Nearly two-thirds of teenagers don’t believe in God and think that reality television is far more important than religion, new research has revealed.
The survey showed that 66 per cent of teens do not believe a deity exists while 50 per cent have never prayed and 16 per cent have never been to church.
Teenagers rated family, friends, money, music and even reality TV shows above faith.
Other statistics which emerged from the report included:
*]59 per cent of children believed religion has had a negative influence on the world
*]60 per cent only go to church for a wedding or christening
*]Only 30 per cent of teenagers think there is an afterlife…
*]… while 10 per cent believe in reincarnation
*]47 per cent said organised religion had no place in the world
*]60 per cent don’t believe Religious Studies should be compulsory in schools
*]However, 91 per cent agreed they should treat others the way they wished to be treated themselves
The study of 1,000 teenagers aged 13 to 18 was carried out by Penguin books.
It also revealed the south-east was the region with the least faith as only 28 per cent of those surveyed believed in God.
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: 'I am not at all surprised by the results.
'Some of the results are very interesting, for example that only four per cent believe God is the biggest influence in their lives.
'That is consistent with Government research which shows that while religion is very important to a small proportion of adults, most people rank religion with very low in importance in their lives.
'Also significant, and reassuring for those who are worried about children’s values, is that 91 per cent think they should treat others as they wish to be treated.
‘It confirms that young people - like adults - do not need a religion to have positive values.’
The survey was carried out to mark Penguin’s publication of controversial novel ‘Killing God’ by Kevin Brooks.
The book is about a 15-year-old girl who questions and rages at the existence of God.
Mr Brooks, who is a popular teenage 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.’
As a seventeen year old Catholic teenager living in England I’d like to give my opinion on this. I was surprised of this when I first read but, but now I’m not so surprised. The UK like most Western countries is very materialistic, and teenagers only really care about everything in the here and now. I’m not sure how reliable these statistics are though.
Faith schools are the best performing schools in this country. According to Wikepedia (not sure how reliable these statistics are), there are 6,955 Christian faith schools in England. The Roman Catholic church also maintains schools. In addition, there are 36 Jewish, 7 Muslim, 2 Sikh and 1 Hindu.
The way that it seems to work in Western countries, young people don’t tend to go to Church, I don’t think they really tend to take a position such as Christian or Atheist. They just don’t tend to think about it. And then when they get older, in their late 20s onwards and have children, then they start going to Church and becoming more Religious. A little bit like my Mother and my Uncle, for that fact. My Uncle actually lives in Austria. As he was in University and so fourth he didn’t go to Church, and then when he started a Family he came very devout and started going to Church every Sunday. And my Mother, She’s always considered herself Catholic but she didn’t start going to Church until about ten years ago. She is now just turned 52. That’s why Church attendance in the West isn’t so high as say America. People consider themselves Christian, Catholic - but they just don’t tend to go to Church very often. Although, Catholic Church attendance has been rising!
There are over 60 million people in Britain, and according to the 2007 statistics, the United Kingdom was on the 13th largest Christian population list with 43,515,786.
And similarly, the percentages from the 2001 National Census show that in the UK there are; Christians: 71.6%, Muslims: 2.7%
But the Christian communities in this country need to think of new things to invigorate the Faith here! This is very important and must happen! Over 2 million in this country have attended an Alpha course, an opportunity to explore the meaning of life, running in tens of thousands of churches of all denominations across the world. We need more things like this! I think it’s time for the Faith Communities in this country to become a little more aggressive. I have heard about African and Asian Missionaries coming to the United Kingdom, but I’m not sure if this is true and if it will happen. Young people need to see the relevancy of Christianity to life, to modern life!