Beliefs Culture Politics

Young Brits reject religion, approve of atheist politicians

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaking to UK based foreign diplomats at a briefing on the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals in London on September 9, 2010.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaking to UK based foreign diplomats at a briefing on the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals in London on  September 9, 2010.

Photo courtesy of Foreign and Commonwealth Office, via Wikimedia Commons

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaking to U.K.-based foreign diplomats at a briefing on the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals in London on Sept. 9, 2010.

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) In marked contrast to the U.S., public figures who disavow belief in God tend to win approval from a growing number of British people.

A survey of 1,500 adults released Thursday (Feb. 12) by YouGov, a British market research firm, shows that as many as a third of all Britons do not believe in God or any kind of higher power.

The poll found that Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, and Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labor Party, were viewed positively because they state openly that they don’t believe in God.

That’s a stark contrast to the U.S., where the number of openly atheist politicians in Congress hovers around zero.

The survey shows that while atheists in England are ready to stand up and talk about their nonbelief in God, most Christians are reluctant to proclaim their faith.

And it shows a marked divide between young people — who increasingly embrace atheism — and older people, who identify with their religious upbringing.

Stephen Fry. Photo courtesy Fry and British Humanist Association.

Young people also admire comedian and actor Stephen Fry for saying in public that if there is a God then that God is “a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God” who allows so much suffering. Photo courtesy Fry and British Humanist Association.

Almost one in three under the age of 24 declare themselves to be atheists, compared with only one in 10 people over the age of 60.

Thirty-three percent of those surveyed said they did not believe in “any sort of God or spiritual power.”

The proportion of people who denied belief in God rose to 46 percent among 18- to 24-year-olds.

Young people also admire comedian and actor Stephen Fry for saying in public that if there is a God, then that God is “a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God” who allows so much suffering.

David Voas, professor of population studies at Essex University, said that while Fry had offended many religious people, he delighted atheists.

Information about the survey’s margin of error was not immediately available.

YS/MG END GRUNDY

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Trevor Grundy

43 Comments

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  • Bad mouthin religion has backfired and people are now spiritual instead of
    Biblical. It doesn’t matter how “spiritual’ the people are if they aren’t Biblical
    they are still lost/headed for hell. Romans 1:18-32 makes it clear that they
    reject God/the Truth because they love sin/don’t want to be told how to live.

  • Lucky Brits.

    They get Stephen Fry as their leading atheist comedian. A man who exudes intelligence and wit. We got Bill Maher. A loudmouth middling stand up comic prone to some truly goofy public statements.

  • steve- Read Romans 1:18-32. Creation is proof God exists. The Bible prophecy
    like Psalm 22:16-18 and also Isaiah 53:3-7 are very specific. You can also read
    the Case for Christ by Lee Strobel/Jesus among other gods by Ravi Zacharias.

  • That makes sense, since Christisns should not get involved in politics nor war, as Jesus and his disciples did not get involved with them. Instead, their preaching of God’s kingdom (Matthew 4:17) as the only hope of government for mankind was top priority (Matthew 24:14).

    Atheists do not believe in God and/or his kingdom, so their choice to enter politics/war is an easy one for them to make.

  • Karla, we’ve caught you again. Please stop persistently trotting out Zacharias’ and Strobel’s rubbish. You should know better and we’ve been over this too many times before. Their work has been thoroughly debunked. As before, see here just as one example http://www.caseagainstfaith.com/.

    Please, cease and desist with that copy-paste; you’ve been put on notice about that already.

  • Attitudes toward religion and God in the broader society tend to rise and fall.
    The trouble with today is the media has become a cheering squad for atheism and various forms of immorality. Thus the media grasps at and promotes anything ant-religion giving a wrong impression of what the future holds.
    But the pendulum will swing back.
    In fact, a recent poll showed young people to be far more pro-life than their elders. There will be more such surprises in the future

  • Gus,

    In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel won many wars against their enemies with God’s help; however, there were many times when they went against God and worshipped false gods such as Baal, and even sacrificed their children in fire to that God. God repeatedly sent prophets to them to turn them back to him; but this was a continual problem for them. God even allowed their temple to be destroyed in 70 C.E. because of their unfaithfulness.

