Survey shows that Scotland is no longer a faith-based country

Survey shows that Scotland is no longer a faith-based country August 14, 2018

Commenting the findings of a poll commissioned by Humanist Society Scotland, Gordon MacRae, above, Chief Executive of HSS, said today that ‘by all measurements Scotland is no longer a faith-based country – and has not been for some time.’
The poll, carried out by Survation, reveals that a substantial majority (59 percent) of Scottish people do not hold either religious or spiritual beliefs.
Said MacRae:

These figures show how the majority of Scotland’s population do not identify with a religion nor believe in key aspects of spiritual belief  … This is important when it comes to the provision of public services for example, providers must ensure they recognise and meet the needs of everyone – religious or not.

The report’s key findings are:

• Most people in Scotland self identify as non-religious (59 percent)
• Women are more likely to be non-religious (62 percent) than men (55 percent)
• Most people in Scotland do not believe in life after death (51 percent)
• The majority of the Scottish public do not believe in angels (60 percent), evil spirits (65 percent) or divine miracles from God (67 percent)
• Most people in Scotland never pray (53 percent)
• 60 percent reported they never attended church outside of weddings or funerals they are attending

These findings are consistent with other recent surveys such as the 2017 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSAS), which found that 58 percent of Scots consider themselves non-religious, including 74 percent of Scots aged 18-34. The SSAS suggested that the only generation where religious belief was in the majority was Scots aged 65+, of whom only 34 percent were non-religious, compared to 57 percent of Scots aged 50-64.
Last year, Humanist Society Scotland conducted more marriages in Scotland that any religious group, including the Church of Scotland.
Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented:

The evidence suggests that Scotland is not only a majority non-religious country, but that the non-religious population is very firm in those beliefs – overwhelmingly rejecting supernatural, spiritual, and irrational beliefs.
In the light of these finding, senior politicians across Scotland need to stop claiming that Scotland is a “Christian country” as a means of justifying privileges given to religious institutions in politics and public life.

Hat tip: AgentCormac

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  • AgentCormac

    It’s about time humanist weddings were mad legal in England and Wales as well.

  • andym

    Good news, but expect this: the fewer followers they have, the louder the screams of “persecution ” will get.

  • Bob Anderson

    Och! Seems I’m just an average Scot now. Think I’ll take up religion.Can anyone suggest one that won’t cost me anything and won’t require me to bother anybody?

  • Bob, My personal preference of religion is (metaphorical – atheistic) Satanism. While it doesn’t require you bother anybody, why would you deny yourself such fun?! Surely, there’s a bit of rabble-rousing you might want to tap into? Ya know, “fight the power(s)!” Or not.
    Ave Satanas!
    (Great news, Scotland! We (some of us) in the U.S. are attempting to do better…)

  • L.Long

    Right Chad! Imagine going door to door asking have you take satan into your heart?? Hell you would probably scare the none-religious ones!!

  • Stonyground

    Encouraging numbers but there still seems to be a significant minority who still believe in the most absurd rubbish. Still, these surveys are always moving in the right direction so we should be hopeful for the future.

