Rise in numbers reporting ‘no religion’ in Census must be properly interpreted
Many of those who don’t belong to a religion continue to believe in God
October 12, 2017 – Census figures released today showing a sharp rise in the number of people saying they have ‘no religion’ need to be properly interpreted because many of those who say they have ‘no religion’ continue to believe in God and would say there are ‘spiritual’, the Iona Institute has said in response to the new figures.
David Quinn of the Iona Institute said: “An opinion poll of voters conducted by RTE last year following the General Election actually put the number of people saying they have no religion higher than the Census at 14pc (vs 9.8pc for Census 2016). However, only 1pc said they were agnostics and only 4pc said they were atheists. Put together, atheists and agnostics account for about a third of those who said they don’t belong to any religion. Therefore, many of those who said they do not belong to a religion, continue to believe in God”.
He continued: “This is why we need to be careful to properly interpret the category ‘no religion’. It would be easy to wrongly conclude that this entire category does not believe in God or have any religious beliefs. Polling in America has also found that many of those who say they don’t belong to a religion nonetheless pray and do believe in God”.