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One in four in Britain who claim to have no religion admit to praying

By Sean Ryan - 24 June, 2017


A new report published recently shows that over 25 per cent of people in Britain who have no religion admit to praying at some time in their life.

The findings made by the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St Mary’s University, Twickenham in London reveal that almost one in four Britons who identify as having no religion say that prayer forms a part of their life, while a similar proportion also admit to attending religious services.

The report, which is entitled ‘The “no religion” population of Britain’, explores recent data from two renowned nationally representative sources: the British Social Attitudes Survey and the European Social Survey.

According to the findings of the report, almost half (48.6 per cent) of the adult population in Britain now identify as non-religious – a group the report identifies as “Nones”. However, a deeper analysis of these figures reveals almost three in every five of these “Nones” affirm some level of personal religiousness above “none at all”.

Interestingly, the report shows that approximately 2.8 million “Nones” say they pray monthly or more often, or rate their own level of religiosity highly, while 4 per cent report that they pray on a daily basis. The analysis also demonstrates a gradual progression of prayer up the ages, with almost a quarter of “Nones” over 75 saying they pray at least monthly.

Other findings of the report show that 2009 was the first year in which “Nones” outnumbered all Christians put together, and this pattern has held in most years since.

The cross, a symbol of Christianity

More than 90 per cent of people who were raised with no religion have retained this identity into adulthood. Fewer than one in twenty “cradle Nones” now identify as Christian.

The report also showed that 67 per cent of Britons identified as some kind of Christian in 1983. In 2015, this was 43 per cent.

Over the same period, members of non-Christian religions have more than quadrupled. The proportion of “Nones” is highest in the south-east of England (58 per cent) and lowest in inner London (31 per cent). Scotland and Wales are the least religious-affiliating areas after the-south east.

Speaking about these findings, the author of the report Professor Stephen Bullivant, who is Director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society, said “What is certain, is that the challenge for the churches is twofold: 1) improve the “retention” of those brought up as Christians so that a much higher proportion remain as Christians in adult life, and 2) seek new ways to reach and attract people raised outside of Christianity. As things stand, for every one cradle None who has become some kind of Christian, there are twenty-six cradle Christians who have become Nones later in life. So there’s a lot to be done.”

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