DESPITE 52 PER CENT OF THE PUBLIC saying they do not regard themselves as belonging to any religion, new research among British adults has revealed that over two-thirds of us (69 per cent) still consider it important to understand other people’s beliefs in everyday life.
People also value understanding their own worldview (64 per cent), with most (57 per cent) agreeing that it has a positive impact on their wellbeing.
The research among 2,000 adults, commissioned by education charity Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, also found that most people agree that understanding other people’s beliefs is important for relationships with friends and family (65 per cent), and in local communities (64 per cent) and schools (65 per cent).
Most (61 per cent) of respondents agreed that it was important to understand other people’s beliefs in the workplace. The figure rises to 63 per cent of those who are employed.
The research also asked people’s views on religious education in schools. It found that nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of adults consider the subject to be an important part of the school curriculum (rising to 68 per cent of parents surveyed), with 71 per cent agreeing that RE should reflect the diversity of backgrounds and beliefs in the UK today.
The key findings of the research include:
Around two-thirds of UK adults say it’s important to understand the beliefs of others in at least four contexts:
- In everyday life (69 per cent)
- In relationships with friends and family (65 per cent)
- In school (65 per cent)
- In local communities (64 per cent)
- In the workplace (61 per cent)
Two-thirds (64 per cent) of UK adults think that an understanding of their own beliefs is important to them, while over half (57 per cent) agree that this understanding has a positive impact on their wellbeing
Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of the UK adult population think that it is important that RE is part of the school curriculum today
Two-thirds (65 per cent) of respondents agree that RE has an impact on people’s ability to understand each other in wider society
Almost three quarters (71) per cent stated that RE should reflect the diversity of backgrounds and beliefs in the UK today
On the subject of religious education, respondents agreed that its role is:
- To help young people gain a better understanding of their own beliefs (69 per cent)
- To foster the mutual understanding of different beliefs among young people (71 per cent)
- To provide young people with the opportunity to learn more about other people, beliefs, worldviews, and cultures (73 per cent)
- To encourage young people to openly discuss their beliefs with others (69 per cent)
- To help young people critically evaluate their own beliefs (65 per cent)
Kathryn Wright, CEO of Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, said: “Over the past fifty years, Britain’s religious and cultural landscape has changed dramatically, with a decline in affiliation to some of the major religious traditions, an increase in others, and a rise in non-religious spiritual traditions.
“More than ever, everyone has a unique, personal view of the world, some religious, some non-religious, and often a complex combination of both. This research shows that people value an understanding of those complex worldviews in all aspects of their daily lives.
“It also highlights the value of good religious education in equipping young people with the knowledge they need to interact with others who have different perspectives. It has a vital role to play in ensuring young people receive a balanced education, in creating a more cohesive society, and supporting a vibrant economy by preparing employees and future business leaders for the globalised workplace.”
Source: Culham St Gabriel’s Trust