Religion and belief

Topic Selected: Religion

General Article icon Type: General Article

Numerous surveys indicate that the proportion of individuals who do not hold religious beliefs is steadily increasing.

Religions and beliefs are notoriously difficult to measure, as they are not fixed or innate, and therefore any poll should be primarily treated as an indication of beliefs rather than a concrete measure.

However, one of the most well-respected measures of religious attitudes is the annual British Social Attitudes survey: further details of the latest report may be found on the NatCen website: www.natcen.ac.uk

Census data

The English and Welsh census uses the highly leading question ‘What is your religion?’. By assuming that all participants held a religious belief, the question captured some kind of loose cultural affiliation, and as a result in 2001 over 70% of the population responded ‘Christian’; a far higher percentage than nearly every other significant survey or poll on religious belief in the past deca

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