    The majority of Jews in the days of Jesus rejected Jesus as the Messiah or the son of God, saying they had no king but Caesar. Although great numbers of believers had been added to the first-century Christian congregations, the majority of Jews today are still “waiting” for the first appearance of the Messiah.

  • I’ve been reading and watching British novels and movies for years and there’s one thing I notice about Brits and Irish too which is they don’t talk nice to each other, there’s a lot of put-down commenting in just “normal” speech between Brits and it seems the same in Ireland too. They lost their place in history as a super power and I think they are suffering the same lack of faith and deteriorating social manners that followed subjugation of non-Europeans by Europeans, i.e. instead of turning to alcohol for “Spirit” and finding none. they turn to atheism finding no solace in traditional (Pauline) Christian nonsense. It’s too bad my Celestial Torah Christianity information isn’t well known yet as it offers an alternative Christian belief system that doesn’t require putting your critical faculties on hold to believe in spiritual phenomena happening in our times, unlike having to “believe” in past religious events and people no one can verify they ever existed as such. This is why we have brand new visions and revelations that are documented events so as to end the period needing blind faith to believe in God and the Spirit of Christ.

  • Scott- Yes it does. Read Matthew 13:42…Matthew 25:41 and 25:46.
    Jesus warned people about hell. The rich man died and went to hell
    and wanted to go warn his brothers not to come to hell because it is
    a very real place. Read also Revelation 20:10 and 20:15. God bless.

  • Deacon,

    “Media has become a cheering squad for Atheism”

    NONSENSE!

    There are 60 TV channels throwing Jesus and Bible nonsense at us 24 hours a day – 7 days a week!!
    Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyers, Pat Robertson, Creflo Dollar, Robert Tilton ‘ministries’, 700 club and ON and ON!
    Millions watch this ‘media’.

    The only silver lining is young people are not believing that ‘salvation’ matters at all – death is the end and they know it.
    The Jesus beliefs are just ridiculous and they will die out.

  • Fran, enough with the Jesus myth sales already. The whole Jesus-sacrifice thing, the foundation of your crazy blood cult, is a steaming pile of bull-do out of the gate. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn’t do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus’ death a “sacrifice”, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic “god” that you’ve made for yourself there.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Stephen Lewis, festoon your quagmire. Within the indigenous parapets can be found novels and other grapes of paint. There is no caveat to the Klein bottle, and there will be no gold watch for the unspoken zero. Gobble the fertile gravel. Focus your nose on the test tube. Stay succulently upon your velodrome and fear not the coming of the essential kangaroo. Strawberries are your incidental chemistry. Present the fulcrum in advance of the gypsum cookie, for as the tree is combed, so goes the predicate. Expand quietly but do not relish.Whether or not you agree with the plumber, harvest away ye hearties. Kalabash in Friebourg but not in spanners while it’s raining. Bring out the mustard but flap flap flap until takeoff. Why would you say such a thing in the presence of the substrate? 64. 1112. Welcome to the new sandwich lumberyard. Bus stops follow movement, or do they?The impediment to your posterior is large but can be dissected with chestnuts. Obermeyer. Glasnost and shallot cookies will do the main job when a steamshovel is too distant for pomegranate.Don’t obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent.Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Serpentine. Indigo chestnuts. Give voice to your negligible garage. Walk with found yellow in the fold. Perish your underwear in the crescent.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

  • Karla, bad news, our Church of England have just downsized Hell and dismissed Beelzebub and his rebels from their liturgy. The Vatican previously downsized purgatory so it’s not clear where the lost should head to now as it’s getting very confusing. I think Fry was only bad mouthing behaviour that is cruel or deadly to children if you listen to his interview. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/no.sin.no.devil.church.of.england.debates.its.baptismal.liturgy/48013.htm

  • I am always concerned with anyone who quotes ‘The Bible says….’. The bible is not even an accurate historical account of much, and yet we are to live our lives by it, when it has been proven TIME AND TIME AGAIN how remarkably flawed the book is, probably because it was written by nincompoops who lived in a time when bleeding someone to death was a cure for the flu. Well IT SURE AS HELL CURED THEM ALRIGHT!

