Talk:Religion in Scotland

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Stats on Jews[edit]

The stats given in the other faiths section seem a little muddled, total number is given as 6400, then I don't reall understand what the numbers given after Edinburgh and Glasgow are supposed to represent. are they supposed to be 1,000 and 7,000 (in which case the total doesn't stack up correctly), or are they percentages or something, the numbers actually have decimal points rather than commas in. David Underdown 09:13, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

the text came from the article History of the Jews in Scotland, so I haven't a clue what that editor was thinking, so I removed the offending text and generalised it. --Bob 15:25, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Established church[edit]

The Church of Scotland, also known as The Kirk, is recognised in law (by the Church of Scotland Act 1921) as the national church in Scotland, but is not an established church

But would it not be historically accurate to say that it formerly was an established church (before 1921)? If so (and I'm no expert on Scottish church history) then it would seem more honest to admit the fact, however un-PC it may be to have such a thing. Myopic Bookworm 11:00, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

My understanding is that the answer is "no", but of course we need verifiable references. The UK Act of Parliament merely legislatively confirmed what was already a fact. Now, if you are talking about pre-1707, I do not know if it was "established" in the former Kingdom of Scotland. Can anyone enlighten us. (Ask the editors at the Church of Scotland article too). --Mais oui! 12:27, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes I suppose the Kirk was once an Established Church. Arguably it still is, effectively --Slackbuie 17:31, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

The Church of Scotland was never a state-established Church. It was recognised in 1589 as the national church and the 1921 act was effectively a repeal of the patronage act of 1712 which was supposed to temper parishes from choosing what were considered to be 'fanatical'(read covenanting) ministers through ministerial appointments having to be acquiesced by the landowner. This led unintentionally to the state interfering in matters within the dominion of The Church hence the great disruption of 1843. I would suggest the works of George Buchanan for the Church immediately post-reformation and the works of Thomas Chalmers for up to the mid-19th century. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.132.248.96 (talk) 14:19, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Other Faiths[edit]

I'm going to tweak this a bit. The part about neo-Druids and Wiccans being persecuted "for centuries" is inaccurate as these are modern religions. --Kathryn NicDhàna 21:59, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

I've linked `no religion' to Atheism --- not because those with no religion believe definitively that there is no god, but `negative Atheism' is just the lack of religion (which is explained in that article.) It seemed wrong not to have any link for the second-largest belief system in Scotland. --Jaibe 15:51, 11 February 2007 (UTC) I place myself as 'no religion' because I do not belong to a Church but it does not mean that I am atheist.

No, but huge numbers of 'witches' were certainly hanged and burned for hundreds of years, albeit these were people who were accused of witchcraft. I'd say that being any sort of pagan back in those times was not particularly healthy. --SpaceLem (talk) 11:19, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

The Witchcraft Act of 1563 was passed by the crown in parliament and had nothing to do with The Church of Scotland which was separate from the state. It was mainly used during the smallpox endemic which hit Scotland in the 17th century and to punish covenanters. Always by the state remember.

Membership and claimed affiliation in Christian churches[edit]

User:Grcampbell changed my revision of the introduction because I stated that the Catholic Church had a similar membership to the Church of Scotland. Well, yes and no. Church statistics in Scotland are notoriously complicated because different denominations count their members in different ways. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (1997) suggested that some 20 per cent of the population was Catholic- by the 2001 census [1] this had fallen to 15.88 per cent of the population calling themselves this, whilst- right enough!- 42.40 per cent described themselves as 'Church of Scotland'. However, many of those calling themselves 'Catholic' or 'Church of Scotland' may not, in fact, be 'official' members of the denomination in question. The membership of the Church of Scotland is around the 600,000 mark [2]- unfortunately at this time of night I can't get statistics for the Catholic Church, but I note that Bernard Aspinall in The Oxford Companion to Scottish History suggests that in 1990s Sunday Mass attendance was around a quarter of a million. --Slackbuie 23:30, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

47% and 20% are too different to say that they are the same. The referenced table at the bottom states the faith of those questioned, yet we state something completely different in the introduction. Coherency is a must within any encyclopedia, which is why I partially reverted your changes. --Bob 22:15, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
I should have said that the Catholic Church claims a roughly similar membership as the Church of Scotland. However the basic problem is that different churches figure these things out in different ways. The number of people claiming some sort of affiliation to the Church of Scotland is much greater than the figure the Church of Scotland would claim as their membership. Church of Scotland congregations are required to state the numbers of more or less active members, whereas I believe the Catholic church simply estimates the number of baptised Catholics living in a parish. I think that the census results are a more accurate picture of the religious situation than trying to compare church statistics which measure different things. But for active participation in religion the best figures are those relating to church attendance, which I will try and dig out sometime. --Slackbuie 17:38, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

The Church of Scotland has both members and adherents. Being a member entitles one to vote in elections to The General Assembly while being an adherent does not. Taking membership as your guide would be the equivalent of counting population by a voters roll. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.132.139.33 (talk) 14:30, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Largely Secular?[edit]

"Scotland is now a largely secular nation, with Church attendance very low"

I don't think this statement is justified factually. Currently 3389490 million people in Scotland are apart of a religion according to the facts provided in the article itself. There is no source to the claim that Church attendance is "very low". If no-one provides facts for this statement I will re-word it to better reflect Scotland's current religious climate.


I can't be bothered digging the stats up again. But findings of various churches' own finding were that Christianity is moribund all across the UK. People claiming a religion on a census is not the same as them actually practising. Most people interaction with church now is the occasional wedding funeral and sometimes christening/confirmation.

