BBC News reports a non-existent religious revival

Oct 1, 2021 by

by Freddie Sayers, UnHerd:

A poll suggested a boom in religiosity among young people — but it’s not true.

An opinion poll result written up prominently on the BBC News website this week caused quite a stir.

Young people more likely to pray than over 55s – survey” ran the headline, with data and commentary provided by the respected international polling company Savanta ComRes. The astonishing results suggest that 51% of British 18-34 year olds pray at least once a month, compared to 24% of over 55 year olds; and that fully 49% of the youngest age group attend a place of worship every month, compared to just 16% of over 55 year olds.

How surprising! There was I thinking that we were in a rapidly secularising society, with most people (52%) now claiming they have no religion whatsoever, and only 1% of the youngest age group describing themselves as Anglican, according to the most recent British Social Attitudes survey.

I wasn’t the only one to find it remarkable — commentators as far afield as the United States began weighing in. “Fascinating,” wrote top conservative David French, “young people in Britain are praying more and attending worship more than the older folks.” “Lots of people have been predicting a religious revival,” remarked Substack superstar Bari Weiss — “maybe it’s already here?”

So is there some undercover religious movement sweeping the country? Are the shy Christians the new shy Tories or shy Trumpers, eluding pollsters until they erupt into mass silent protest? Or it can be explained by the British Muslim community, which is known to be more religious?

I am sorry to say it is none of these things. It is just a dud poll. Horribly, wildly, embarrassingly inaccurate; totally unrelated to the real world. Fake news, if you will, carried and amplified by the national broadcaster.

Neither the quantum nor the trend (that young are more religious than old) are even close to being true.

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