A new study has found that the United Kingdom's nonreligious population is now bigger than its combined Christian one, with 26 believers abandoning the faith for every atheist or agnostic who decides to become a Christian.
The Benedict XVI Center for Religion and Society, launched by St. Mary's University in Twickenham, released its May study based on data from the latest British Social Attitudes survey and European Social Survey, with key findings revealing the nation's growing secularization.
The researchers noted that 24.3 million people, or 48.6 percent of the British adult population, identified as "nones" in 2015 and they are predominantly young, white and male.
The nones were found to have different faith backgrounds — 38 percent of people who now say they have no religion were brought up as nones, while 25 percent were brought up as Anglicans, 25 percent as Other Christians, and 11 percent as Catholics, before leaving the faith.
"For every one person brought up with No religion who has become a Christian, twenty-six people brought up as Christians now identify as Nones," the study noted as a key trend.
"It is no secret that a large proportion of the British population consider themselves to have no religion," wrote Stephen Bullivant, professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion and director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St. Mary's University.
"This has been a consistent finding of polls, social surveys, and censuses over the past several decades. In fact, the rise of the nonreligious is arguably the story of British religious history over the past half-century."
Christians, including Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and members of other denominations, made up 43 percent of the population in 2015, down from 67 percent in 1983.
Inner London was found to have by far the fewest nones in Britain, with only 31 percent of people identifying as such. However, this was largely due to the rising migrant populations and growing non-Christian communities. As much as 28 percent of people in inner London said they follow a non-Christian religion, which was higher than any individual Christian grouping.
As a whole, the non-Christian religious population more than quadrupled since its 2 percent share in 1983, rising to 8.4 percent in 2015. The study found that Muslims have been the main source of growth, growing from 0.6 percent to 3.9 percent in the same time period, though Hindus now also make up 2 percent of the population.
Other reports, including one from international think tank the Gatestone Institute released in April, also noted that while Christianity continues to decline in Britain, both the Islam and the none communities continue to rise.
"British multiculturalists are feeding Islamic fundamentalism. Above all, Londonistan, with its new 423 mosques, is built on the sad ruins of English Christianity," the think tank said then.
It pointed out that since 2001, 500 churches in London of all denominations have been turned into private homes, while the number of Muslims has grown by almost a million.
Gatestone also warned that as many as 100 Islamic sharia courts are now operating in London, despite their rejection of human rights and the values of freedom and equality of English Common Law.