Scots are los­ing faith

Three in four now shun­ning re­li­gion

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - MEMORY WALKS - By Lucinda Cameron mail@sun­day­

NEARLY three quar­ters of Scots are not re­li­gious, ac­cord­ing to new re­search.

Fig­ures re­leased by the Hu­man­ist So­ci­ety Scot­land re­veal that 72% of Scots de­scribe them­selves as not re­li­gious – up 16% on a sur­vey six years ago.

Just un­der a quar­ter ( 24%) con­sid­ered them­selves re­li­gious, with 4% of peo­ple sur­veyed pre­fer­ring not to say.

Gor­don MacRae, the so­ci­ety’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said the find­ings “raised con­cerns” about of­fi­cial fig­ures.

He said: “We know that many peo­ple iden­tify with a par­tic­u­lar re­li­gious com­mu­nity, usu­ally due to fam­ily ties, but are not them­selves prac­tis­ing that re­li­gion.

“These lat­est find­ings would sug­gest there could be as much as a 15% dif­fer­ence be­tween

‘of­fi­cial statis­tics’ and the re­al­ity of re­li­gion’s place in the Scot­tish pub­lic’s daily lives.

“This raises ma­jor ques­tions about key pol­icy de­ci­sions made by Govern­ment re­gard­ing spe­cial rights given to re­li­gious bod­ies un­der law.

“For ex­am­ple, the right of Scot­land’s churches to hold the bal­ance of power on lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion com­mit­tees.”

The Sur­va­tion poll of 1016 Scot­tish adults was car­ried out be­tween Septem­ber 8 and 12.

The pre­vi­ous Pro­gres­sive/ YouGov sur­vey of 2007 Scot­tish adults was con­ducted in Jan­uary 2011.

Then, 56% of re­spon­dents re­vealed they were not re­li­gious, 35% said they were, 8% ad­mit­ted they didn’t know, while 1% did not re­spond.

Rev Nor­man Smith, con­vener of the Church of Scot­land’s mis­sion and dis­ci­ple­ship coun­cil, said: “Our own re­search shows the role of spir­i­tu­al­ity in peo­ple’s lives re­mains im­por­tant.

“It is no ac­ci­dent that peo­ple of faith across the coun­try are over- rep­re­sented in vol­un­teer ac­tiv­i­ties from sup­port­ing youth groups and op­er­at­ing de­men­tia cafes to run­ning food banks.”

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: “The ques­tion ‘are you re­li­gious’ does not lend it­self to a bi­nary yes/no an­swer since re­li­gios­ity tends to ex­ist on a slid­ing scale rather than at ei­ther end of a stark spec­trum.”

■ Fewer peo­ple now pray.

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