More UK adults planning to go to church this Christmas

More than 12 million people are planning to go to church this Christmas, a rise of 2 million from last year, research from the Bible Society suggests.

The survey of 1,005 people also found 31 per cent said they would watch or listen to a Christmas service on TV or radio, compared to 26 per cent last year.

The Bible Society, an organisation that works to translate the Bible into foreign languages, said the survey showed that “at Christmas time, in particular, people are increasingly attending church for spiritual succour and to find meaning in their lives”.

The survey found 45 per cent would be thinking more about the Christian message of Christmas this year compared with last year.

Of that proportion, the top two reasons cited for concentrating on Jesus at this time were the commercialisation of Christmas and needing peace in the world.

Nearly 40 per cent of those who were thinking more about the Christian message this Christmas said it was because having a faith seemed “increasingly important” today.

Last week it was revealed that fewer people consider themselves Christians than 25 years ago, according to analysis of 2008 data.

But social commentators said there may be more committed Christian believers.

Ed West, writing on The Daily Telegraph website, pointed to Evangelicalism rising in the UK among African migrants and British born Christians.

And George Pitcher, a Daily Telegraph columnist and Anglican minister, said that people are now “voluntarily and thoughtfully” signing up to Christianity.

The analysis showed the proportion of Britons who said they have “no religion” increased from 31 per cent to 43 per cent.

It suggested that the decline in “institutional religion” may be down to the fact that fewer children are being brought up in a particular religion.

Prof David Voas, who studied the data, also highlighted what he called the “fuzzy faithful”, 36 per cent of people who “identify with a religion, believe in God or attend services, but not all three”.

Prof Voas also said the declining Christian share is “largely attributable to a drift away from the Church of England”. That figure was down from 40 per cent of those who call themselves Christians to 23 per cent.

Ed West, describing his experience of an Evangelical church service, said: “Evangelicals, whether anyone likes it or not, believe, and it shows.

“Doubt and scepticism are fine things but a religious community that does not believe in its own message will wither and die, and be replaced by others.”

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