Social Class, Athiests and Theists

The church mouse has written an article that simplifies the research into social background and religious belief by Theos.  Check out the article but mouse raises an interesting question about why there are more people of faith from higher educational and social backgrounds.

The obvious next question is why on earth this should be the case? Perhaps because most of our evangelism approaches are designed in such a way as to appeal to those who want to ‘study’ or debate the issues – perhaps more attractive to those who have been through the university system.

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4 Responses

  1. I was thinking about this the other day and also studied it in my history degree, vis a vis the rise of non-conformist chapels in the 19th c among the ‘working people’ of the north.

    I think its to do with how the established church presents itself, which is essesntially in ‘old’ middle class language & practices. It is heavily influenced by reason and modernity, and appears to be different/special compared to the prevailing culture, and therefore people assume its not for them, because its not accessible or obviously understandable.

    I have to confess I feel that way myself – it just doesn’t make any sense to me as a way of learning about God or worshipping him.

    The last time I went to a traditional service, I wondered if there could be anymore ways to make a newcomer feel uncomfortable – all the standing up, sitting down, kneeling, repeating of words at various times – none of which you can anticipate unless you’ve been there forever. I don’t know if the Lord intended it to be that complicated. I’m sure it works fine once you know it, but its not very user friendly at the front end.

  2. “It is heavily influenced by reason and modernity”

    I just said something like that in another thread 😀

    I agree. But some people want the church to be “the church”. The number of people who complain that we have taken the pews out when they come for a wedding visit. It is difficult to turn around and say “We have never had pews, this church was built without them”. They argue back “but it had pews 10 years ago”. NO IT DIDN’T – IT HAS NEVER HAD PEWS *EVER*!!!

    My best friend isn’t a church goer and when she came to one of my first services she was mortified that it wasn’t anything like “church”. Sometimes you just can’t win. She was much happier at the midweek said communion service.

    I think that is why we need to be an ‘and/both’ church. We find that “the church” actually opens a lot of doors. It also closes a lot of other doors and we need to work out how we can open them.

  3. I know its a tough one but really you can’t do too many things to please folk who only come for hatches, matches and despatches, and since when did anyone come to the Lord based on whether the church had pews or chairs in it 😆

    I think you are right – always both/and. Then each can strengthen the other, and then diverse groups of people will be reached in various ways.

    Hope its going well. Am just off on my ‘electric’ motorbike, lol

  4. Hatches, matches and dispatches are one of the few oportunities to engage with people outside of the building. I’d say that pleasing them whilst they celebrate was vital.

    Helping people to grieve is a privilage. Caring about people is what we are all about isn’t it?

    You would be surprised what factors influence people “coming to the Lord”. If we appear to reject them at the point of contact it’s game over isn’t it? That perception can be carried forward to them and anyone they meet in the next 0-100 years, their friends and their family. If you want pews at your wedding and find uncomfortable wooden chairs nailed together with a plank underneath them (I jest not) you may decide to go elsewhere – the church isn’t the only place to get married.

    Check this out:

    http://www.yourchurchwedding.org/project/

    I think I will stick to 1.6l of petrol powered noise 😀 Well mostly shoe leather and the bus… but occasional big twin fun 😀

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