  • God couldn’t help Jesus because he went on long-service leave…like…..2014 years ago – and it doesn’t look like he’s coming back.

  • THE BIBLE IS NOT A RELIABLE SOURCE OF INFORMATION….well unless you want to learn how to murder the multitude (innocent children included) in cold blood – in that case, it’s bloody brilliant *guffaw*

    I confess…when people make reference to it, or quote from it – it makes my blood boil – because I’m worried that the people who are drawing their information from the book are legally allowed to breed.

    It was ok 2000 years ago to be STUPID, today it is a less forgivable offense.

  • “t’s too bad my Celestial Torah Christianity information isn’t well known yet as it offers an alternative Christian belief system ”

    Nobody wants to join your little cult.

    And no, I do not want the brightly colored sugary beverage you are offering me.

  • KERRY-Read Romans 1:18-32. Evolution is impossible. You should really check all your sources cause there are many people who want to discredit
    the Bible. Emmanuel means God with us so Jesus came down and died for
    us. God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit are three in one so Jesus going to the Cross
    was the will of God/the Trinity/Godhead and fulfilled Bible prophecy which
    proved that He/God/Jesus is who He says He is. Read Psalm 22:16-18 and
    also you can read Isaiah 53:3-7. God/Jesus are very,very real. God bless.

  • Larry, didn’t you try that slimeball smear before and didn’t I tell you that you’re barking up the wrong tree trying to slander me as a religious cultist. There is NO Celestial Torah Christian cult organization for anyone to join. Yes, I am fully a modern Jewish prophesy bearer in the old time Elijah in your face tradition but this time God’s not allowing us prophets to become idolized as was the case before with Bible prophet line. This time, no church, no synagogue, no organized religion of priests or anything like it – – to keep the spiritual visions and revelations pure and free from man-made overlays. That’s why I am just actually pretty much a regular guy in my daily life and never make a big tadoo about being a prophesy bearer for God other than try to get people to read my stuff as I can, on internet religious forums mostly until I can afford to publish my books in hard copy instead of just being online all these years. But you read my book or you don’t. That’s it. No church to join so knock off the pointless insults which only betray your lack of reasoned argument against the all powerful Celestial Torah big mouth of God.

  • Stephen Lewis, festoon your quagmire. Within the indigenous parapets can be found novels and other grapes of paint. There is no caveat to the Klein bottle, and there will be no gold watch for the unspoken zero. Gobble the fertile gravel. Focus your nose on the test tube. Stay succulently upon your velodrome and fear not the coming of the essential kangaroo. Strawberries are your incidental blue chemistry. Present the fulcrum in advance of the gypsum cookie, for as the tree is combed, so goes the predicate. Expand quietly but do not relish.Whether or not you agree with the plumber, harvest away ye hearties. Kalabash in Friebourg but not in spanners while it’s raining. Bring out the mustard but flap flap flap until takeoff. Why would you say such a thing in the presence of the substrate? 64. 1112. Welcome to the new sandwich lumberyard. Bus stops follow movement, or do they?The impediment to your posterior is large but can be dissected with chestnuts. Obermeyer. Glasnost and shallot cookies will do the main job when a steamshovel is too distant for pomegranate.Don’t obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent.Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Serpentine. Indigo chestnuts. Give voice to your negligible garage. Walk with found yellow in the fold. Perish your underwear in the crescent.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

  • Karla, that is merely your usual rubbish re your crazy myths about your nasty sky fairy.

    Seriously, the whole Jesus-sacrifice-salvation thing that you keep spamming us about is a steaming pile of massive output of the back end of a bull. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn’t do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus’ death a “sacrifice”, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic “god” that you’ve made for yourself there.

