Study: Religious belief declines in Britain

August 18, 2005

A British study indicates religious belief is declining faster than attendance at services across the United Kingdom.

Far from religious belief being relatively strong and robust, David Voas of The University of Manchester, the study's lead researcher, said fewer people now have real faith than passively "belong" to a religion.

Researchers say one factor that might slow the decline is that religious parents have more children than others.

The study argues institutional religion now has a "half-life" of one generation. In other words, two non-religious parents successfully pass their lack of faith. Two religious parents have roughly a 50-50 chance of passing on their beliefs

"How children are brought up has an enormous impact on whether they will identify with a religion," said Voas. "Once people become adults, their religious affiliation is less likely to be affected by influences around them."

Voas notes older people mostly describe themselves as religious, although not necessarily orthodox. The middle-aged see themselves as spiritual rather than religious; and younger people most often hold their beliefs as part of a view of life that they do not even recognize as spiritual.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Empower bystanders to stop bullying, says professor

Related Stories

Empower bystanders to stop bullying, says professor

August 12, 2015

It's back-to-school time for many kids across the country—but for students who are subject to bullying, school can be a daunting place to spend eight hours a day. One UT expert suggests empowering bystanders to help put ...

Could biology explain the evolution of religion?

May 28, 2014

For a biologist like me, the interesting questions about religion have always been where did it come from and why did it evolve? I taught evolutionary biology in a Catholic University in the most Catholic country in the world ...

Minority parents fear for kids online

November 21, 2013

Nearly all parents agree—when their children go online, stranger danger is their biggest safety concern, followed closely by exposure to pornography, violent content and bullying, according to a collaborative study between ...

Recommended for you

Parasitized bees are self-medicating in the wild, study finds

September 1, 2015

Bumblebees infected with a common intestinal parasite are drawn to flowers whose nectar and pollen have a medicinal effect, a Dartmouth-led study shows. The findings suggest that plant chemistry could help combat the decline ...

How wind sculpted Earth's largest dust deposit

September 1, 2015

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from University of Arizona geoscientists.

ATLAS and CMS experiments shed light on Higgs properties

September 1, 2015

Three years after the announcement of the discovery of a new particle, the so-called Higgs boson, the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations present for the first time combined measurements of many of its properties, at the third annual ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.