

    To parpahrase Barney McGee(?) “it is probably a result of being surrounded by water”

  • eranu

    intercession – i can understand that. the thing i dont understand about those prayers is that how can ordinary people in heaven hear prayers from people on earth? i dont know of anywhere in the bible that says this sort of communication is possible? my understanding is of communication between people and God only.
    heading home now, but id be interested if anyone can point out the verses in the bible regarding that.

  • merrie

    Eranu

    Can you let me know where in the bible it says that saints are people and not God

  • Valenciano

    “quick question- do catholics pray to mary and people who have been made saints over the years? as i understand the bible, they are all just people and not God. so they wont be able to hear you and they wont be able to do anything either. maybe ive picked it up wrong?”

    A more pertinent question is why, in this scientific age, people pray at all? Why do people associate themselves with intolerant belief systems which usually have more to do with where they’re born than any logical viewpoints? It’s a mystery.

  • Greenflag

    ‘A more pertinent question is why, in this scientific age, people pray at all?’

    Because it’s their ‘tradition’ and it makes them feel good about themselves .

    ‘Why do people associate themselves with intolerant belief systems ‘

    No idea but it could be because it’s part of the ‘human condition’ . It’s been known for some non religious belief systems to be equally if not more intolerant e.g totalitarian communism and nazism . Even modern ‘capitalism ‘ is by some accounts oblivious to/ ‘intolerant ‘ towards the ‘poor ‘ the weak /white trash / minorities etc . Even Father Jack did not like the poor 🙂

    I read that a group of Mormon students have rejected the prospect of VP Dick Cheney addressing their university graduation ceremony . It would appear the Mormon’s are somewhat intolerant of some aspects of Dick Cheney’s political behaviour. Now where is that compassionate conservatism that Dubya preached a few years back ? Coming back to haunt his Republican would be successors I’d say !

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all, I would think with so many in england and other parts of the UK who do not believe in God that there would be a movement to change the nathional anthem of the UK. If people don’t believe in God then why do they want to sing as their national anthem a song that invokes God to save the queen? I would think people would want that changed….

  • kensei

    “intercession – i can understand that. the thing i dont understand about those prayers is that how can ordinary people in heaven hear prayers from people on earth? i dont know of anywhere in the bible that says this sort of communication is possible? my understanding is of communication between people and God only.
    heading home now, but id be interested if anyone can point out the verses in the bible regarding that.”

    First thing to remember is that the Bible forms only part of the teaching of the Catholic Church. The traditions of the Church are also important. I’ll not go into the doctrinal argument.

    As for prayers to the Saints:

    Revelation 5:8 “The twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. ”

    Also, brief quote from a page I googled:

    The Bible says that our prayers can be hindered by sin or selfishness (James 4:3; I Peter 3:7). Since the saints are now with Jesus and free from sin (Romans 6:7), their prayers can actually be more efficacious than ours. They only ask for what they know to be God’s will for His Church, so they are always heard, as the Bible says: “If we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (I John 5:14-15)

    http://home.nyc.rr.com/mysticalrose/object2a.html

    Similar views with the Orthodox Church:

    http://www.protomartyr.org/prayer.html

    Protestants would of course disagree with much of the above. But people spend years and write realms on this, and it ultimately comes down to your own faith. I’m personally happy to let God sort it out.

  • confused

    If it is true that 67% of people in the ROI attend church on a regular basis I am surprised there are so many fools.
    On the other hand attending church does not make all of them religious and many go out because of tradition.
    This in itself would not make them Christians and is therefore a waste of time.

  • This really is nothing to be proud of.

  • Dave

    I don’t see the problem with people attending churches in NI to worship God. In 2007 in an enlightened society these people should be allowed to maintain their dignity and express their beliefs as they choose and not be slandered by ignorant faceless idiots on messageboards.

  • eranu

    cheers for the info kensei, id written a longer reply but IE seems to have messed up and it didnt post. dont you just hate it when that happens??!!

