School pupils believe we have souls… but they’re less sure there’s a God
Martin Saunders shares recent research about young people's understanding of God and Souls.
Over half of English secondary pupils believe they have ‘a soul’, according to a new survey. A Canterbury Christ Church University study also revealed that just over 50% agreed with the statement “I believe that life has an ultimate purpose”. However, belief in the almighty was less common in the survey of 670 pupils: only 45% said that they thought there was an actual God.
Another 45% said that they definitely didn’t believe in God, while 10% said they were unsure.
According to the Yorkshire Post, Professor Berry Billingsley’s study of 14-17-year-olds in eight English schools revealed that 54% of respondents agreed with the statement ‘I believe human have souls’. Of the remainder, only 23% actively disagreed with this idea, with the rest unsure.
Prof Billingsley - who presented her research at the British Educational Reseach Association’s annual conference in September, asked the students 43 questions about science and religion. She told the newspaper that the responses seem to suggest that young people believe there is more to their identity than what is being presented to them in science lessons.
The figure for belief in God among 14-17 year-olds is significantly lower than the national average of 67 per cent, recorded during the last UK census, which took place in 2011.
Martin Saunders is the Deputy CEO of Youthscape.