LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Most people in Scotland consider themselves to be non-religious and increasing numbers of people raised as Christian are leaving the faith, according to the results of a survey published on Tuesday.
The study, conducted by the Humanist Society Scotland, found that 59 percent of the population describe themselves as non-religious.
The survey polled 1,000 people, and included questions about the afterlife, demons, and miracles.
It showed that 53 percent of Scots never pray, and 60 percent do not attend church unless it is for a wedding or funeral.
Even some non-religious people seem to believe in an afterlife: Only 51 percent said they disbelieve. Meanwhile, 60 percent don’t believe in angels, 65 percent don’t believe in evil spirits, only 20 percent believe in Hell, and 67 percent don’t believe God performs miracles.
As for belief in God, 18 percent said they were certain He existed, and 17 percent said they believed in Him at some occasions, but not others. 32 percent said they were atheists, and a further 26 percent said they didn’t know if there was a God and there was no way to find out.
The survey found that 12 percent of Scots attend religious services weekly, and a further 9 percent attend services regularly but less frequently.
It was not always so for the respondents: Only 39 percent said they were raised non-religious; 57 percent said they were raised Christian, even though only 37 percent now describe themselves as such.
Yet when you delve into the data based on denomination (which was conducted by the polling firm Survation, but not mentioned by Humanist Society Scotland in their published summary), most of this decline was experience by the Kirk, the national church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian.
The Catholic Church, on the other hand, has not experienced a similar decline.
“The survey commissioned by Humanist Society Scotland is interesting on two fronts: Firstly, it would suggest that the number of those self-identifying as Catholic in Scotland is pretty steady across the generations with, in fact, a slight statistical uptick among younger people. Increasingly, it would suggest, those who self-identify as ‘Christian’ in Scotland are, in fact, Catholic,” a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh told Crux.
“Secondly, it confirms that there is now an important job of work to be done by all Catholics in Scotland, especially the lay faithful, in employing the common language of reason to intelligently re-propose the person of Jesus Christ to wider Scottish society in a way that is coherent, compelling and compassionate,” the spokesperson said.