United Kingdom: Religion is a force for harm, not good, and non-believers make up the majority of the population according to a poll published in today's Guardian.
The poll also reveals that non-believers outnumber believers in Britain by almost two to one. It paints a picture of a sceptical nation with massive doubts about the effect religion has on society: 82% of those questioned say they see religion as a cause of division and tension between people. Only 16% disagree. The findings are at odds with attempts by some religious leaders to define the country as one made up of many faith communities.
Most people have no personal faith, the poll shows, with only 33% of those questioned describing themselves asa religious person. A clear majority, 63%, say that they are not religious - including more than half of those who describe themselves as Christian.
The response from the Church of England has been to stick its fingers in its ears and cry
Nyaah! Nyaah! Can't hear you!.
But a spokesman for the Church of England denied yesterday that mainstream religion was the source of tension. He also insisted that theimpression of secularism in this country is overrated.
He went on to claim that 1 million people (1.6% of the population) attend CofE services each week. As Charles Stross points out, this is far fewer than watch SF and fantasy on TV:
Yeah, right. You speak for an organization that has an audience draw 40% that of a Terry Pratchett mini-series on Sky TV. Doctor Who has a 4:1 lead over the C of E in regular audience terms. Maybe we should give Russell T. Davis four seats in the House of Lords?
Religion does more harm than good - poll—The Guardian, 23rd December 2006.