Re: [asa] Re: pendulum swings

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Sat Nov 28 2009 - 18:12:55 EST

Hi Michael,

Without wishing to be too pedantic - I think it important to draw attention to the fact that your remarks re nominal Anglicanism apply only to "England" rather than "Britain" here.

I would think that in Scotland and Northern Ireland the nominal commitments are to Presyterianism or Roman Catholicism with Anglicanism being rather a minority.

This might seem like a triviality except for the fact that, in Scotland at least, the fact that the Scottish Kirk was a purely *Scottish* institution - owing no allegiance whatever to Whitehall - meant that the attitude to the Kirk differed somewhat from the English attitude to the CofE. In particular, there was always a sense in which the Scottish Kirk was inherently anti-establishment whereas the CofE was difficult to distinguish from an arm of government.

I think that in consequence the CofE suffered badly through the mid-20th century at the hands of left-wing (often Marxist) English commentators who, like Christopher Hitchens, felt that Christianity was part and parcel of the established order and that attacking the later therefore meant attacking the former.

In that respect we might draw an analogy between religion in England and that in pre-revolutionary France under the "Ancien Régime" (not a typo) - the French Catholic church suffering in the revolution because of its intimate connections with the monarchy. By contrast Scottish religion has more parallels with that in the US - where being a Christian and a patriot were never at odds and, indeed, the two often went pretty much hand in hand. A phenomena which has been the subject of some study by at least one sociologist (sorry, the references don't come immediately to mind - Rodney Stark perhaps? The book in question is in my personal library, but it would take some time to wade through said collection to find it).


> Many people in Britain are brought up nominally Anglican and get
> confirmed with no commitment. I was one of them! It is especially so in
> public[private] schools. The whole religious map over here is totally
> different
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* David Clounch <>
> *To:* Murray Hogg <>
> *Cc:* ASA <>
> *Sent:* Saturday, November 28, 2009 10:25 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Re: pendulum swings
> Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens were both brought up
> Anglican
> Isn't it also true CS Lewis grew up atheist? As was I. I don't
> know anybody in my family that ever went to church, and that goes
> back at least four generations.

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Received on Sat Nov 28 18:13:10 2009

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