A survey conducted by the University of Birmingham and YouGov explores the beliefs of religious, spiritual and non-religious people in seven countries – the UK, the USA, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Germany and Spain – making it one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind.
The survey revealed that religious people are questioning the role of religion in society. One in three (32 per cent) of religious/spiritual people in the UK believe that religion has more negative consequences than positive, rising to 68 per cent for people who do not identify as religious/ spiritual. Alice Roberts, Vice President of Humanists UK, recently took part in a short discussion on this aspect of the report on the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Sunday’. The discussion begins at 35:17 (see link below). It includes a couple of vox pops and then comments from an imam and then Alice Roberts.
The survey also showed that belief in evolutionary science and religion are more compatible than one might assume. It found that in each country the majority of people accept the idea of evolution, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs. This is in contrast to the perception of a majority of the respondents, including some who themselves identify as religious, who thought that religious people would not easily accept evolutionary science.
A report summarising the findings of the survey is now available. The research project forms part of the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society, an initiative funded by Templeton Religion Trust.