The vast majority of Britons think that Christian values are good for the country even if they do not personally believe in God, according to research.
Seven in 10 believe that Christian principles are still valid in today’s society, the survey found, and that view was supported by half of those who said that they professed no faith.
Moreover, 74 per cent of those questioned said that children should be brought up with Christian values and 71 per cent agreed that Christianity should continue to be taught in schools.
The poll, by an independent agency for two Christian organisations, will encourage those who argue that Britain remains an essentially Christian country despite growing secularism.
Joel Edwards, the general director of the Evangelical Alliance, one of the organisations, said that millions of people recognised the positive benefits of Christian values.
“Forgiveness, respect, hope and trust are rooted in the Christian faith and they are the antidote to a culture that is being railroaded into an individualistic, rights-orientated mentality,” he said.
Fewer people – 33 per cent – believed in the Christian idea of heaven, however, suggesting that New Age beliefs are creeping in.
But the devil and hell still exert a powerful grip on people’s imagination, with a fifth of those questioned professing a belief in both. In the poll, 27 per cent of the population said that they still regarded the Bible as a reliable guide to how they ought to live.
In nearly every category, Wales emerged as the most God-fearing part of the country, followed by the North-West.
The survey polled 2,077 members of the general public in January and was carried out by CommunicateResearch for the Evanglical Alliance, an umbrella body representing one million Christians in Britain, and Premier Christian Radio.