New Survey Finds Majority of People in Scotland Have No Religious Affiliation

Dave Conner is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The hard hit Church of Scotland says it will be there for the people of Scotland in their hour of need.

The largest faith in Scotland is Christianity. However, the faith of the Christian Scottish people has been steadily declining over the years. In the year 2001, 65.1% of Scots identified themselves as Christians. By 2011, it came down to 53.8%.

The Church of Scotland, also known as The Kirk, of the classification Protestant and Presbyterian, is the national church of Scotland. It is independent of state control. In 1999, 35% of the Scots belonged to the Church of Scotland. As of now, the number has been diminished by 20%. This is according to the Scottish Social Attitudes survey.

The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey is an annual survey of public opinion in Scotland. It started in 1999. The survey is conducted by the NatCen Social Research's Scottish branch together with the University of Edinburgh's division for the Study of Government in Scotland. It is mainly funded by the Scottish government.

According to the findings of the recent Social Attitudes Survey (from July 2015 to January 2016), 52% of the Scotland people are not religious. When the survey started in 1999, this was 40%. Even though there has been a decline in the numbers of the Church of Scotland, the other divisions all holds steady compared to the 1999 survey, Roman Catholics at 15%, other Christian units at 11%, and non-Christian religious units at 2%.

The latest survey report also shows that the number of Christian Scottish people attending Church services have dropped to an all-time low, since 1999. 66% of Christian Scots do not attend any Church services. This was 49% in 1999.

In 2012, Scotland legalized gay marriage. This was opposed by both the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church. The stand of religious organizations regarding matters like this could be one of the reasons that may be influencing the religious attitude of the people of Scotland. The past years also saw a rise in Humanist wedding ceremonies.

Ian Montagu, a researcher at ScotCen Social Research said to The National that the commitment of Scottish people to religion has declined. However, the behavior cannot be generalized in terms of all the religion. It is only the affiliation with the Church of Scotland that is in steady decline. According to a spokesperson from the Church of Scotland, the situation does not come as a surprise to the Church. No matter what, the Church will always be there for the Scotland people, especially in their hour of need.

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