Two thirds of UK teenagers don't believe in God

Nearly two thirds of UK teenagers don't believe in God, according to a study by Penguin books.


Teenagers even say family, friends, money, music and even reality television are more important than religion.

It also emerged six out of ten 10 children (59 per cent) believe that religion "has a negative influence on the world".

The survey also shows that half of teenagers have never prayed and 16 per cent have never been to church.

The study of 1,000 teenagers aged 13 to 18 was carried out by Penguin to mark this week's publication of controversial novel 'Killing God' by Kevin Brooks.

The book is about a 15-year-old girl who questions the existence of God.

Kevin Brooks, the author, said: "I can't say I am surprised by the teenagers' responses.

"Part of the reason that I wrote Killing God was that I wanted to explore the personal attitudes of young people today, especially those with troubled lives, towards organised religion and the traditional concept of God.

"How can the moralities of an ancient religion relate to the tragedies and disorders of today's broken world? And why do some people turn to God for help while others take comfort in drugs and alcohol?

"These are just some of the questions I wanted to consider... And I wasn't looking for answers."

The research also found 55 per cent of young people are not bothered about religion and 60 per cent only go to church for a wedding or christening.

Only three out of 10 teenagers believe in an afterlife and 41 per cent believe that nothing happens to your body when you die, but one in 10 reckon they come back as an animal or another human being.

A Church of England spokesman said: "Many teenagers aren't sure what they believe at that stage of their lives, as is clear from the number who said they don't know whether they believe in God.

"On the other hand many of these results point to the great spirituality of young people today that the Church is seeking to respond to through new forms of worship alongside tradition ones."

Hanne Stinson, chief executive of The British Humanist Association, said: "It confirms that young people - like adults - do not need a religion to have positive values.

"The 'golden rule', which is often claimed by religions as a religious value, is in reality a shared human value - shared by all the major religions and the non-religious and almost every culture - that predates all the major world religions."

Views: 59

Comment by Dave G on June 29, 2009 at 2:02pm
I wish we could say the same for the US.
Comment by Rick Watts on June 29, 2009 at 3:05pm
The churches may do well to accept the expanding concept of atheism and deal accordingly with it instead of fighting against. Perhaps create an abbreviated edition of The Book that illustrates only the wisdoms and moral teachings and whatever real values that are 'agnostic and atheist friendly'. Change courageously.. to meet the public demand instead of being too stubborn. A church sponsored forum for the non believers..?
Comment by James on June 29, 2009 at 5:13pm
I wish the same could be the case here. I've always been fond of the British, and now here's a reason to be quite proud of them.
Comment by Jason Brown on June 29, 2009 at 7:30pm
Well we all USED to be British right?

At some point in our history .. USA, NZ :)
Comment by Jeremy Roney on June 29, 2009 at 9:13pm
I want to move to the UK now. I can honestly say I've never met another atheist (so far as I know). I mean really, the TA of my evolution class was religious...


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