    “First thing to remember is that the Bible forms only part of the teaching of the Catholic Church. The traditions of the Church are also important. I’ll not go into the doctrinal argument.”

    i think thats a big difference alright. protestants believe only what it says in the bible and dont add anything on. addons i dont think are a good idea, otherwise you can have things like indulgences being sold to people. it actually says in the bible not to add anything on to what God has said there.
    Deuteronomy 4:2
    “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you”

    “prayers of the saints”. in that quote i think protestants believe it as prayers of christians to God. as all christians are saints Ephesians 1:1.
    i still dont see how catholics praying on earth can get a prayer through to a ‘saint’ in heaven though. ive never read of anyone other than God recieving a prayer from a person. it would mean bypassing God. how then could it be done? im fairly sure people dont have email in heaven! but as you say, people spend years writing about this stuff.

    g’night..

  • Marosa

    I thought Christianity was supposed to be about your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Surely then you can pray to God yourself and He will listen to you rather than have a *dead* saint do it – that is one thing I have never understood about Catholicism, along with the Mary stuff.

    No-one in the Bible prays through saints or any other being – they pray to God directly.

  • Valenciano

    “In 2007 in an enlightened society these people should be allowed to maintain their dignity and express their beliefs as they choose and not be slandered by ignorant faceless idiots on messageboards.”

    It wouldn’t be a problem if those people expressed it in private but they don’t. Instead they try to enforce their views on the rest of us and you can see the influence of their sad cult throughout public policy in things such as abortion laws and business opening hours on Sundays and don’t even get me started about AIDS in Africa and the developing world.

    Virtually every major belief in Christianity is simply a continuation of legends from Judaism and mystery religions. So all the other debate about Saints is irrelevant, pointless and academic. It’s a bit like having an argument over whether aliens have green or red skin.

  • FAP

    Catholics go to Church, Muslims go to mosques and others go to bookie offices. The Evangelical whackos do go to their meeting places a lot but to regard the Free P Church, the Moonies, the Church of Scientology etc as religions is stretching it. Does Elizabrit and her ear jugged tampon obsessed idiot son go to kirk every week? What about her two militaristic grandsons (assuming, for argument’s sake, “Prince” Harry is actually a grandson.

  • kokane

    FAP,

    don’t dis the monarch she (along with Bertie?) will be opening new colonial/secto/devolutionary assembly

  • Greenflag

    Eranu,

    ‘protestants believe only what it says in the bible and dont add anything on.’

    In theory true . In practice they don’t have to . There is more than enough variation in ‘interpretation’ of the bible to justify the existence of probably several thousand protestant denomnations around the world from the staid and sensible Methodists to the ‘catholic ‘ anglicans and episcopalians to the presbyterian/baptists all the way to the outer fringe nutters.

    Kensei,

    ‘First thing to remember is that the Bible forms only part of the teaching of the Catholic Church. The traditions of the Church are also important.’

    Indeed but many of the RC Church ‘traditions’ were leftovers/adaptations of earlier Roman and other ancient religions . Roman ‘vestal virgins/ being precursors of RC nuns -Virgin Mary as a continuation of the cult of Isis etc etc

    The ‘saints ‘ business is I believe a medieval add on . At a time in history _feudalism when everybody had to have a protector /intercessor on earth to look after their earthly needs – food -protection etc it made ‘sense ‘ to create intermediaries . Your average european serf / vilein did not have direct access to his earthly lord except on very rare occasions . Thus a class of intermediaries developed to process /administer the feudal relationship between Lord and master . The RC Church developed this a stage further in creating a similar tier of ‘saints’ which helped to reduce the ‘workload’ on the priesthood as sole ‘contact man’ on earth for the heavenly God .

    At a time when 99% of the population was illiterate any ‘religion’ based on biblical reading had to be ‘interpreted’ by church officials. This is where the add ons came in . Not unlike today (even in an age of mass literacy) where many people are still taken advantage of by ‘evangelical’ con men promising all sorts of earthly and non earthly rewards in return for ‘financial ‘ donations . The sale of ‘indulgences’ was a con job and a steady revenue source for the RC Church in the middle ages and indeed later.

    The rise of ‘protestantism’ is associated with the invention of the printing press and ability of society to mass produce ‘books’ including the Bible so that the increasing numbers of readers could see for themselves what was in the ‘Book’ and make their own interpretation .

