Godless Britain? UK 6th from last in global belief poll
Britain is one of the least religious countries in the world, coming sixth from bottom in a global study of belief carried out across 65 countries.
Win/Gallup International polling suggested that over 50 percent of Britons did not believe in any religion, 13 percent were committed atheists and that the rest were unsure how to define their beliefs.
Only 30 percent said they were religious.
Thailand was found to be the most religious country, with 94 percent of those asked claiming to belong to a religious group.
In Armenia and Morocco, 93 percent of those asked said they were religious.
In continental terms, Western Europe and Oceania were less religious than Africa and the Americas.
China was one of the most atheist countries, with only 6 percent of people adhering to a religion and 61 percent stating their commitment to atheism. Only 13 percent of Japanese people said that they subscribed to a religion.
Despite religious belief taking a knock in some countries, the study found that far from being on the wane, there are nearly twice as many believers as non-believers in the nations surveyed.
Win/Gallup International president Jean-Marc Leger told the Guardian: “Religion continues to dominate our everyday lives and we see that the total number of people who consider themselves to be religious is actually relatively high.”
The study broadly corroborates the findings of a poll by the Times newspaper, published in February, which suggested that religiosity in Britain is dying as almost one in five British people now identifies themselves as atheist.
The poll, made in conjunction with YouGov, surveyed 1,550 adults.
It found that 19 percent identify themselves as atheists, 7 percent as “agnostic” and 3 percent as “humanist.”
In contrast, 49 percent identified themselves as Christian, while 42 percent said they had “no religion” they directly identified with.
Additionally, the poll found David Cameron’s Anglican faith made little to no impact on the way voters viewed him, with only 12 percent of identifying Christians claiming the prime minister’s faith improved their opinion of him.
The global WIN/Gallup investigation also identified a number of compelling global trends, finding that religious beliefs were more common among people who were younger, poorer and less educated.
Housewives were found to be one of the most intensely religious groups, arguably lending some weight to the famous description of religion by socialist revolutionary Karl Marx: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."