A poll from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
is ‘the new social evil’
A CHARITY set up by an ardent
Christian to fight
slavery and the opium trade has identified a new
evil of the 21st century - religion.
A poll by the Joseph Rowntree
Foundation uncovered a
widespread belief that faith - not just in its
form - was intolerant, irrational and used to
Pollsters asked 3,500 people what they considered
be the worst blights on modern society, updating a
list drawn up by
Rowntree, a Quaker, 104 years ago.
The responses may well have dismayed
researchers found that the “dominant opinion” was that
was a “social evil”.
Many participants said religion divided
fuelled intolerance and spawned “irrational”
One said: “Faith in supernatural phenomena
hatred and prejudice throughout the world, and is
as justification for persecution of
women, gays and people who do not have
Many respondents called for state funding of church
The findings contrast with Rowntree’s “scourges
humanity”, which included poverty, war, slavery,
opium trade, impurity and gambling.
Poverty and drugs remain, but are
joined by issues
such as family breakdown, young people’s behaviour
fears over immigration.
Tom Butler, the Bishop of Southwark,
indictment of faith. He said: “People meeting
after week, for worship, support and
education in church, synagogue, temple,
mosque can not only help people build local community
teach children to become good citizens.”
However, Terry Sanderson,
president of the National
Secular Society, said he was “extremely pleased”.