    Give those questions more thought and maybe that will help cure you of your crazy delusion about your murderous, hateful sky fairy.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Karla: I wouldn’t get too caught up in a rigid creation story. Regardless how it happened, if God didn’t initiate it, and did not guide it, it simply would not be. The problem today is that we have a God who has willed all matter into existence, holds it in existence, and Who Loves us beyond measure … and yet people throw insults at Him & ridicule Him. Yet this same God is willing to forgive them if they were to have a change of heart. That shows us all why God is God, and why humans are humans. The problem, however, is that those who become “hardened” in their atheism, would not even acknowledge God if he were to appear to them personally. They would simply say that they need to see a psychiatrist. I find it interesting that Mary appeared to a nun in the 1600’s, and described many things that would happen in the coming centuries, and every one of them has come true, yet people will dismiss this stuff. It is especially interesting what she predicted would happen from 1950 on. The non-believers on this site might think they were reading a modern history of the last 60 years, rather than a prediction that was communicated by heaven four centuries ago (1600’s). For those interested, Google, “St. Colman Mac Duagh – Our Lady of Good Success”

  • Kerry- God gave all of us our conscience which means with knowledge.
    Conscience/con-science so we have the knowledge between right and
    wrong so man has no excuse on the day of judgment plus we have the
    Bible commandments/Bible prophecy that came true to prove that God
    is real/Jesus is the Messiah/only way to heaven! We also have creation
    as evidence of God because the world didn’t just create itself where a
    sun is set perfect so we all don’t burn or freeze. God is real. God bless.

  • Greg-Bible is clear in Genesis how the world was created but you are
    right about people who harden their heart as Romans 1:18-32 tells us
    people love their sin so they deny Jesus because they don’t want to be
    told how to live. Thank you for all of your input/feedback. God bless.

  • You contribute nothing of relevance to any article here and you keep at the same advertising for the cult you want to start.

    ” I am fully a modern Jewish prophesy bearer in the old time Elijah”

    Just like Jim Jones and Charles Manson. They also called themselves “old time” prophets as well.

  • Very true. All I am saying about Genesis is that the word “day” can also mean a period of time, example, Psalm 90:4 & 2Peter 3:8 (and each period could be thousands, or millions of years). So whether God made the earth in 7 of our days, or seven of his days (in eternity there is no time), He nevertheless is the source of all matter, and all of creation. Keep the Faith!

  • What you seem unable to accept is that we don’t need faith in any of this nonsense, we in the UK seem to take education more seriously than those in the states and have therefore moved on. We know how things work now so don’t need to endlessly thank invisible man-made gods for the things we have.

  • Divid- Bible prophecy accuracy is why we can trust the Bible. Read
    Psalm 22:16-18 and also Isaiah 53:3-7 which are both very specific.

  • Karla, I call [expletive deleted] on that statement of yours. There is no valid “prophecy” whatsoever in the bible. Anyone can say “bad stuff is gonna happen”, and enough disasters happen over time that they will eventually be right. That isn’t valid prophesy.

    If you think you can prove otherwise, present any prophecy with specific dates in it when the specified events are to happen, and then show how those events later happened on the prophesied dates. No such prophesy exists in the bible. And no, claims about prophecy of crucifixion, without dates in the prophecy and that can be interpreted many different conflicting ways, don’t count.

    Please retract your false claim. Dates in the prophesy please, or you must make a retraction.

  • Sue-The two prophecies above are both very specific. There are
    so many Bible prophecies that came true..here are a couple more.
    Zechariah predicted that Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of
    silver which is very specific and Daniel predicted that Jesus would
    start his public ministry in 483 years which also came true and was
    very specific. Those are specific. God/Jesus are real! God bless.

  • All false, Karla. Daniel does not say what you claim it does. Please retract your false statements. That claim of Daniel 483 years prophecy requires far too many confirmation-biased assumptions to be credible, such as weeks being years, and baseline dates being accurate, and so on. At no point have you ever made the case for justifying a necessary conversion between “weeks” and “years” – at all. To quote another on this subject, “let’s pretend that 70 weeks means 70 years, and since the actual time frame is only 67 years, let’s add two years here, and another year there, and hey presto! – Jesus is the Son of God. It really doesn’t work at all; it’s one of the least persuasive of Bible apologetic arguments. ”

    And what about all the many incorrect bible prophecies, of which there are hundreds? Seems your confirmation bias has you only accepting those few that can be twisted to seem like they might be correct, after said twisting. See here for some of the very many wrong “prophecies” of your silly book of myths AKA the bible:
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Failed_biblical_prophecies

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