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Official figures show that Britain is rapidly secularising

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posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 05:31 AM
The British Social Attitudes Survey is one of the largest annual polls of opinion in Britain and is commissioned by the National Centre for Social Research. The latest edition will be published later this month, and will look at religious attitudes in Britain. The NSS has had a sneak preview and can reveal that it shows a further dramatic lurch away from religion by Britons. It also shows a deepening suspicion of people with strongly-held religious beliefs.

We have repeatedly objected to the claims by Prime Minister Gordon Brown that that religion is central to the lives of people in this country on the grounds that they are false. This research, conducted in 2008, shows the claims are also counter-productive; more and more people are turning away from organised religion and are increasingly suspicious of politicians who parade their faith as part of their politics. People particularly do not want their private lives to be dictated by religious teachings.

When asked which, if any, religion they belonged to, 50% said they were Christian (in 1983, that was 66%). 43% said they had no religion (up from 31% in 1983).

In 1983 1% of respondents had been Muslim, whereas in 2008 it was 3%.

When asked whether they believed in God, 18% said that they definitely don’t; 19% said they didn’t know whether there was a God and there was no way to find out; 14% said they didn’t believe in a personal God, but did believe in some higher power; 13% said they sometimes believed in God and sometimes didn’t; 18% said they had doubts but overall believed in God; 17% said they had absolutely no doubt that God exists.

When asked to assess their own religiosity, 7% said they were “very or extremely” religious; 30% said they were somewhat religious; 22% said they were neither religious or non-religious whereas 26% said they were “very or extremely non-religious”.

When asked about church attendance, 62% admitted they never went to church. (It is well established that respondents grossly exaggerate church attendance so this figure is likely to be well understated.)

The only good news for religious bodies in these findings is that most people — believers and non-believers alike — think that religion “helps people to find inner peace”, “make friends” and “gain comfort”. But they still consider religion is good for other people, not themselves.

When asked about religious leaders trying to influence how people vote in an election, 75% said that they shouldn’t, while 67% think religious leaders should stay out of Government decision-making. When asked the question If many of our elected officials were deeply religious, do you think that the laws and policy decisions they make would probably be better or probably be worse? Nearly half of respondents thought they would be worse, whereas only 26% thought they would be better.

Then came: In matters of right and wrong, some people say it is important to faithfully follow the leaders and teachings on one’s religion. Others say it is important to follow one’s own conscience? Only six percent think they should follow their religious leaders – which is bad news for the Pope, who demands total obedience from his flock. Eighty-nine per cent think they should follow their own conscience.

Sixty per cent agreed that there can be no absolutely clear guidelines of what is good and evil and the same number think that “morality is a personal matter and society should not make everyone follow the same standard”.

On the idea of trying to convert people to another faith, only 17% thought it was OK for religious believers to try to recruit others to their faith; 81% took the opposite view.

On the question of intolerance, 73% of Britons maintain that “people with very strong religious beliefs are often too intolerant of others.”

On the matter of “faith schools”, the survey asked: “Some schools are for children of a particular religion. Which of these statements comes closest to your views about these schools: No religious groups should have its own schools. Some religious groups but not others should have their own schools. Any religious group should be able to have its own schools.”

On the first option – no religious groups should have schools – 42% agreed, “Some groups but not others” was supported by 13 per cent. The “any religious groups should be able to have own schools” was supported by 43%. We imagine the answer would have been rather different if the question had been about supporting these schools with public money.

Fifty-two per cent of respondents agreed with the opinion “Britain is deeply divided along religious lines” with only 16% disagreeing.

The question that was probably regarded as most uncomfortable was about attitudes to particular religious groups. Respondents were asked to rate their feelings about particular groups on a scale of 1 to 100, with 1 to 49 being regarded as cool and 51 to 100 being regarded as warm and 50 being neutral. Protestants were regarded the most positively, with 47% marking them warmly; Catholics had a 45% warm score. Non-religious people were also reasonably well thought of, with 40% giving them a warm score and only 8% giving them a cool one.

Only 23% regarded Muslims warmly, and 34 per cent gave them a “cool” score. Similarly, 55% of respondents said they would be bothered by the building of a large mosque in their area, while only 15% said they would be bothered by the building of a large church.

On freedom of expression the question was asked: Consider religious extremists, people who believe that their religion is the only true faith and all other religious should be considered as enemies. Do you think such people should be allowed to (a) hold a public meeting to express their views or (b) to publish books expressing their views?

45% said they would “definitely not” permit the public meeting, while 34% would “definitely not” allow publication of a book. The authors of the report suspect that the terms “religious extremist” is now perceived almost entirely to apply to violent Muslims and this may have affected the way people responded to this question.

