Saturday, September 08, 2007

Religious Survey: The Results

A couple of weeks ago I launched a survey of the religious views of the readers of this blog. It's not scientific, but 500 people took part, and here are the results...

* 45% of you believe in God, 36% of you are atheists and 19%, like me, are agnostic
* Of those that 'believe' 66% are Anglican, 24% Catholic, 2% Jewish, 1% Muslim, 1% Buddhist, 1% Sikh, 6% Other
* 53% pray, 7% more than once a day, 13% once a day, 15% a few times a week and 18% less frequently
* 77% believe that politics and religion are best kept separate
* 78% believe the Prime Minister should give up his right to choose bishops
* 53% believe the Church of England should be disestablished
* 49% believe that religion is a force for good in society
* 34% believe that most wars have been caused by religious forces
* 39% believe in an 'afterlife'

His Grace, the Archbishop Cranmer reflects on the results HERE.

I also asked you to leave comments at the end of the survey. More than 100 of you did, and here are some of the best (IMHO!)...

"Religion has replaced politics as being one of the last strong force's where the followers are united in one strong set of beliefs. Whereas the Cold War and 1970's Britain had very polarised political spectrums the new 'consensus' politics means that religion is inevitably something of a
curiosity to those who can hardly remember a time when people held strong beliefs that they were willing to fight for."


"If people wish to frame their view of the world through a particular religion, that is a private matter. Taxpayers' money should not be used to further the aims of any religion, though. Religious groups shouldn't automatically be given charitable status, religiously motivated schools are divisive and we may as well have druids in the House of Lords as Anglican bishops."

"Wars are not caused by religion - religion is used has an excuse used by those in power to legitimise war. Wars are caused primarily by fear and secondly by greed."

"I would say that religion has been a force for good in society in that in provides a moral compass for the masses, and frankly it has provided a source of fear (in the form of hell or god's wrath) to keep people to that moral path. Without that deterrent, you get the worsening of behaviour that we have witnessed in recent years. Admittedly, as an atheist myself, this all rather elitist - a view that a good dose of religion is handy for keeping the plebs in line. Awkward, but I think true. However, while religion is useful, it clearly is a cause of war. Probably not MOST wars, as put in survey, but certainly plenty."

"You describe "Religion" in too amorphous a way. The fact is that some religions are bad and some (actually one, if you'll forgive me) is good. And even in the case of the good one (Christianity) a lot of bad things have been done in its name. I am a very rationalist person, and on some levels it constantly surprises me that I am a Christian. But it remains the case that
the world is a bigger mechanism than one which we can explain by logic alone. And no, that doesn't mean that Christianity is irrational - merely that it can't be proved a priori. True faith is where reason meets revelation. How lucky we are that God has revealed enough of himself for us to know the direction to follow."


"I was bought up as a Catholic by my Irish mother but stopped going to church and "confessing" when I was 16 years old - some 42 years ago. (My father always claimed to be a Unitarian when asked his religion but he never knew exactly what it meant!) However, I still feel a secret admiration with Catholics who still have the ability to adhere to there childhood religion. However, I suspect this is for the reason that was given to me many years ago by a heavy smoking, drinking and gambling Irishman I know who said it was just an insurance policy in case it all turned out to be true! I still have a few old school friends who are Jewish who have become noticeably more devout as they get older mainlybecause they want their children to carry on the traditions their parents (mostly European escapees from the Nazis) had taught them. I have
occasionally pondered why I never carried on attending Catholic Mass and have come to the conclusion it was because the Latin version was dropped in favour of some inane wording in English which never had the same ring to it. I had spent all my childhood learning parrot fashion the Latin version and had just about begun to understand what it meant. English never had the same power to inspire. Maybe it's the reason why other religions continue to have so many followers - because they continue to use arcane language which keeps them connected to their
history?"

5 comments:

BJ said...

Interesting. I wonder if the results would come out the same if it was a local education authority asking the questions?

Anonymous said...

Did you ask how many wars had been caused by atheist religions like Communism?

Maybe the secular fundamentalism that drives the new morality of political correctness will eventually result in war? After all, the new morality in this country seems to lack the concept of forgiveness.

wee free said...

Iain:

You refer to "Anglicans."

By that, I assume you mean "Protestants."

Some of your readers are Protestants, but aren't members of the Church of England.

Some of us are members of the Church of Scotland (which is one reason why I fail to get excited about the Prince Charles / Head of Church of England debate.)

You need a holiday...

Womble On Tour said...

45% believe in God, but 53% pray ?
Can someone in the 8% who pray but don't believe in God explain that to me ?

Cranmer said...

His Grace is delighted to offer his reflections upon this:

Cranmer on Mr Dale's Religious Survey