People in West Lothian and Falkirk council areas do not think religion is the basis of morality

A survey of 21,000 people carried out by the publisher UnHerd and pollster FocalData has uncovered deep religious divides between city and country, with diverse urban areas home to stronger religious sentiments.
A survey of 21,000 people carried out by the publisher UnHerd and pollster FocalData has uncovered deep religious divides between city and country, with diverse urban areas home to stronger religious sentiments.

A majority of people in the Falkirk and West Lothian council areas do not agree that religion is the source of morality, according to a survey on British social attitudes.

A survey of 21,000 people carried out by the publisher UnHerd and pollster FocalData has uncovered deep religious divides between city and country, with diverse urban areas home to stronger religious sentiments.

Participants were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “all morals are grounded in religious teachings”, which UnHerd said may correspond to strength of religious feeling.

The responses were then analysed to create a model for each constituency based on the demographics of their populations. The 632 Westminster constituencies were ranked based on how many agreed versus disagreed, with UnHerd linking a higher ranking to more widespread religious belief. In Linlithgow and East Falkirk, 25 per cent of people backed the moral authority of religion, compared to 38 per cent who did not – placing it at 409th nationwide.

Across Britain, 34 per cent of people agreed with the statement while 32 per cent disagreed, with the rest undecided. Westminster North in London came in at number one, with 41 per cent agreeing with the statement, and just 29 per cent disagreeing.

The area with the least faith was Edinburgh South, where 23 per cent of residents agreed compared to 49 per cent who disagreed.

Canon Giles Fraser, rector at St Mary’s Church in London’s Newington, said it was “no surprise” that faith was more rigorous in cities, especially those heavily shaped by immigration.

This is partly responsible for the more rapid decline in Christian congregations in rural areas, he said, while immigration from former colonies returned Christianity “back to the places that first sponsored its evangelisation”.

He continued: “One familiar explanation for the religiosity of migrants is that faith is a way of maintaining a connection with the places and culture from which people have travelled.

“There may be something to this, but the bigger story is surely that the world is a much more religious place than the western secular imagination often recognises.

“If Brexit happens, and the UK is forced to face more towards a world outside of Europe, it will be engaging with a world that is far more religious than it is used to and perhaps comfortable with.”