In June 2012, the UK based Dorset Humanists wrote:
There’s been a forceful backlash against the ‘new atheism’ of writers like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, inspiring a new wave of Christian apologists. This group includes: Alister McGrath, Professor of Theology at King’s College London, Keith Ward, former Professor of Divinity at Oxford, and John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Many atheists make the mistake of assuming religion is wholly irrational, relying on faith alone but, in a series of interviews recorded for DVD, the apologetics heavyweights from the list above demonstrate their ability to challenge us with reasoned argumentsThe fall of Berlin marked an important turning point of WWII. In addition, the fall of the Berlin wall was a turning point in the godless communism vs. Western capitalism ideological struggle.
So what is the "Berlin" of English speaking atheism? Given British anti-theists' promotion of New Atheism (namely Richard Dawkins and the ex-Brit turned American Christopher Hitchens) and the higher degree of irrreligion in Britain compared to the United States, I would argue that Britian is the capital of English speaking atheism. One could further add that Britain is the birthplace of Darwinism. And evolution is the secular creation myth of atheism/agnosticism and liberal theology.
The New Atheism, a rhetorically militant atheism, has declined considerably and is now essentially dead.
Are there other signs that British atheism is crumbling?
Yes, there are!
Consider this report from the website Premier:
The decline in the number of people calling themselves Christians has halted, new figures suggest.
A small increase in the percentage of Brits who classify themselves as followers of Christ has been found in the British Social Attitudes Survey.On December 14th, 2009, the British newspaper The Telegraph reported:
The report, which is published every year, has not been official released but the Sunday Telegraph has reported some of its findings.
The amount of Brits who say they are Christian has increase in the past year from 42 per cent to 43 per cent, it says.
Such a small change is within the margin of error in surveys but if it is to be believed it shows a decade long decline in Christianity has levelled off.
According to the Mail Evangelical Christianity is on the rise.
Some 4.5million of the UK's foreign-born population claim to have a religious affiliation. Of these, around a quarter are Muslim while more than half are Christian – with Polish Catholics and African Pentecostals among the fastest-growing groups.
While traditional churchgoing is on the decline in the UK over the past decade, the latest immigrants mean Christianity is becoming more charismatic and fundamentalist.
'Perhaps the most significant change has been the growth of Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity within migrant populations, particularly those from Africa and Latin America,' the report found.
'In Lewisham, there are 65 Pentecostal churches serving the Nigerian community, and others serving the Congolese, Ghanaian and Ivorian communities.'
Professor Mike Kenny of IPPR said: 'The research shows that recent waves of inward migration have given a boost to some of the UK's established faith communities at a time when Britain's society and culture are generally more secular, and smaller numbers of the indigenous population are regularly attending churches.
'Recent migration trends are altering the faith map of the UK. Their biggest impact is being felt in some of our largest cities: London above all, where a rich mosaic of different faith communities has come into being.'
Evangelical Christianity might be heavily African-influenced but it’s also spreading among the natives as wellConcerning the future of religion/secularism in Europe, professor Eric Kaufmann wrote:
We have performed these unprecedented analyses on several cases. Austria offers us a window into what the future holds. Its census question on religious affiliation permits us to perform cohort component projections, which show the secular population plateauing by 2050, or as early as 2021 if secularism fails to attract lapsed Christians and new Muslim immigrants at the same rate as it has in the past. (Goujon, Skirbekk et al. 2006).In August 19, 2011, Fox News declared:
This task will arguably become far more difficult as the supply of nominal Christians dries up while more secularisation-resistant Muslims and committed rump Christians comprise an increasing share of the population.
American Evangelical theologian William Lane Craig is ready to debate the rationality of faith during his U.K tour this fall, but it appears that some atheist philosophers are running shy of the challenge.
This month president of the British Humanist Association, Polly Toynbee, pulled out of an agreed debate at London’s Westminster Central Hall in October, saying she “hadn’t realized the nature of Mr. Lane Craig’s debating style.”On August 19, 2011, the leading British Anglican weekly newspaper the Church Times wrote
Lane Craig, who is a professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, Calif., and author of 30 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, is no stranger to the art of debate and has taken on some of the great orators, such as famous atheists Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Harris once described Craig as “the one Christian apologist who has put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists”.
Responding to Toynbee’s cancellation, Lane Craig commented: "These folks (atheists) can be very brave when they are alone at the podium and there's no one there to challenge them. But one of the great things about these debates is that, it allows both sides to be heard on a level playing field, and for the students in the audience to make up their own minds about where they think the truth lies."
The director of Professor Craig’s tour, Peter May, said: “If Craig is ‘wrong about everything else in the universe’ and his arguments for the existence of God are so easy to refute, it is hard to see why the leading atheist voices in the country are running shy of having a debate with him. “Rather than hurling ad hominem attacks on Craig from their bunkers, it would be good to see these figures come forward to rationally defend the atheism they publicly espouse.Oh, British, militant atheists! Your promulgation of atheism tanks are being lit aflame in Britain. And you are unable to pierce the ideological tank armor of the evangelical Christians and other committed Christians. And evangelical Christianity if growing in your country. . All is lost Surrender now!
Given the fact that British atheism is faltering and intellectually dead, it is only a matter of time when British atheism declines and American atheism, Australian atheism and New Zealand atheism decline also. Atheists, are you looking forward to the 21st century global decline of atheism?
On July 24, 2013, CNS News indicated
|Atheism is in decline worldwide, with the number of atheists falling from 4.5% of the world’s population in 1970 to 2.0% in 2010 and projected to drop to 1.8% by 2020, according to a new report by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass."|
Eric Kaufmann told a secular audience in Australia: "The trends that are happening worldwide inevitably in an age of globalization are going to affect us."
- Pentecostalism Invades Lambeth Palace by Peter Berger
Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?
Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? from Australian Broadcasting Corporation on FORA.tv