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Majority of Scottish people (59%) polled on behalf of Humanist Society Scotland express having no religion

A poll on behalf of Humanist Society Scotland has found that 59% of Scots surveyed identify as having no religion. This figure is very similar to the 58% recorded in the 2016 ScotCen Scottish Social Attitudes survey

37% of respondents in this poll reported that they were Christian, with the Church of Scotland being the most common denomination (57% of those reporting Christian or 21% of the total sample). There is a clear split between older and younger Scots with 59% of those aged over 65 saying they were Christian but 69% of those aged under 34 saying they were not religious.

Interestingly, when respondents were asked in what religion they were raised, 39% of respondents said they were raised with no religion but 57% reported they were raised as a Christian.

 

 

The level of no religion is reflected in the frequency of praying outside of church services that respondents reported. The majority of respondents (53%) said that they never prayed and a further 17% said they hardly ever prayed. 21% of respondents reported that they prayed at least ‘about once a week’. The remaining 10% prayed between about once a fortnight and about once a year.

 

 

An even larger majority of people polled (60%) never attended church apart from weddings, baptisms, funerals and other special occasions in the last year. A further 16% said they hardly ever attend church. Only 12% attended at least ‘about once a week’ and 3% attended between once a fortnight and once a month. With the remaining 10% attending a few times a year or about once a year.

 

 

Belief in God is low, with only 18% had no doubt that God exists and a further 17% saying they found themselves believing in God or a higher power some of the time. 26% said they were unsure whether there was a God and that there was no way to find out. 32% of respondents were certain that they did not believe in God.

 

 

When looking at other spiritual and religious beliefs, this survey revealed that the majority of Scottish people polled do not strongly believe in aspects central to major religions such as a life after death. Only 34% believed in life after death, 33% believed in heaven and 29% believed in angels whilst a quarter believed in demons/evil spirits. Belief in divine miracles from God, reincarnation, and hell was held by just over 20% of respondents Supernatural powers of deceased ancestors and a judgement day were less commonly held beliefs with less than 20% believing in either. These results are not surprising when considering that just under two thirds reported having no religion.

 

 

 

Survation polled 1002 adults aged 18+ in Scotland online. Fieldwork was between 5th and 10th July 2018. Full tables are available here.

The report by Humanist Society Scotland is available here.

Survation is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

To find out more about Survation’s services, and how you can conduct a telephone or online poll for your research needs, please visit our services page.

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Chris Lees

Chris Lees

Project Manager

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