The changing social context of belief in later life

Peter G. Coleman

in Belief and ageing

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9781847424600
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301530 | DOI:
The changing social context of belief in later life

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This chapter examines the religious context of ageing in the UK since the 1960s, making use of data on interviews with older people collected over the last forty years. Although the 1960s intensified the challenge to conventional religion, this chapter demonstrates that diversity of belief has long been a characteristic of the British population. It notes that Orthodox Christian belief was held by only a minority of the population even in the immediate post-war years. The data presented here illustrate the different ways older people have witnessed to their beliefs over the last fifty years and the influence that holding or not holding on to a Christian faith has had for particular individuals. The data also show that spiritual and religious beliefs constitute an increasingly variegated element among older people as well as in the rest of society.

Keywords: belief; ageing; UK; Orthodox Christian belief; post-war years; religious beliefs; older people

Chapter.  11320 words. 

Subjects: Gerontology and Ageing

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