26 February 2004
The Church of England today questioned the BBC's portrayal of results from a survey of 10,000 people in 10 countries in support of the Corporation's What the World Thinks of God programme. A spokesman for the Archbishops' Council Communications Unit criticised the emphasis placed by BBC news reports on 46% of those polled in the UK saying they had always believed in God but ignoring the figure of 67% who said they believed in God or a higher power.
"The BBC has misrepresented the faith communities in the UK by suggesting that less than half the country believe. This is based on only 46% of UK respondents answering 'yes' to a question that specifically asked if they had always believed in God: a highly spurious way of defining current belief. I cannot speak for other faith communities but any committed Christian would recognise that many who hold a strong faith today may well have come to faith late in life or lived through periods where they lost their belief. No one could seriously argue that such people are any less believers than those who have believed for as long as they can remember.
"Those people would not say they had 'always believed in God'. Therefore, the poll more accurately shows that two-thirds of people in the UK have a belief as recorded in the figure of 67% who said they believed in God or a higher power."