Moral decline is damaging British society and even some atheists think a loss of Christian values is to blame, according to a new survey.
Moral decline is one of seven social evils identified by a survey of 3,500 people in Britain by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).
The report also identified greed, family breakdown and poverty as blights on British society.
The study found “it was not only people with religious beliefs who recognised the impact of a decline of religion on our values”.
One atheist respondent said that a “decline in belief in Christianity has unhinged people’s moral compass”.
Many respondents were worried about individualism and the decline of community, with one remarking, “some people who live alone have more regular contact with characters from soap operas than they do with friends and neighbours”.
The abuse of drink and drugs, and the failure of political and educational institutions were also identified among the seven ‘ills’ of society.
The report also suggested a decline of traditional virtues, claiming individuals and organisations have become less honest and tolerant.
Julia Unwin, chief executive of the JRF, warned that “our unsustainable present offers an unreliable route map for our future”.
The new study comes nearly a century after the group’s founder Joseph Rowntree, a Quaker and chocolate confectioner from York, identified the seven social ‘ills’ of his day in 1904.
He listed these as poverty, war, slavery, intemperence, the opium trade, impurity and gambling.