  • Broga

    Bob Anderson : I grew up in remote Scotland where everyone was religious but not the kind that you hear on Thought for the Day. My grannie was convinced that the devil had appeared in the stables because my grandfather heard his chains rattle. She also was often in demand in the village to read teacups. I learned the technique but could not get the message. I was curious about superstition even then.
    My uncle, a heavy drinker – a half and a half for Scots readers – was notorious because he was a friend of the RC priest whom the bigoted protestants i.e. my family and everyone I knew who was not an RC. My RC school friends were known as Papes and the Pope was the devil incarnate and detested to an extent Ian Paisley could never achieve.
    The priest and my uncle were often drunk together. When the priest put his hand on my shoulder once I was paralysed with terror.
    Hogmanay was far better than Christmas and first footing soon led to drunkenness. The Christmas celebration of Jesus birth went almost unnoticed. I was known as “a clever wee boy” and intelligence and education were valued. An uncle, an enthusiast of the Waverley Novels he kept in pristine condition gave me as a birthday present “The Land of the Leal” by James Barke, a wonderful writer whose description of the suffering of the Galloway farm Labourers reminded me later when I started college of “Germinal.” Although the farmers were too dispersed to arrange an effective strike.
    Where I grew up I saw little signs of belief beyond going through the motions. That simple, hard life, on a farm was an idyll in my memory and no doubt romanticised as the past often is.
    Chad got me started this: Satanism. In early adolescence a group of us decided to become Satanists and cross the Ipsissimus or the Chasm and achieve great power and, the real attraction, access to girls. We must have failed to get the rituals right as we didn’t get the power. We were only marginally more fortunate with the girls.
    Scots readers of a certain age will identify some of the situations. For the rest, perhaps some interest in a vanished past before TVs and computers.

  • 1859

    Great, encouraging news Scotland – keep on drinking that good, down-to-earth common sense! Roll on Rab C. Nesbit!
    One of the best lines ever written for TV Scotland ws when two old biddies were walking past some drunk sprawled across a Glasgow pavement – the biddies stiffened and gripped each others arms and one said to the other –
    “Scum to the right of us and scum to the left – roll on death!”

  • barriejohn

    Much more encouraging news than the BBC’s survey of British Asians (“socially conservative”), for whom religion remains, across all age groups, a very important part of their lives:

  • sndym

    @ BJ.Most worrying is the absence of significant differences in the younger age groups.

  • RussellW

    What the hell does ‘spiritual’ mean, apart from ‘religious

  • Jobrag

    RussellW, spiritual but not religious means, I want to believe in an after life but can’t be bothered to go to church on Sunday, other places and days of religious participation are available.

  • Broga

    barriejohn: Bad news but the BBC, politicians and media insist on clinging to the “values of Christianity” on which our great country was built.
    Meanwhile, the said “values of Christianity” have been so firmly built that 700 RC priests in the USA have been sexually abusing children, the youngest identified aged 17 months for 70 years.
    Or was that 70 priests abusing for 700 years. The numbers are so outrageous that they merge and I caught the end of the item driving home overnight.
    Later a bishop attempted to disown the priests, while apologising, and said they were exploiting the faith for their own ends (could be better phrased) but didn’t mention the extensive cover up including from the Vatican.

  • barriejohn

    @andym (for I believe it is he!): That’s why it’s such a contrast. Younger Asians seem to be just as “conservative” as their elders, and they are going to have a bigger and bigger influence on British society – maybe out of proportion to their numbers (as evangelical Protestants have in the past).

  • andym

    Yes it was me ! That’s what happens if you post at 5:36am!
    The figures are another triumph for the backward-looking ideology of multi-culturalism , which is failing both the minorities and society as a whole.

  • Angela_K

    Ah the BBC, use “Asians” when they mean Muslims.
    As I posted elsewhere, “spiritual” is a nebulous weasel word to describe woo other than religion. If somebody tells me they are “spiritual” I know I’m dealing with an irrational person.

  • barriejohn

    Angela_K: I don’t know what you mean.
    One of the Asia Network presenters was in hot water about a year ago for asking listeners what the correct punishment for blasphemy would be!
    “Spiritual” people do, indeed, believe in woo – it’s just their own woo, and not something that someone else has told them to believe in. Their air of smug superiority makes them even more objectionable than the religious in my view.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    @Broga; excellent description of your childhood and teen years. You should write a book about it.
    Being 43 years of age myself. I also remember growing up in India without 24*7 satellite T.V and internet.
    @barriejohn; British Asians are indeed rooted in too much useless traditions. By and large they follow their Parents profession as well as religion blindly.
    These morons are too docile to think independently and possess a rational, rebellious mind.