is one of the most secular nations in the world, a new poll in 10
of religious belief and activity in the UK are far lower than in
almost all other countries surveyed across the globe in a special
poll undertaken for the BBC.
ICM poll of 10,000 people in the USA, UK, Israel, India, South Korea,
Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico and Lebanon was carried out for
What the World Thinks of God - BBC TWO, Thursday 26 February,
reveals that only 46% of respondents in the UK said they have always
believed in God - 27% less than the average.
Russia (42%) and South Korea (28%) were lower.
just 52% of UK respondents believed God (or a Higher Power) created
the universe, compared to 85% in the USA, 83% in Mexico, 99% in
Indonesia and 96% in Lebanon.
highest levels of belief are found in the poorer nations of Nigeria
(98%), India (92%) and Indonesia (97%).
the USA - the richest nation polled - has a very high level of belief.
13% of those polled in America said they found it hard to believe
in God (a Higher power) when there was so much suffering in the
this compares to more than half (52%) of those polled in the UK
- the highest of all the countries - and more than twice the average.
The figures for Lebanon were 2% and Nigeria 12%.
survey found that only 19% of those in the UK said they would die
for their God/beliefs.
compares to 37% in Israel, 90% of those polled in Indonesia and
Nigeria, and 71% in the USA and Lebanon.
78% of those polled in the USA claimed to have studied religious
texts, by far the largest figure, followed by 51% in Nigeria and
42% in the UK. This
compares to an average of 33%.
poll also looked at the place of religion in the world.
a third (29%) of people in the UK believe that the world would be
a more peaceful place without beliefs in God but very few people
in other countries agreed.
6% of those polled in America agreed with this view, 11% in Israel
and 9% in India. The average across all ten countries was 10%.
15% of those polled in America blamed people of other religions
for much of the trouble in the world compared with more than a third
(37%) in the UK and 33% in Israel.
figure fell to 8% of those polled in Indonesia, 24% in Lebanon and
17% in India.
poll also looked at levels of attendance at organised religious
services in the UK compared to the rest of the world.
the ten countries, an average of 46% regularly attend a religious
service but the figure was 21% in the UK, the second lowest behind
highest figure was 91% for Nigerians, with 54% in the USA.
just 29% of UK respondents said they had been encouraged to believe
in God by someone outside their family, compared with 57% in the
regards to prayer, a total of 95% of Nigerians polled said they
prayed regularly as did 67% of those polled in the USA with further
numbers praying occasionally at times of crisis.
in the UK said they prayed regularly and 41% in Israel.
25% of people in the UK and 29% of people in Israel said they never
poll did reveal however that nearly 30% of all atheists polled admitted
they prayed sometimes.
whether a belief in a God/higher power makes for a better human
being, well over 80% of people in most countries agreed, but by
far the lowest figure was in the UK with just 56%.
just 42% of UK respondents believed God (or a higher power) judges
their actions and the way they lived their lives compared to 76%
in America, 72% in Israel, 81% in Nigeria and an average of 70%.
the issue of tolerance of different religions the poll found that
more than 90% of all respondents in Nigeria, Indonesia and Lebanon
believed their God was the only true God.
compares to 70% in Israel and just 31% in the UK.
majority of those polled when asked if they believed death was the
was the case for more than half of the UK respondents (51%), 79%
of those polled in Nigeria, 75% in Lebanon and 74% in the USA.
at how attitudes change across different religions, the poll found
that while 85% of Hindus and 83% of Muslims said they prayed regularly,
only 65% of Christians did and barely a third (38%) of Jews.
asked if their God was the only true God, 95% of Muslims said yes,
compared with 68% of Christians and 66% of Jews.
when asked if other religions were to blame for the troubles in
the world, 34% of Jews agreed, while only 24% of Christians, 18%
of Hindus and 14% of Muslims agreed.
January 2004 the independent opinion research company ICM conducted
a survey of 10,000 people in 10 different nations for the BBC programme
What the World Thinks of God.
countries surveyed were the USA, UK, Israel, India, South Korea,
Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico and Lebanon.
credit BBC TWO's What The World Thinks of God for the use of any
of the material in the poll.
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