    The medieval RC Church did not want to see the Bible being ‘mass produced’ for obvious reasons . They feared that the masses of european peasants at the time would be led away from Rome by those who ‘interpreted’ the book differently and in a manner which did not allow for RC Church tradition. They got that right .

    As somebody said you either have ‘faith’ or you don’t . While I would not deny that ‘religion’ or ‘faith’ helps many people in their lives I’d also make the point that it can also ‘warp’ many people and can result in ‘irrational behaviour’ .

    Religion is perhaps in the end like arsenic. If taken – best in small doses .

  • kensei

    “cheers for the info kensei, id written a longer reply but IE seems to have messed up and it didnt post. dont you just hate it when that happens??!!”

    Use Firefox. Not there is a religious war with a definate right answer.
    “But as you say, people spend years writing about this stuff.”

    Precisely. I don’t want the argument because arguing about religion on the internet is the only thing more futile than arguing about politics. You aren’t going to convince me and I’m not going to convince you. It was merely a point of informaion you requested, and if you really what the full story, ten minutes in Google will get you more than can read in several years.

    Marosa

    “I thought Christianity was supposed to be about your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Surely then you can pray to God yourself and He will listen to you rather than have a *dead* saint do it – that is one thing I have never understood about Catholicism, along with the Mary stuff.”

    Read the bloody links I provided then or spend two seconds on google. You may disagree with the position, but then at least you’d know where they are coming from.

  • kensei

    GF

    Too much ignorance, too little time.

  • jaffa

    “Too much ignorance, too little time.”

    What kind of stupid reponse is that?

    Greenflag,

    Sound start but Prods seem to have struggled with heresy as much as the Romans.

    The problem of translating the bible into common languages was that it gave people a little knowledge which they then became quite obsessive about and they were then told that they were justified in holding to the inerrancy of this knowledge and its divinely ordained completeness. It’s ironic that the quote about not adding to the word of God comes from a book well set in the middle of the Old Testament (ie even in scripture we’ve added several hundred thousand words after that).

    Personally I think that the point of “not adding to the word of God” is concerned with keeping faith simple and not overburdening people with man made conjecture and silly rules.

    Back on the “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” point, consider the Puritans. Off they went to New england full of fervour for truth and personal confession but in a very short time you had further division with the Unitarians and then the Universalists, both of which arose from people continueing their education and thorugh their love for scripture their exploration it.

    These people had the gall to check out and compare the common meaning of words used in secular Greek with their attributed use in the Bible. Before long the scholars were falling out with the conservatives with the Unitarians (backed up by Harvard) splitting from the Congregationalists and later the Universalists (with their most famous university backing coming from Tufts) arguing that any remotely coherent reading of scripture (allowing for continuity of theme with the old testament, theological influences of the time and proper use of language, let alone personal conscience and reason), offers a message so far removed from the usual interpretation that the official interpretation seems deliberately malign.

    The great John Calvin (or at least his followesr in Geneva) personally had Servetus, an early Unitarian roasted slowly with his books and writings had hanging from him for pointing out that scripture seemed to him to indicate a subordinate and not a unified relationship between God and Jesus (your will not mine be done…I go to my father’s house…..).

    A great many people who have faith reject religion. I think they do so with the blessing of the Holy Spirit as I think that was the central point of Jesus’ message, well understood by his disciples before the nationalisation of his church by the Roman Empire.

  • Greenflag

    Kensei ,

    ‘Too much ignorance, too little time.’

    Understood 🙂

  • Greenflag

    Jaffa

    ‘The great John Calvin (or at least his followesr in Geneva) personally had Servetus, an early Unitarian roasted slowly with his books and writings hanging from him for pointing out that scripture seemed to him to indicate a subordinate and not a unified relationship between God and Jesus (your will not mine be done…I go to my father’s house…..).

    So the difference between Calvin’s followers and a tribe of cannibal’s is that in the case of the former the roasting of human flesh arose due to a difference of opinions as to the state of perceived relationships between an unseen God and his reputed Son who lived (from Calvin’s time ) 1,600 years ago ? whereas in the case of the latter the ‘roasting of human flesh’ arises due to protein scarcity or some primitive victory over enemies ritual . ‘

    I’m sure the ‘roasted’ in both scenarios appreciated both the theological ‘justification’ and the hunger pangs of their respective executioners ?