Islam now outnumbers Christianity for proper attendance and book reading. In fact, Harry Potter is more widely read than the Bible in the UK.

So, I think the statement chimes with the reality. And since you (and I) haven't offered any great qualitative references.. it should stand.

As there is no positive obligation upon adherents of any of the major denomination to attend meetings every Sunday I would be very wary of making such claims. The Church of Scotland has only one positive obligation and that is to commune 4 times per year. Unless you have statistics for this then I would not make assumptions based upon how many turn up each Sunday.

Orthodoxy in Scotland[edit]

What about the Orthodox members of Scotland? I know there is at least one Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Scotland. Mind you I only skimmed this article so I apologize if there was some mention 71.194.63.161 (talk) 01:08, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Orthodoxy in Scotland is actually more active and present than it appears to be. There are several Greek Orthodox churches and since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a lot of Russian and other former USSR citizens returned to the Orthodox Christian dogma.

Glasgow Orthodox Cathedral. Website:[[ [3]]] Dumblane Orthodox Community. Website: [[[4]]]

Please clarify[edit]

The Kirk[...] is recognised in law as the national church of Scotland. It is not an established church

What's the difference between being recognized in law as the national church, and being an established church? Michael Hardy (talk) 18:20, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

An established church, like the Church of England, is usually controlled to some extent by the state - in the case of the C of E, choosing bishops for example. The Church of Scotland is totally independent of the state but is recognised as having a particular significance and function for the state. 86.157.203.60 (talk) 21:44, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Jews in Scotland since High Middle ages[edit]

The assertion that Jews have been present in Scotland since the High Middle Ages goes against everything that I have read about Scottish history, both of the middle ages and the earlier Dark Ages.

I would be very interested to get the references proving this. My understanding is that no Jews were present in Scotland at that time. Most arrived after 1880 when pogroms in Czarist Russia drove them out.

It might also be worth noting that Jews came to England only after the Norman conquest of 1066. They were expelled by Edward I. He died in 1306.

When Jews settled anywhere in Christian Europe, they were always invited. The idea that some Jews would simply turn up like modern asylum seekers or economic migrants and be taken in is absurd. The Normans needed the Jews to finance their massive building program, especially the large cathedrals like Lincoln which still has a row of Jews houses close by.

Coolrider502000 (talk) 00:34, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Since no better sourcing had appeared, and since there is no clear evidence of a Jewish presence until the eighteenth century, I removed this statement.--SabreBD (talk) 15:18, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Scottish Episcopal Church and the CoE[edit]

I removed the bit in the article about the 2011 census showing 67,000 people listing Church of England because it is a bit deceptive; there is no Church of England in Scotland instead the church of the Anglican Communion in Scotland is the Scottish Episcopal Church. The census gave a choice of Church of Scotland, Catholic, and Other Christian and had people answering the last to write in which denomination. In addition to the people who put CoE, 21,289 stated Episcopalian, 8,048 stated Scottish Episcopal Church, and 4,490 stated Anglican. The SEC's own membership rolls shows 24,650 communicants (people actually taking communion) and members at 34,916[5] (not sure why the difference). However I haven't found a good source discussing this problem in the census data though it seems fairly obvious that a large chunk of the CoE people rarely or never step foot inside a church. --Erp (talk) 01:49, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

I think you are right. I am not sure how the table in that citation indicated 67.000 Church of England affiliations. It is possible that the 4,490 Anglicans were English people living in Scotland, who did what a lot of English people do when asked their affiliation, regardless of whether they attended any churches, they put CofE. However, even if the two episcopal returns are added to this it still only adds up to just over 23,000. Have I missed something?--SabreBD (talk) 07:54, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
The Church of England has that because 66,717 people wrote Church of England or something the census takers interpreted as Church of England (CoE, English Church, ?). However the four entries (Church of England, Scottish Episcopal Church, Episcopalian, Anglican [plus Church of Ireland and Church in Wales]) in the context of Scotland all point to the same entity, the Scottish Episcopal Church as the only official Anglican Communion church in Scotland (there is nothing I'm aware of barring a Scottish Episcopal bishop being chosen as Archbishop of York or Canterbury just as a prior Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was a bishop in the Church in Wales). One Scottish Episcopalian priest has some discussion http://thurible.net/2013/09/30/i-d/ but it isn't a scholarly source we can use. Though another http://dances-with-midges.blogspot.com/2013/10/my-very-reverend-colleague-at-glasgow.html indicates the SEC is narrower in many ways to the CoE. However one would think that church attenders would be aware of the denomination of the church they are attending so the nearly 67,000 CoE is probably a good indication of how many people put down a religious denomination but almost never attend (at least for the more common denominations, if you put down something like Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland in St. Kilda (reformed) you probably do attend [along with two other people and the puffins]). --Erp (talk) 14:35, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

Pie chart query[edit]

What is the purpose of the pie chart in the article given that it repeats a subset of the data in the table (subset since non-Christian religions were merged to avoid disappearing). I rearranged so that the Christian religions were adjacent, no religion and no answer also adjacent, and non-Christian religions as one slice so people could use the pie chart to quickly see the relative sizes of those groupings. However that was reverted on the grounds that the pie chart should be in descending size (which btw seems to be false looking at some of the examples in the pie chart article, ideally what we want is the key sorted by size but the chart sorted in another fashion). The pie chart article also deprecates the use of pie charts. --Erp (talk) 15:24, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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