Masculinity and Silence

More than 70% of Christians believe that masculinity is a ‘positive force’ within society, with just over half of that figure coming from women. In a questionnaire launched by Christian Research on 30th October to coincide with the upcoming celebration of International Men’s Day 19th November, 45% of almost 1,000 practising Christians surveyed also said they felt the media and society at large viewed masculinity in a 'fairly positive' light. 

Furthermore, just under half of the respondents claimed they saw ‘traditional’ ideas about masculinity remaining relevant in the 21st century. However, the majority of those were men, while out of the 27% who said they felt such ideas were irrelevant, most were women.

More than 70% of Christians believe that masculinity is a ‘positive force’ within society, with just over half of that figure coming from women. In a questionnaire launched by Christian Research on 30th October to coincide with the upcoming celebration of International Men’s Day 19th November, 45% of the nearly 1,000 people surveyed also said they felt the media and society at large viewed masculinity ‘somewhat positively.’ Furthermore, just under half of the respondents claimed they saw ‘traditional’ ideas about masculinity as still being relevant in the 21st century. However, the majority of those were men, while out of the 27% who said they felt such ideas were irrelevant, most were women.

Those surveyed also said they felt churches did not do enough to appeal to men. 57% said they felt the environment in most churches did not appeal to men, with only 17% claiming that it did. Out of those who came from a church with separate men’s and women’s groups, 66% said they were a helpful resource. Those questioned came from a cross-section of Christian denominations, including Anglican, Roman Catholic and various non-conformist groups, including Methodists and Baptists.

International Men’s Day is aimed at highlighting the positive influence men have on their families and communities, as well as promoting positive male role models. However, the survey reflects a widely-held concern over the falling numbers of men in many churches within the UK. Groups such as Christian Vision for Men claim the current rate of attrition means that by 2028, men will have almost completely vanished from the UK church. Others such as the US-based Churches for Men claim the trend is a negative one due to an apparent link between declining congregations and the lack of men in church pews.

The survey also asked respondents for their views on the use of silence in commemorative events, as well as in worship. The results came just before Armistice Day on 11th November, an occasion traditionally marked by people up and down the country remembering those who perished in the two world wars. More than 85% of the Christians in the survey said they found having a minute’s silence at commemorative events helpful, with just over 70% of those claiming they used the time to consider those being commemorated as opposed to praying or thinking about their loved ones. Furthermore, just below 50% regarded the trend of having a minute’s clapping at some events as a negative one.

However, when asked about their preferences during prayer and worship, the majority claimed to find praying out loud and praying silently as equally helpful when alone. When praying with others, the figure rose to just below 70%. 58% had also never attended a largely or completely silent service, such as in a Quaker meeting.

 

Research conducted with The Resonate panel in October 2016: 900 respondents

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