UK survey reveals Christian values reach beyond the faithful

The vast majority of Britons think that Christian values are good for the country even if they do not personally believe in God, according to research.

The London Telegraph reports that seven in 10 believe that Christian principles are still valid in today's society, the survey found, and that view was supported by half of those who said that they professed no faith.

Seventy-four per cent of those questioned said that children should be brought up with Christian values and 71 per cent agreed that Christianity should continue to be taught in schools.

The poll, by an independent agency for two Christian organisations, will encourage those who argue that Britain remains an essentially Christian country despite growing secularism.

Joel Edwards, the general director of the Evangelical Alliance, one of the organisations, said that millions of people recognised the positive benefits of Christian values.

"Forgiveness, respect, hope and trust are rooted in the Christian faith and they are the antidote to a culture that is being railroaded into an individualistic, rights-orientated mentality," he said.

Fewer people - 33 per cent - believed in the Christian idea of heaven, however, suggesting that New Age beliefs are creeping in.

But the devil and hell still exert a powerful grip on people's imagination, with a fifth of those questioned professing a belief in both. In the poll, 27 per cent of the population said that they still regarded the Bible as a reliable guide to how they ought to live.

The survey polled 2,077 members of the general public in January and was carried out by CommunicateResearch for the Evanglical Alliance, an umbrella body representing one million Christians in Britain, and Premier Christian Radio.

Meanwhile, trend-watcher Bernard Salt, in an article for the Australian today, said that despite the apparent rise of the Pentecostal churches in Australia, such as Sydney's Hillsong church, the Catholic concept of a reward after death will "sell well" to those close to death.

He believes "traditional religion" will be popular "as baby boomers edge closer to their maker".

"The 2020s could well be marked by an era of rising religious fervour as fast-fading baby boomers scramble to shore up their after-life options," he predicts.

Christian values reach beyond the faithful (London Telegraph 10/4/06)
Bernard Salt: Religion a hard sell to young, rich 'immortals' (The Australian 13/4/06)

13 Apr 2006