Monday, January 23, 2012

Statement of Intent

Many studies have documented the current trend of decreasing religiosity in Britain. As a visitor in London, England this summer ('12), I plan to study the trend of decreasing religiosity in the country. According to studies completed in the last year, this decrease in religiosity is being felt almost exclusively in the Church of England, whose membership has halved in the last three decades. Membership in other religions have stayed the same, and non-christian membership has increased as a result of immigration. I am interested to know what motives or attitudes may have caused this disaffection from the Church of England, and why these attitudes have not had a similar effect on other religions in the country. It can be inferred from the data from recent surveys that those who have left the Church of England have not joined other Christian religions, but have dropped out of religious life entirely. I am interested in discovering why no religion is preferred over other christian religions. Lastly, I am interested in discovering how Britons themselves feel about these changes. How many see increasing secularism as a positive change? How many believe it is a negative change? If increasing secularism is a negative change, what harmful effects to society are expected by these changes, and how many of these harmful effects can be observed?

Moreover, I hope this field study will be beneficial because it gives me a chance to apply skills of research and writing that I am developing as a college student in the International Relations program in the actual execution of a research project. My topic deals directly with religion, something I have grown used to asking people about during two years as a missionary in Brazil. In contrast to active proselytizing, this project allows me to approach the topic from a scholastic perspective. I care about how people think about God, and believe the moral basis of religion is an essential part of a successful society. Speaking of of the whole United Kingdom, Prime Minister David Cameron stated, "We are a Christian country. And we should not be afraid to say so." By researching (and hopefully presenting) information about how attitudes about religion are changing in England, I hope people are motivated to think more deeply about the positive a role a belief in God plays in their lives. I recognize that I have a specific point of view about religion due to my upbringing and personal experiences. Still, I hope that seeing the results of religion or the lack thereof will help people to make better decisions about their own lives, and I expect that studying the role of religion in society will further strengthen my core beliefs and values as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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