Northern Ireland's Christians should note that many secular nations are thriving without God
letter of the day: religion survey
THE recent survey indicating that Christians are outnumbered by the non-religious covers only England and Wales but, although Northern Ireland is still the most religious part of the UK, the trend here is in the same direction.
According to the 2011 census, 10.1% ticked "no religion" and a further 6.8% were "not stated". In total, this represents no fewer than 300,000 people, though it underestimates the non-religious, because many tick a particular denomination for cultural reasons.
Most Christians will decry this growing secularisation, but it will benefit society in a number of crucial ways.
Democratic states that are the most secular - such as Scandinavia, Japan and the Netherlands - are faring much better on nearly every single indicator of well-being than the most religious states - such as Colombia, Pakistan and the Philippines. Murder rates are also lower in more secular countries. Of the top 50 safest cities, nearly all are in relatively non-religious countries.
According to research by Dr Phil Zuckerman in Psychology Today (October 13, 2014), secular nations also display greater altruism, donating the highest percentage of income and supportive aid per capita to poorer nations.
Christians, Muslims and other faiths should take note of these findings. Millions of people throughout the world are good and thriving without God and our numbers are growing every day.
Imagine there's no heaven. It is easy if you try.