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Monday, 14 April 2008

Doing God – or not

This Social Attitudes survey is interesting. It's been out for a few days now, but one or two points of interest are worth teasing out. (Oh, it's a PDF, by the way, so you'll need Adobe Reader to read it. If you don't have it, go here to download it free.)

Only 54 per cent of the British population now claim to belong to a religion (as measured in 2006), which is down 3 per cent on 1996.

But where it gets more interesting is when you look at some of the stats, and ask a pertinent question or two. For instance, only 3.3 per cent claim to be Muslims, yet far more attention is paid to that section of the community than the 46 per cent who have no religion. Funny, that.

And have a look at Estonia. It has a much higher proportion of atheists than Latvia and Lithuania, and is the most gay-friendly of these three Baltic states.

Are these figures trying to tell us something?

It's also interesting that 55 per cent of people in Britain say they don't actually attend services or meetings in connection with their religion, apart from the usual hatch, match and dispatch. It just shows that it's one thing to show how religious a nation we are by saying that X per cent believe this or that fairy tale. It's quite another when we try to measure people's commitment.

There's lots of interesting reading.

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