An old poll from December 2006 I’ve just come across conduced by Harris Poll and the Financial Times into the religious views and beliefs in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA. Key results for the UK (sample size 2090):
- Ony 35% believe in any form of God or any type of supreme being (only France was lower with 27%)
- 35% are agnostic and 17% atheist
- 7% Not sure; the largest percentage of all the countries
- 39% do not share the same religious beliefs as either of their parents; the largest percentage of all countries and the only country for which this is higher than those saying they have the same religious beliefs as both of their parents. Suggesting a strong generational shedding of belief.
- 70% people believe in the separation if church and state (although that isn’t defined) the lowest of all the countries. It is probably worth noting the different charcteristics of the different churches in question. It could be that Britain’s rather laid back churches are less intrusive as much as British people being less secular on principle.
- 56% people thought religion should be taught in state schools, 29% saying no. Only Italy was more in favour of religious teaching and less opposed.
- Only 23% thought the EU was predominantly Christian club – the lowest of the European countries and a testament ot the UK’s multifaith credentials?
- Only 10% would object to their child marrying someone of a different faith and 73% would not. France and Spain indicated a slightly higher level of tolerance, both with 7% and 74 respectively
- Worryingly the UK matched France with 39% believing that Islamic veils should be banned in all public places (higher than the other countries polled) but at 48% were ahead of France and Spain in feeling that children should be allowed to wear a religious sign or article of clothing at school which is representative of their beliefs. Taken together these suggest a particular anti-Muslim dimension to British secular thought.