According to the last Scottish census in 2011, 54% of the population of Scotland stated their religion as Christian - a decrease of 11 percentage points since 2001, whilst 37% of people stated that they had no religion - an increase of nine percentage points. The same census showed that civil ceremonies in Scotland — conducted by local government officials — made up 52% of all ceremonies, up from 31% in 1971.
The Humanist Society Scotland recently commissioned a survey, conducted by the group Survation, to find out what is the religious structure of Scottish people. A new report reveals that a substantial majority (59%) of Scottish people do not hold either religious or spiritual beliefs.
The report’s key findings are, as Humanists UK reports:
- Most people in Scotland self-identify as non-religious (59%)
- Women are more likely to be non-religious (62%) than men (55%)
- Most people in Scotland do not believe in life after death (51%)
- The majority of the Scottish public do not believe in angels (60%), evil spirits (65%) or divine miracles from God (67%)
- Most people in Scotland never pray (53%)
- 60% reporting they never attended church outside of weddings or funerals they are attending
Commenting on the impact of the findings, Humanist Society Scotland Chief Executive Gordon MacRae said
These figures show how the majority of Scotland’s population do not identify with a religion nor believe in key aspects of spiritual belief… By all measurements Scotland is no longer a faith-based country and has not been for some time… This is important when it comes to the provision of public services. For example, providers must ensure they recognize and meet the needs of everyone — religious or not.
According to Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson, the evidence suggests that Scotland is not only a majority non-religious country, but that the non-religious population is very firm in those beliefs — overwhelmingly rejecting supernatural, spiritual, and irrational beliefs. In the light of these finding, senior politicians across Scotland need to stop claiming that Scotland is a “Christian country” as a means of justifying privileges given to religious institutions in politics and public life, he added.
Photo Credits: Patheos