I found this recent interesting article concerning what has been happening to British religion in recent years. It is from the Guardian and written by Linda Woodhead, who notices:
Look for the religion section of almost any bookshop in Britain, and you'll find it's been subsumed under "Mind, body and spirit." The reason is simple: what we call religion has changed – dramatically – in just the past 30 years.
Now I had only heard that religion was on a sharp decline there and really hadn't looked into the matter. Woodhead, if she is correct in her analysis, explains something that I think might be a helpful trend, one I wouldn't mind seeing duplicated here in the US
What we believe in has changed at the same time. According to British Religion in Numbers, belief in "a personal God" roughly halved between 1961 and 2000 – from 57% of the population to 26%. But over the same period belief in a "spirit or life force" doubled – from 22% to 44%. And 41% of us now believe in angels, 53% in an afterlife and 70% in a soul – that's much higher, often double, than when the records began. And you can't just say this is a growth in superstition – because belief in fortune-telling and astrology has not risen.
The reason I think it helpful to replace belief in a personal God with some concept of a "spirit or life force" is that I think this will rid religion of some of it's more odious aspects. I'm speaking of the ideas that a divine despot dictates what is sin and what is not, stands behind religious wars and crusades, and separates humans into "chosen" and "not chosen" souls.
I would dearly love to see an end to the culture war between religion and secularity here in these United States.