The quiet majority?

By Simon Barrow
March 19, 2007

It would be interesting to know what questions were asked in the recent BBC survey which indicated that up to 33 per cent of Christians feel discriminated against.

We'll try and find out. (See: BBC survey says Christians feel they are discriminated against). One element of the picture has been less commented upon, including by Ekklesia. Two-thirds of respondents from a representative survey appear not to have seen themselves in victim terms. Depending on how the process was handled, that may be quite significant. It is a known problem with sampling that when scenarios are put or implied to people, the possibility of autosuggestion can distort the results.

Put simply, if you are asked whether you feel you have been discriminated against, this notion may occur to you in a way that it has not in the past. Of course, professional polling techniques are aware of this and seek to compensate for it mathematically. But in an era of "commissioned surveys", control over questioning may be influenced by other factors.

Nonetheless, and in spite of the efforts of some fairly vociferous lobby groups, most Christians, it seems, do not buy into the notion that they are being undermined or threatened in an organised way. They may be aware that their assumptions, symbols and institutions are less prevalent or influential, and that there is less appreciation of understanding of their convictions (both features of the situation we call post-Chrsitendom). But that does not mean that they take this as discrimination.

That said, it would be wrong to deny that the poll does not illustrate a significant and probably growing sense of unease - something that needs to be addressed. We think the best way to do so is to seek greater understanding of the dynamics of late modern Britain, and to reappraise the Christians possibilities of a changing context in a positive light. There is real liberation in the demise of the Christendom settlement, not just difficulty (though there is that too). That is our essential message. See: Crying 'discrimination' harms churches message.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.