religion survey
Kit Leong/

A recent survey has revealed that almost 40 percent of British Christians prefer not to share their religious beliefs. The findings reflect a broader trend of religious reticence in the U.K., which experts attribute to various factors, including a rise in antisemitism and a “self-confidence” crisis among British Christians. A similar reluctance among Jewish respondents can be seen, with 38 percent agreeing with the statement, “I prefer not to tell people about my faith or religious belief,” according to the survey commissioned by the Institute for the Impact of Faith in Life and conducted by Whitestone Insight.

In contrast, only 29 percent of Muslim participants felt the same way. Jake Scott, the secretary of IIFL, said the reluctance among Christians might stem from uncertainty about their religious identity. “There was a high correlation between ‘exclusivist’ Christians — who reflected 28 percent of Christians in the survey — and a willingness to talk about the faith,” Scott told The Telegraph. Exclusivists are those who believe their religion is the only true faith. Scott noted that the self-confidence crisis among Christians might be linked to cultural Christians — those who were baptized but attend church infrequently and do not strongly identify with the Christian faith. “They may prefer not to speak about the faith because they have a lack of confidence when it comes to whether they truly identify as Christians.”

The survey also revealed generational differences in attitudes toward faith. For instance, only 30 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds believed people should not talk about their faith in the workplace, compared to 50 percent of those aged 65 and over. However, younger people were generally more enthusiastic about their faith in other contexts, with 72 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds stating that religion helped them find purpose in life, compared to 47 percent of those aged 65 and older. Further, the IIFL survey explored perceptions of religion in public life. Confidence that religion is a force for good in society was relatively low, with only 36 percent of the overall sample agreeing with this sentiment.

Among those of faith, the figure was higher at 55 percent. Additionally, resistance to religion’s presence in the workplace and politics was notable, with 42 percent viewing religion in the workplace positively compared to 41% who disagreed. Despite these reservations, religion appears to hold significant importance in the U.K. Sixty-two percent of respondents agreed that Christian heritage is vital to British culture, and there is a general perception that the U.K. welcomes religious diversity. Furthermore, the survey indicated that good relations exist between faith groups, with 73 percent of respondents reporting friendships across different faiths.

Furthermore, the survey suggested a generational revival of faith among younger people. Gen Z respondents, in particular, showed a higher level of religious engagement and interfaith interactions. A significant majority of 18- to 24-year-olds believe their faith is the only true religion and are more willing to speak about their faith in public. Trust in the media regarding religious coverage was low, with only 21 percent of the sample believing the media is balanced in its portrayal of religion, compared to 51 percent who disagreed. This skepticism extended to the desire for more religious coverage, with 63 percent of the sample opposed to it.

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