The Religious Factor

Graham Walker

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Scottish History

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199563692
Published online November 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191750687 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 The Religious Factor

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Scotland began the twentieth century as a profoundly religious country, at least if measured in terms of adherence to Churches, but by the end of the century was implicated in what a leading scholar in the area has termed ‘The Death of Christian Britain’. Clearly, there is a lot to explain around the role of the religious factor in Scotland over the last century, which began with a highly important and symbolical reorganization of Scotland's dominant religious tradition of Presbyterianism. The Roman Catholic Church, whose hierarchy was restored in 1878, prioritized control over the education of its adherents and directed efforts in the political arena to this end. All the main religious denominations in Scotland shared in the patriotic response to World War I. The recent historiography of the religious factor in Scotland during the interwar period has indeed tended to focus on the sectarian tensions between Protestants and Catholics. Meanwhile, the Church of Scotland, especially after the reunion of 1929, was desperate to reassert itself as the national Church.

Keywords: Scotland; religion; Presbyterianism; Protestants; Catholics; Church of Scotland; Roman Catholic Church; religious denominations

Article.  8279 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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