Only one in a hundred wants to be one of us

By Simon Rocker, June 20, 2008

Most people think that religions such as Judaism and Christianity will die out in Britain within a century, according to a new online poll.

And when asked which religion they would prefer to belong to, only one per cent of respondents chose Judaism.

The survey of religious attitudes was carried out among 2,000 adults this month by YouGov for Aish, the Orthodox outreach organisation.

More than half of those sampled — 53 per cent — thought it likely, or very likely, that faiths such as Judaism and Christianity would no longer be practised in 100 years, compared with the 35 per cent who thought they would survive.

Asked which religion they would adopt if free to choose any, 35 per cent replied none; 41 per cent, Christianity; nine per cent, Buddhism; one per cent each chose Judaism, Islam and Hinduism; and no-one wanted to be a member of the Sikh community — almost certainly because little is known about the religion in the UK.

According to the national 2001 Census, 72 per cent of people identified themselves as Christian, 2.7 per cent as Muslim and 0.5 per cent as Jewish, with 0.3 per cent as Buddhist. But Judaism appears more popular among young people and Londoners: three per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds would be happy to belong to it, and four per cent of people in London — compared to the national figure of one per cent.

The survey was carried out among 969 men and 1,031 women aged between 18 and 55-plus.

People were asked for their responses regardless of whether they were currently practising members of any religion or none.

Aish commissioned the research to help it better understand religious trends in Britain and whether any were bucking the trend.

Commenting on the findings, Rabbi Naftali Schiff, executive director of Aish, said they were “alarming” and clearly demonstrated that “religion, including Judaism, is becoming unattractive to the British public”.

Although the organisation has “attracted many disinterested Jews back to Jewish identity,” he said: “It is clear that there is much work to be done.”

The survey said...

35% don’t want to be a member of any religion

53% don’t think that Judaism or Christianity will survive into the next century 

41% would pick Christianity as their preferred religion if they had to choose

1% would settle for being Jewish, but this rises to 3% among the 18-24s

Last updated: 1:53pm, June 19 2008