As if further evidence were needed that we live in a post-Christian society, a new survey shows a general ignorance amongst the UK population of the basic facts of the Bible and the Christmas story.
One in five Brits do not know that Jesus’ birth is marked by Christmas Day, while another one in five are unable to name Jesus’ most loyal followers, nor do they know he had twelve disciples; and around one in ten were unable to name Bethlehem as the town of his birth. Another survey in 2014 found that one in three children between the age of 10 and 13 do not know that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus and another, that one in ten children believe 25 December is the birthday of Santa Claus!
This reflects very badly on our education system. Christianity has been immensely influential in the history of our country and apparently adhered to by 60% of the population. Educators need to do more to fulfil the government’s requirements that children should be given religious education with a priority for Christianity. This can be an opportunity for churches and Christian organisations such as Crossteach, to help schools to cover those parts of the curriculum faithfully.
It is also a wake-up call to the church to proclaim and explain the historical facts – and the monumental significance – of the birth we celebrate at this time of year.