Scots are losing faith
Three in four now shunning religion
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.