Post-religion poll finds most 'have spiritual beliefs'

Despite the falling popularity of organised religion, most people in the UK still believe in the power of spiritual forces, research suggests.

A study for the Christian think tank Theos recorded 77% as believing some things could not be explained by science or any other means.

Among the other findings, 8% said they or someone they knew had experienced a miracle, while one in four expressed a belief in angels.

ComRes surveyed just over 2,000 people.

"The study appears to confirm that, despite a steady decline in congregations and in formal religious belief, a sense of the spiritual remains strong in Britain," said the BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott.

'Post-religious Britain'

Only a quarter of those questioned thought spiritual forces had no influence on Earth.

And almost two-thirds of those who identified themselves as Christians thought such spiritual forces could influence people's thoughts or the natural world.

More than a third of the non-religious shared that belief.

Between 2001 and 2011, the proportion of people in England and Wales identifying themselves as Christian fell from 72% to 59%.

In the last census a quarter of the population said they had no religion - up from 15% 10 years earlier.

"Some secularists have concluded from these trends that over recent decades Britain has become more secular, or more sceptical, or more rational," says Theos in its "belief in post-religious Britain" report.

"But the picture is actually very different - more complex and more interesting - than that."