A UK-wide survey has found that the majority of Britons believe in heaven and life after death.
The survey of more than 2,000 people found that 70 per cent believe in the human soul, 55 per cent believe in heaven and 53 per cent believe in life after death.
The figures have surprised those who believe British society has become increasingly secularised, because they represent a small increase over the past 50 years.
According to a similar poll conducted in 1955, then only 47 per cent believed in an afterlife.
The poll, published earlier this week, was conducted by ComRes on behalf of Theos, the public theology think tank.
Another ComRes poll conducted in February, found most British people want religion and its core values to play a central role in British public life.
Questioning over 1,000 people, the poll found that 62 per cent said they think “religion has an important role to play in public life”.
A similar percentage (63 per cent) also agreed that laws “should respect and be influenced by UK religious values”.
Responding to the latest survey, Theos director Paul Woolley said: “The enlightenment optimism in the ability of science and reason to explain everything ended decades ago.
“The extent of belief will probably surprise people, but the finding is consistent with other research we have undertaken.”