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: Print your own body parts

Related Stories

Print your own body parts

February 20, 2017

John Nhial was barely a teenager when he was grabbed by a Sudanese guerrilla army and forced to become a child soldier. He was made to endure weeks of walking with so little food and water that some of his fellow captives ...

How ethnicity and religion can influence financial habits

January 9, 2017

New international research from Macquarie University has found that people with a religious or ethnic background are more likely to save money, quelling the long-held belief that income and financial proficiency are the main ...

Texas eyes immunizations as more kids file exemptions

December 7, 2016

Texas could be the epicenter for the nation's next major fight over stricter requirements for immunizations as rates of schoolchildren who refuse shots for non-medical reasons climb in America's second-largest state.

Recommended for you

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.