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Fact Sheets

“The re-emergence of religion in the public square is one of the biggest and most significant paradigm shifts of recent times.”


Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford

There are 7.5 billion people in the world and an estimated 85% identify with a religious group. The biggest religion is Christianity, accounting for about one-third of the earth’s population. The next is Islam whose adherents make up about one-quarter of the world’s inhabitants. There are about one billion Hindus, 500 million Buddhists, 14 million Jews and many smaller faith groups http://www.pewforum.org/.

Understanding religion and belief is and will remain central to public life and debate, however significant the growth of secularism. Tens of millions of people in the UK continue to identify with a religious faith and we all have frequent encounters with people of all faiths and beliefs. Religious literacy is essential to understanding the world in which we live and our daily interactions across all levels of society, in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

The media plays a key role in developing and enhancing this understanding. The Religion Media Centre has no editorial line nor does it promote any one religion, or religious belief in general. Instead, it exists to provide accurate, timely and relevant information to the media, enabling the public to be better informed and promoting decision-making based on fact, not prejudice or stereotypes.

Inaugural lecture

Insights from History for a Divided Nation with the Revd Diarmaid MacCulloch Kt (pictured)

The decline in the influence of Protestantism is threatening the cohesion of the United Kingdom, according to a leading academic and author.

The Rev Diarmaid MacCulloch delivered the Religion Media Centre's inaugural lecture to a packed audience at St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London. He said religion in the early 18th century had been one of the main factors behind the creation of the UK, but its relevance had diminished.

“Protestantism is now a private hobby,” he said. “It’s no longer the glue which sticks our nations together.”

Above photo: copyright of Chris Gibbions

Full report and audio

Coming up: Exploring Belief

The third Religion and Media festival, 'Exploring Belief', will be on March 25th at the JW3 Centre, London NW3.

The programme includes keynote speaker Cardinal Vin Nichols and the President of the Society of Editors from Reach PLC, Alison Gow.

Panel discussions will explore ‘How do we talk about Muslims and Islam?’, with Rizwana Hamid, Director of the Centre for Media Monitoring; and ‘How do we talk about Israel?’, chaired by David Aaronovitch.

Plus: religion on Instagram with Sophia Smith Galer; young people advising the rest of us on programming and content; and ten top tips for producing a great podcast with Gerard Edwards, CEO of Podcast Radio.

This is an essential event for anyone wanting to help shape or critique the narrative of modern day religion.

Book here