"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tick "No Religion" in the 2011 Census

If you’re a British adult, you will soon be asked to fill out the 2011 census. The data, collected every ten years, is used to inform government policy and investment based on the demographic revealed in the figures.
In every census there is a question about religious affiliation, which is often filled out unthinkingly by people of little or no religious faith. Either because they instinctively tick “Christian” because C of E or Catholic  was the religion they were baptised into, or they treat it as a joke and write “Jedi” or “Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster” in the “Other” box.
However this year the British Humanist Association is campaigning for all non-religious people to tick the “no religion” box.
Although, if you write atheist or humanist or Jedi in the “other” box, you will be counted as non-religious for census purposes, if you actually are non religious it would send a stronger more consistent message to tick the “no religion” box.
Why does all this matter?
After the 2001 Census, the figures collected were used to justify the following policies:
§ Increase in the number of faith schools
§ The continuation of collective worship in schools
§ The public funding and support of ‘interfaith’ and faith-based organisations above the support offered to secular organisations
§ Suggestions of an increase in the role of faith in Britain under the coalition government
§ The appointments of government advisors on faith
§ Contracting out public services to religious organisations
§ Keeping the 26 Bishops in the House of Lords as of right
§ Continued high number of hours dedicated to religious broadcasting
§ Specific consultation at government and local level with ‘faith communities’ over and above other groups within society
§ Continued privileges for religious groups in equality law and other legislation
I believe that the true number of non-religious people in this country is far higher than the government figures suggest, and so does the BHA. If you are non- religious and want to persuade the government to spend our limited resources differently tick the No Religion box in the 2011 census


  1. They don't even ask about religion in the US census anymore because atheism is on the rise and those writing the questions stopped asking about religion out of "privacy concerns."

  2. I'm surprised it isn't a question.But, are you sure it is because of creeping atheism? I know it's tempting to see the US theocracy everywhere but...