Reason Is Winning

Less than half of Britons believe in God. According to a new survey, less than half of all Britons now believe in God–a sharp drop from the three-quarters of the population avowing belief in 1968. Fully 35% said they did not believe in God. More than a third of young people describe themselves as either agnostics or atheists.

Only 44% of Brits believe in God, a majority entertain no belief in life after death, only a third believe in heaven and even fewer in hell and the devil, and 68% would prefer not to be married in a place of worship. The online survey, YouGov, involved 1,981 people. Source: Agence France-Press, Dec. 27, 2004

UK among most secular nations. More than a quarter of Brits think the world would be more peaceful if nobody believed in God, only 19% would be willing to die for their God, and 33% do not believe in a god or higher power. A quarter of Britons never pray. Source: BBC News, Feb. 26, 2005

1 in 3 Kentuckians unchurched. Nearly 1 million Kentucky residents have no connection to any church, and have not attended services once in the last 6 months except for special occasions, such as weddings.

The survey of 650,000 Kentucky adults found 21% of the population does not view themselves as committed to the church they attend. The Barna Research Group said the number of unchurched American adults has nearly doubled to 75 million since 1991. Source: Courier-Journal, Dec. 24, 2004

Hear it for secular Europeans. While 82% of Americans say God is very important to them, less than 20% of Europeans make such statements. Source: Utne Reader, Sept-Oct 2004

Record numbers leave Catholicism. Austrians are leaving the Roman Catholic Church in record numbers. Church officials cited 44,852 dropouts during the 2004 scandal, involving the discovery of child and other pornography at a diocesan seminary. Source: Austria Press Agency/Chicago Tribune, Jan. 21, 2005

Catholics uneasy.” A growing number of Roman Catholic churchgoers admit “a growing uneasiness” over the church’s sexual scandals and financial accountability, including the fact that the denomination faces $900 million in legal settlements and other costs for victims of abusive priests. Some 70% say the church needs to be more accountable and 71% want annual public audits. Source: Zogby International Poll, USA Today, Jan. 11, 2005

Losing faith in France. The population of French priests is so old that half of them are expected to die off in the next 8 years. Catholic congregations are disappearing as France becomes secularized. Source: BBC News, Jan. 7, 2005

Canadians give up religion. Half of the adult Canadian population now believes that regular attendance at religious services provides no benefit to Canadian society. In British Columbia and Quebec, fully 60% found no benefit. Only 29% of Canadians say religion is a very important part of their lives (in contrast to 59% of Americans). Source: Environs Research Group, 1,500 adults telephone survey, Globe and Mail, Sept. 10, 2004

Protestantism is fading: 52% in 2002 claimed to be Protestant, down from 63% in 1993, while Americans citing no religion went up from 9% to nearly 14%. “Many scholars have noted that the numbers of people who say they have ‘no religion’ are increasing, but they haven’t noted what faith group these people have been leaving. It is clear that many of these people are former Protestants,” says researcher Seokho Kim, co-author of the study, “The Vanishing Protestant Majority.” Source: University of Chicago National Opinion Research Center, July 20, 2004

Outlawing corporal punishment. States forbidding corporal punishment in schools are: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Countries where it is unlawful for a parent, teacher or caretaker to use any form of corporal punishment on a child: Austria, Denmark, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Finland, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, Romania, Ukraine. Source: San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 6, 2005

(Thanks to John Tomasin for suggesting a “Reason Is Winning” column.)

Freedom From Religion Foundation