When is a Christian not a Christian? The answer may be: “when Richard Dawkins says so.”
That is unfair, but only slightly. The main thrust of the extensive research study he has just published exploring the size and nature of the UK Christian community is that many of those people who ticked the Christian box in the 2001 (and 2011) census are not really Christian.
The charitable interpretation of this is that it states the bleeding obvious. There are a lot of nominal Christians in Britain. Who would have thought it? The uncharitable one is that the eminent atheist is deflating the number of Christians in Britain for his own narrow, partisan reasons.
That there is widespread Christian nominalism in the UK has rarely been in doubt (just read what Robert Tressell has to say about popular Christianity in The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists published nearly 100 years ago if you doubt this). Dawkins’s survey supports this but in a mixed and confusing way.