Only 30% in UK think themselves religious

Submitted by martin on 13 April, 2015 - 1:38 Author: Martin Thomas

A survey reported in the Guardian of 13 April has found that the UK is one of the world's least religious countries, as measured by people's opinions.

Only 30% of those surveyed in the UK said they were religious. 53% said they were not religious, 13% said flat-out that they were atheists, and the other 4% "didn't know".

Apart from China, where there would be government pressure against calling yourself religious, the only other countries to report smaller numbers of "religious" people were Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Japan.

So why does the UK have an Established Church, and so many faith schools? It is not because of irresistible pressure from a heavily-religious population. It is calculated government policy.

According to an official report: "At the start of September 2014 there were 6,848 state funded faith schools in England. The majority were primary schools; 6,210 or 37% of all state funded primaries. The 638 secondary faith schools made up 19% of all state funded mainstream secondaries. The proportion of state funded faith schools has increased from 35% of primaries and 16% of secondaries in January 2000".

A survey commissioned by the Guardian in June 2014 found: "58% of voters now believe faith schools, which can give priority to applications from pupils of their faith and are free to teach only about their own religion, should not be funded by the state or should be abolished".

Comments

Submitted by Matthew on Tue, 14/04/2015 - 18:00

I doubt that the continuing status of the Church of England as an established church is a result of "calculated government policy". How does it benefit the Government to have a state church whose only real political role is to make occasional mild criticisms of its policies? It's the more the result of a sixteenth-century religious settlement continuing through inertia and a lack of any significant public pressure to end it.

As for why there are "so many faith schools", if 30% of the population are religious and around a third of state schools are, it doesn't strike me as too statistically out of whack either (whether there should be religious schools - and if there are, who should fund them and how they should operate - is of course another question).

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