Covering a key topic in both sociology and religious studies, this book is a thorough and lively introduction to the character and place of religion in contemporary British society. A brief introduction places the major British churches in their historical context and explains our curious combination of religious freedom and state-supported churches. Subsequent chapters examine a wide array of evidence on the influence and popularity of the churches, and on religious beliefs and behaviour, and document the following trends: the decline in the mainstream churches; a shift to the 'sectarian' right in Protestantism; the rise of non-Christian ethnic minority religions; and increasing interest in the occult and New Age spirituality. Particular attention is given to the issue of what sort of people remain religious and how their religious beliefs affect their lives. Throughout the book, Britain's religious life is compared with that of other European societies and the final chapter shows how recent changes can be understood as a response to fundamental features of modern industrial democracies. The book will be an invaluable introduction and point of reference for students of the social sciences and religious studies. The Oxford Modern Britain series comprises authoritative introductory books on all aspects of the social structure of modern Britain. Lively and accessible, the books will be the first point of reference for anyone interested in the state of contemporary Britain. They will be invaluable to those taking courses in the social sciences.