The BBC has a major documentary going out tonight on BBC2 television in the UK and next Sunday on World Service Radio. The programme will be broadcast on BBC Two on Thursday 26th February at 21:00 GMT. The programme can also be heard on World Service Radio on Sunday 29th February at 13:06 GMT.
Those who have seen the programme are welcome to write to TA (use the Comments below) to tell us what you thought about it.
The website for this programme is here: What the World thinks of God
As part of this the BBC has conducted a new poll which it is reporting under the headline UK among most secular nations.
A survey of people’s religious beliefs in 10 countries suggests the UK is among the most secular nations in the world.
Ten thousand people were questioned in the poll by research company ICM for The BBC programme What The World Thinks Of God.
More than a quarter of Britons thought the world would be more peaceful with nobody believing in God, but very few people in other countries agreed.
The survey found the highest levels of belief in some of the world’s poorer countries, but also in the world’s richest, America.
Some poll results are available on this page
Full poll results will be published on the programme website after the programme. They are now here in PDF format.
The Church of England has thought fit to issue a press release in advance of the TV broadcast: The Church of England questions BBC analysis of faith poll – 26/02/2004
Update 29 February This survey was discussed in detail by two experts, Grace Davie and Bernard Silverman on the BBC Radio programme Sunday. Listen to that report here with Real Audio.
The Church of England today questioned the BBC’s portrayal of results from a survey of 10,000 people in 10 countries in support of the Corporation’s What the World Thinks of God programme. A spokesman for the Archbishops’ Council Communications Unit criticised the emphasis placed by BBC news reports on 46% of those polled in the UK saying they had always believed in God but ignoring the figure of 67% who said they believed in God or a higher power.
“The BBC has misrepresented the faith communities in the UK by suggesting that less than half the country believe. This is based on only 46% of UK respondents answering “yes” to a question that specifically asked if they had always believed in God: a highly spurious way of defining current belief. I cannot speak for other faith communities but any committed Christian would recognise that many who hold a strong faith today may well have come to faith late in life or lived through periods where they lost their belief. No one could seriously argue that such people are any less believers than those who have believed for as long as they can remember.
“Those people would not say they had “always believed in God”. Therefore, the poll more accurately shows that two-thirds of people in the UK have a belief as recorded in the figure of 67% who said they believed in God or a higher power.”