chapter  15
9 Pages

Belonging without believing: religion, atheism and Islam today


This chapter takes as its starting point the growing phenomenon of people choosing no longer to believe in the religion of their heritage, in this case Islam. The data on religious identification shows how this is a significant issue in many European countries, some of which have now gone beyond the 50 per cent threshold of people who do not express belief in a religion. In looking at some of the tensions this experience may create within debates on Islam, I was reflecting on Grace Davie’s notion of ‘believing without belonging’, in her exploration of the transformation of Christianity and how people engage with it. I spoke at a conference a few years ago, when I deliberately changed that wording to talk about the need to find ways of ‘belonging without believing’.