Study: Religious belief declines in Britain

Aug 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: A two generation lens: Current state policies fail to support families with young children

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA HS3 instrument views two dimensions of clouds

4 hours ago

NASA's Cloud Physics Lidar (CPL) instrument, flying aboard an unmanned Global Hawk aircraft in this summer's Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel, or HS3, mission, is studying the changing profile of the atmosphere ...

Recommended for you

New hadrosaur noses into spotlight

Sep 19, 2014

Call it the Jimmy Durante of dinosaurs – a newly discovered hadrosaur with a truly distinctive nasal profile. The new dinosaur, named Rhinorex condrupus by paleontologists from North Carolina State Univer ...

Scholar tracks the changing world of gay sexuality

Sep 19, 2014

With same-sex marriage now legalized in 19 states and laws making it impossible to ban homosexuals from serving in the military, gay, lesbian and bisexual people are now enjoying more freedoms and rights than ever before.

User comments : 0