London, Dec.16 (ANI): Only half of Britons now consider themselves Christian after a "sharp decline" in religious belief over the past quarter of a century, according to a new academic study.Researchers describe a large proportion of the country as the "fuzzy faithful" who have a vague belief in God but do not necessarily belong to a particular denomination or attend services, reports The Telegraph.
However, most people still say religion helps bring happiness and comfort, and regret its declining influence on modern society.
According to the analysis, to be published in January by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) shows that just 50 per cent of respondents now call themselves Christian, down from 66 per cent in 1983.
NatCen said it confirmed "the sharp decline in religious faith in Britain."
At the same time, the proportion of Britons who say they have "no religion" has increased from 31 per cent to 43 per cent. Non-Christians, including Muslims and Jews, now represent 7 per cent of the population, up from 2 per cent, 25 years ago.
The steepest fall was among those who say they worship in the established religion, the Church of England, down from 40 per cent of those who call themselves Christians to 23 per cent.
Official Church attendance figures show that average Sunday attendance was 978,000 in 2007, compared with 1.2m in 1983.
Further questions showed that 37 per cent of Britons either do not believe in God or are unable to say if a supreme being exists, while 35 per cent have a definite belief in God or belief with occasional doubts.
Only seven per cent described themselves as very religious, and 62 per cent said they never attended services in a place of worship.
Even 49 per cent of those who said they were Anglicans claimed never go to church, while just 8 per cent go every Sunday.
The study suggests that the decline in faith is largely attributable to children no longer being brought up in a particular religion.
The findings are in sharp contrast to those recorded in the USA, where 76 per cent say they are Christian and 26 per cent describe themselves as very religious.
It comes just days after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the most senior cleric in the Church of England, claimed that the Government treats worshippers as "oddities" and religion as a "problem". (ANI)