Unit 12.1

Spirituality and religion

Main Religions and Religious Beliefs

  • People in the UK are free to choose and follow their own religious beliefs.
  • Christianity is the main religion amongst British people. With the biggest forms of Christianity being:
    • Protestantism was created by Martin Luther. It rejects the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments – it recognizes only baptism and the Eucharist. It recognizes Mary as the mother of Jesus, but he does not worship her religiously. In the Protestant denomination, women may perform the functions of priests
    • Anglicanism which is one of the major branches of the Protestant Reformation. It gives greater importance to the sacrament of baptism and Eucharist. Christ is present in the Eucharist in a symbolic way, not in reality. Anglicans do not recognize the Catholic teaching on purgatory and indulgences, as well as the worship of paintings and relics and the intercession of saints. The Anglican Church is a state church. It does not recognize the authority of the pope, and its head is the current British monarch.
  • There are also large communities of Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Jews. There are also smaller communities of Baha’is, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians.

Places of Worship and Pilgrimage

  • Churches: The Anglican church in England and the Presbyterian Church in Scotland are the official churches in the United Kingdom.
    • Some of the most famous churches are Canterbury Cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. Giles Cathedral.
  • Mosques: There are over 600 mosques in the UK. The most well-known is the London Central Islamic Centre and Mosque.
    • Al-Jamia Suffa-Tul-Islam Grand Mosque in Bradford is the biggest mosque in the United Kingdom.
  • Synagogues: There are about 365 synagogues in the UK, which are represented by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
    • Bevis Marks Synagogue in London is the oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom.
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