The survey conducted by the National Centre for Social Research showed that 53 per cent of adults have no religious belief. It also revealed there was a decline in the number of people who identified as Anglican. Out of the 2,942 adults asked, 15 per cent said they were Anglican.
Responding to the figure that 71 per cent of 18-25 year olds have no religious affiliation, Bishop Cottrell said young people are more comfortable describing themselves as spiritual rather than religious, but this often means an openness to the possibility of God ‘and often a deep attraction to the person of Christ’.
He admitted it is impossible for any Christian or any Christian leader to look at the figures ‘without a certain amount of despondency’.
But it was not something to panic about and Britain had not suddenly become ‘a nation of atheists’.
He said: ‘It awakens us yet again to the great missionary challenge we face.’