With the statement: People have a perfect right to give a speech defending Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda – 66% disagreed. Then they were asked: Some books or films offend people who have strong religious beliefs. Should books and films that attack religion be banned by law or should they be allowed? More than a quarter (27%) of people in Britain were prepared to ban these works.

As for the wearing of religious dress, respondents were asked: Should people be allowed to dress in a way that shows their religious faith by wearing veils, turbans or crucifixes? 53% said they should be allowed, but 42% said they shouldn’t.

Keith Porteous Wood, the National Secular Society’s Executive Director, commented: “The picture for religion in Britain portrayed in Social Attitudes is bleak. It is a pity the Government is too blinkered to learn the clear messages screaming from these figures showing that so much of what they are doing in relation to religion is held in low regard by the population at large. People do not like religion in public life and do not regard religion as a basis for personal ethics. The Government’s policy towards multiculturalism and in particular towards Muslims has been a complete failure, both for Muslims and for the rest of the community – something we have been telling them for years.

Mr Wood added that “the Social Attitudes survey clearly shows that Britain is heading strongly in a secularist direction. Some of the comparative figures between now and 1983 are quite startling. In 1983, the number of people identifying themselves as Anglican was 40% but by 2008 it had dropped to 23%. It is further evidence that the Church of England is living on borrowed time (and taxpayers’ money).”

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:08 AM
Of course we're becoming secular, when the Muslims demand a mosque the councils fall over themselves to try and comply, but as soon as there's a indiginous citizen asking to build a shed in his back garden the citizen has to jump through hoops and even then the council has the final say after its built as to whether or not it stays up.
Its the PC brigade that is causing the secular division by not allowing everyone to be treated equal, the PCB bandy to 'Human rights' too much, common sense DOES NOT rule them.
Villans are treated better than their victims, Authority is given absolute power on the streets, the common man sees everything as a threat and so withdraws into his own social group and when the papers blare out 'Muslims are evil' simply because 1 person has a different attitude its no wonder people want to stay with their own colour, religeon or political belief, the people belief what they are told, and to have this kind of 'official' nonsense only drive the wedge in harder as people wonder why?.
Hence the division.

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:16 AM
Consumerism is the new religion today in the Uk. the shopping meccas up and down the land and are the new places of worship. these new out of town shopping centres even look like religious buildings and you can go there on sunday too. you don't even have to buy anything, just walk around like a zombie looking at the things you cant afford. Christmas Day is the day we celebrate consumerism with a consumption fest.

[edit on 19-1-2010 by woodwardjnr]

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:26 AM
reply to post by DataWraith

but as soon as there's a indiginous citizen asking to build a shed in his back garden the citizen has to jump through hoops and even then the council has the final say after its built as to whether or not it stays up.

Perhaps if the indigenous citizen didn't spend so much time in the shopping mall, staring down the neck of a beer glass or watching other people to do the same in Albert Square. Perhaps the may take a little more interest in who is elected onto councils to begin with ?

No doubt , secularization will create a vacuum to be filled whether the same types fill it will be up to the sheeple.

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:30 AM
reply to post by moocowman

Thats the attitude the majority of the people of the world have right now, they are blinded by X-Factor and X has got no talent shows, to notice their world is collapsing.
The people will be the same, they'll bleat on about this and that, but do nothing, hoping that someone else will do it for them or simply praying it gets better..

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 07:13 AM
I suspect the reason why politicians still adhere to the notion of relgion being a vote winner is the demographics of religious belief. My very educated guess is that religious belief is higher amongst older voters. Turnout at elections is higher with the older voters (that's a fact). Put those two together and you probably end up with 70% of people who vote having religious belief.......and that wins you an election!!!

Catch 22 : politicians wont attract younger voters until they drop the relgious slant but they can't afford to do that until the younger voters vote!

posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 09:13 AM
reply to post by moocowman

Actually I will agree with you on that one point (I never thought I would ever agree with you), that is if I am reading your post correctly.

If you remove one religion you are left with a void. Another religion will move in and fill that void. You will never have a completely secular society devoid of religion. I will also agree that many people try to make themselves appear more religious when polled so I would say the numbers that are not or less religious are greater than those given.


posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 03:24 AM
reply to post by Raist

People need something to believe in, religeon offers them that, but the real trouble with ALL religeons if not most , is that there is teachings of Tolerance in religeon but very little action of tolerance.
ALL religeons bleat on about understanding other beliefs but never actually take the time to understand.
People should just believe in something whether Christian, Muslim, Pagan or even Jedi and just appreciate that we are one world , no matter how many Gods there are, we are one people.
But unfortunately since TV , Radio and the Internet was invented all you get it religeous bashing from all sides, My dads better than your dad nonsense.
And people are still being programmed by MSM to believe the 'other side' are evil and must be destroyed. Really mature, IMO, we will never learn to live together until we face a world crisis, not some mickey mouse flu pandemic or war on terror.

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