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Beliefs of unbelievers

07 December 2012

MANY non-religious people hold all kinds of spiritual and religious beliefs, a new report suggests.

Post-religious Britain? The faith of the faithless, published by Theos, draws on the results of a poll of 1749 British adults, who were interviewed by ComRes during the summer. The report looks at the beliefs espoused by those defined as non-religious: those who never attend church, or describe themselves as "atheist" or "non-religious".

"Overall, the proportion of people who are consistently non-religious, i.e. who don't believe in God, never attend a place of worship, call themselves non-religious, and don't believe life after death, the soul, angels, etc., is very low, at nine per cent."

More than one third (35 per cent) who "never attend church" - defined as less than once a year - believed in God or a Higher Power, the report says. Thirty-one per cent of people in the same category identified themselves as "Christians", as did 11 per cent of atheists. Among this group, 21 per cent said that they believed in angels; 23 per cent believed in the human soul; and 15 per cent believed in life after death.

Twenty-four per cent of those who described themselves as non-religious believed in heaven, and 29 per cent "in some sense of God".

Nick Spencer, the research director of Theos, said: "We are becoming less institutionally religious as a nation, but that doesn't mean that we are necessarily becoming more atheistic. This study shows that while there is certainly a small minority who are consistent in their rejection of all forms of spiritual and religious belief, most people in Britain have some form of belief."




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