Did the welfare state undermine religion in the UK?

Total Posts:  126
Joined  13-02-2006
02 April 2006 23:23

I read an article about a book in the paper today (unfortunately it's not available online without subscription) but it sounds very interesting. It's called "Christianity and Social Service in Modern Britain: The Disinherited Spirit" by Frank Prochaska and it's basic premise appears to be that the welfare state is to a large extent responsible for the decline of Christianity in the UK. Although I haven't read it yet, it sounds plausible to me.

Full synopsis below

"Few subjects bring out so well the differences between ourselves and our ancestors as the history of Christian charity. In an increasingly mobile and materialist world, in which culture has grown more national, indeed global, we no longer relate to the lost world of nineteenth-century parish life. Today, we can hardly imagine a voluntary society that boasted millions of religious associations providing essential services, in which the public rarely saw a government official apart from the post office clerk. Against the background of the welfare state and the collapse of church membership, the very idea of Christian social reform has a quaint, Victorian air about it. In this elegantly written study of shifting British values, Frank Prochaska examines the importance of Christianity as an inspiration for political and social behaviour in the nineteenth century and the forces that undermined both religion and philanthropy in the twentieth. The waning of religion and the growth of government responsibility for social provision were closely intertwined. Prochaska shows how the creation of the modern British state undermined religious belief and customs of associational citizenship. In unravelling some of the complexities in the evolving relationship between voluntarism and the state, the book presents a challenging new interpretation of Christian decline and democratic traditions in Britain. "

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Joined  16-05-2005
03 April 2006 07:49

Its too easy to blame everything but religion itself.  Modern science has exposed many religious beliefs are false (no six day creation for example)
Maybe without the welfare state, educated people would go to the churhes for assitence, but would they believe what the church told them?
Maybe the transfer of public assistance from the church to the state was at the request of the growing secular population.

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Joined  22-12-2005
03 April 2006 07:59

Why go to church for handouts when the ballot box lets you get some of the free money that you deserve?

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Joined  16-06-2005
03 April 2006 14:05

Yeah…I think maybe the welfare state did take away the power of christianity.

Um….with the corportate and free market bizzo…..the States have reverted or given back the social services to the religous.

In Aust…they are not quite at that same stage but given the lack of funding and poor service provision…..the gap is there for the relgious organisations to step in….

And step in they do….ie. right now the scientologist are setting up heaps of tents in the North of Aust…where the recent cyclone destroyed a small city/town..

Imagine being counselled by one of that lot….idiots waving hands over your body etc…etc…

The chruches I know about in AUst don’t do much ‘charity’ anyway….go ask your pastor/priest for money and see where that gets you these days…

Christianity has changed lanes…..they preach the ‘abundance’ and wealth sermon now…

so if you are poor or something like that…..its because you fookin well deserve it!


Humble Servant
Humble Servant
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Joined  16-02-2006
13 April 2006 23:24

I have no doubt that this is true. People want and need security, they need to know that they have an advocate, someone in their corner. Some find God some don’t. If you look with an open heart and open mind God is there. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you Mathew 7:7 This applies whether or not you have security.

If you live in England and have a decent job that you know that there is almost no chance of losing and your health care is taken care of you have no problems and no cares in regards to the basic necessities of life. You can sit back fat and happy knowing that you will be taken care of. This is what Jesus was referring to when he said: Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Mathew 19:24 It has nothing to do with money as an evil, but the mans dependence on money for his security and exalting himself as the one soley responsible for his acquiring it.

Individuals in welfare states are also tighter with their money in regards to charitable giving. It fits perfectly with that famous speech; Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you. Oh wait that’s not the way it goes


Um….with the corportate and free market bizzo…..the States have reverted or given back the social services to the religous


There are tons of social services done by the federal, state, and local governments. More services than you can shake a stick at.

Christianity has changed lanes…..they preach the ‘abundance’ and wealth sermon now


For the most part that is not an accurate statement, but there is a vein of truth to it and there are far too many of them. One of the most famous here in the States is more of a motivational speaker, he has no seminary training, he simply took over for his dad upon his dad’s death. His “ministry” is a dis-service to his congregation and Christians everywhere.

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Joined  06-02-2005
14 April 2006 04:32
Total Posts:  126
Joined  13-02-2006
19 April 2006 10:59

[quote author=“Humble Servant”]Individuals in welfare states are also tighter with their money in regards to charitable giving.

HS, do you have a source to back up this particular statement?