Recently reported are the results of surveying 400,000 people by the Office for National Statistics:
THE GOOD NEWS:
As of March 2011
23.2% said they were not religious, against 20.5% a year earlier.
68.5% said they were Christian, against 71.3% a year earlier.
One third of those between 25 and 34 stated they had no religion at all.
Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance said the true figure for active Christians would be even lower because ”Ticking a box does not make you a Christian, and given the state of our society it is doubtful that all of those who self-identify as Christians actually are.”
2011 4.4% were Muslim, against 4.2% a year earlier.
How would figures for other European countries compare with these?
Germany - 2010 estimation:
no religion 34.6%
These figures are laughably misrepresentative. Out of every hundred I can recollect, no more than ten would have any religious leanings. Filling out forms with a selection of options lead people to feel obligated to tick a box. These polls should begin by asking the simple question 'do you believe in god'. The answers would still be unreliable doe to peoples misgivings about public opinion if they gave a negative answer. I know, and I don't need any poll to tell me, that religious believers in the UK amount to no more than 20% of the population.
However when asked the census question ‘What is your religion?’, 61% of people in England and Wales ticked a religious box (53.48% Christian and 7.22% other) while 39% ticked ‘No religion’. When the same sample was asked the follow-up question ‘Are you religious?’, only 29% of the same people said ‘Yes’ while 65% said ‘No’, meaning over half of those whom the census would count as having a religion said they were not religious.
According to Religious Trends No 7 published by Christian Research, overall church attendance in the United Kingdom diminished rapidly from 1980 to 2005 in both proportional and real terms.
In 1980 5,201,300 people, representing 11.1% of the UK population, attended Church on a given Sunday, but by 2005 this number had reduced to 3,166,200, equating to 6.3% of the UK population. By 2015, the level of church attendance in the UK is predicted to fall to 3,081,500 people, or 5% of the population.
These figures are far closer to the mark. When people are quizzed about historical affiliations their answers have more relation to convention than fact.
Northern Europe, i believe, wouldn't differ a lot from the findings given above.