Via Dawkins' site, I caught this article from the London Times, and its headline is a thing of such beauty it practically made me weep for joy: Churchgoing on its knees as Christianity falls out of favour. The article's lead practically has you grabbing the phone to hire a marching band and sending out eVites for a block party. If only this were America.
Church attendance in Britain is declining so fast that the number of regular churchgoers will be fewer than those attending mosques within a generation, research published today suggests.
The fall - from the four million people who attend church at least once a month today - means that the Church of England, Catholicism and other denominations will become financially unviable. A lack of funds from the collection plate to support the Christian infrastructure, including church upkeep and ministers’ pay and pensions, will force church closures as ageing congregations die.
But then, read on a bit, and the other shoe drops.
In contrast, the number of actively religious Muslims will have increased from about one million today to 1.96 million in 2035.
According to Religious Trends, a comprehensive statistical analysis of religious practice in Britain, published by Christian Research, even Hindus will come close to outnumbering churchgoers within a generation.
Okay, it's great to see one pernicious religion biting the dust somewhere, but the idea is not that we just want to see its former prominence supplanted by yet another pernicious religion...one even more pernicious, since, while Christianity's fanatics (say, Paul Hill) only occasionally resort to outright murder, Islam's are all too gung-ho about it. When Muslims will parade with signs that say "Behead Those Who Insult Islam!" you know you're dealing with something far too FUBAR to be dealt with through civilized dialogue. Reason may win the fight fairly easily against Christianity, but if Islam, with its barbaric sharia laws and general bent towards theocratic fascism, simply slipped in and took its place, we'd be even worse off than where we started.
Atheists and rationalists still have a long way to go, and a lot of work to do, before the civilized world gets the message that the best way to get through life and get along with your fellow man is actually to use that little lump of grey matter between your ears.