Huffington Post UK released a religion survey with results that shocked and perplexed some Jewish Leaders.
A national religion survey conducted exclusively for HuffPostUK revealed that most Brits believed the harm done by religion outweighs its good works, shocking some Jewish leaders. Religion was seen in a positive way by only 30% of the young adult demographic (18-24), but even fewer seniors (19% of those 55-64) saw religion in a positive way. Some Rabbis believe this higher approval rating among the younger generation is reflected in their youth groups and student-led community initiatives.
While Rabbi Andrew Shaw called the figures “shockingly low,” other Jewish leaders have indicated their lack of surprise over the findings of the religion survey. Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet termed it as not exactly surprising that religion is getting a bit of bad press in light of all the atrocities being carried out in the name of God. Rabbi Shaw points to all the attention that has been focused on Islamic extremists and other destructive religious zealots, saying that those sorts of things are having a lot of impact on the perception of religion. Rabbi Shaw also believes that individuals who do not understand religious beliefs see all of the havoc being wreaked by religion and are naturally inclined to believe that religion is more harmful than not.
The religion survey, carried out as part of HuffPostUK’s Beyond Belief series, revealed that 60% of non-religious respondents were of the opinion that religion was harmful; what Linda Woodhead, a sociology of religion professor at Lancaster University, says is an enhancement of the concept that religion is “a toxic brand.” More than half of survey respondents (55%) said they did not believe that simply being religious necessarily made anyone a better person. Along with the generation gap mentioned earlier, the study contained surprising results for both the religious and non-religious alike.