A new international survey by Ispos/Mori conducted in 24 countries and involving 18,473 people sought to discover the attitudes to religion around the world. Needless to say, it found vast differences between Europeand the developing and Muslim worlds.
The survey asked: “What, if any, is your faith or religion even if you are not currently practising?” 47% said Christianity; 11% said Islam; 25% said no religion at all. In Britain 37% said they had no religion. Japanhas the largest number of non-religious at 67% followed by China at 62% and Swedenat 49%.
In answer to the question: “Does religion provide the common values and ethical foundations that diverse societies need to thrive in the 21st century?” Overall the number of people answering ‘yes’ was 48%, but there were huge differences in different areas of the world. InBritain, 29% did so, whereas it was 19% in Sweden and 92% in Saudi Arabia.
Worldwide, 30% of people agreed with the statement “My faith or religious belief is an important motivation in my giving time or money to people in need”; 14% of Britons agreed, whereas only 11% did in Sweden but 84% of people in Indonesia said yes.
52% thought “My faith or religious belief makes no difference to my giving time or money to people in need – I see this as important in any case”.
When asked to agree or disagree with “My faith or religion is the only true path to salvation, liberation or paradise” 9% of Britons agreed, 5% of Spaniards and 75% of Saudis agreed.
To the question: “How important, if at all, is your faith or your religion in your life?” 52% of Britons thought it important to some degree, whereas 41% of Swedes and French thought it was important – and all the Saudis.
The results for Saudi Arabia should be treated with caution, however, the authors of the survey say. Respondents there were given the opportunity to opt out of answering questions they found “sensitive” (and presumably because the wrong answer might get them into trouble).