    ‘A great many people who have faith reject religion.’

    This is true . But faith in what ? Not necessarily a God /personal God . Perhaps they believe in the Sun or Nature or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or in Mastercard ?

    Some who have no faith don’t reject ‘religion’ in it’s entirety either . They see it as fulfilling a human need in society which otherwise might be filled by something even less desirable than ‘religion’.

    Anyway I gave up trying to count the number of angels on a pin when I was 12 and remain skeptical of all purveyors of ‘religion’ regardless of denomination while at the same time not denying that some are genuinely motivated by a faith which I personnally cannot share .

  • kensei

    “What kind of stupid reponse is that?”

    The type of response that knows that stating respect for Mary is “Isis” worship is a rather old attack on it with little basis, that knows that the concept of “Saints” was about even in the Roman Church (though it did evolve)and that the Catholic Bible was in vernacular in other parts of Europe other than England and wasn’t much of an issue, but doesn’t have time to trawl though and link to the relevant places.

    So I had to settle for basically, “That’s balls”.

  • jaffa

    Kenzei, quite right. Sorry to be so annoyingly self-righteous.

    Greenflag – you protest too much. Every time a thread starts up on faith hereabouts you’re there declaring your non-belief.

    ‘A great many people who have faith reject religion…But faith in what ? Not necessarily a God /personal God”

    I’m not poetic enough to really attempt this but I think you get a buzz of faith when you manage to be simulaneously aware of;

    1) The sheer hugiosity of the universe/creation and the absurd weirdness of the fact that it’s aware of itself through you.

    2) The fleeting brevity of your own place in the world and the teeming mass of humanity that reaches out behind you into history and forwards into the far future

    3) The fact that you don’t really mind the brevity bit because you know in your bones that the greater part of your being is intended to be devoted to the success of humanity as a whole and that personal perception bit is just there to stop you walking into walls, to help you find your dinner and to keep the conversation going so that the general consciousness of humanity evolves, develops and improves (and perhaps makes us more interesting to our creator?).

    4) An feeling that you can see that evil is a symptom of a failure to find meaning outside personal perception and that good is the opposite

    5) Another gut feeling that it’s all going to work out in the end.

    I think this is there is all faith and that it isn’t there in all religion.

    I hope I don’t sound scary but the buzz I mean is a physical feeling where the hair stands up on the back of your neck, you feel very mildly electrocuted and you find yourself laughing out loud. It’s written that when the Holy Spirit came on the disciples they ran about laughing and everyone thought them mad or drunk. I’m not sure if that was spiritual inspiration or a kind of existential relief at throwing off “the letter” (stupid religious rules) and getting to “the living word” (underlying reality) but I think it’s real and worth exploring.

    The bottom line of my faith is that if God exists he’s interested in all of us or none of us and he isn’t petty enough to makes rules about baptisms and confessions and masses and all that other stuff. I also believe that this is Christ’s message, else why all the stories about the good samaritan (not a religious Jewish chap), no lost sheep (all will be redeemed, all loved equally), no lost coin (all valuable), the prodigal son (ready when you are for reconciliation), the model of God as a heavenly father, the conquering of death for all mankind.

    And on the keeping it simple side, the good steward and its attendant parable of the beloved gentile (signified by Abraham’s steward Lazarus) and the not so beloved rich man (signifying Judah and the Pharisees), the whole suffer the little children to come on to me stuff, of such is the kingdom of heaven stuff (ie simple childlike faith – don’t worry about rules) the lillies in the field, the birds in the air.

    Remember Jesus didn’t wash his hands when he ate with the clergy. What’s the point of that display if he wanted us to make up a set of equally stupid rules to celebrate him.

    Either we listen to what Christians call the Holy Spirit (you can call it conscience, insight or the voice of the Flying Spaghetti Monster if you like) and we get along and reach onwards and upwards to whatever is intended for us or we all get poisoned by the tree of knowledge (personal selfish perception, religious division, materialism in the greedy rather than philosophical sense) and we’re all doomed!!! I don’t think we get the last choice but that’s just faith.