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Fewer people believe in heaven and hell than Britons think, survey finds

(Pixabay/geralt)Ipsos MORI has conducted a study that highlights the inaccuracy of the online community's perception about key issues, including belief about Heaven, Hell and God.

Not as many people believe in heaven and hell as British people think, according to a new survey that highlights the inaccuracy of the online community's perception of key global issues.

According to a study conducted by Ipsos MORI, British people have guessed that 45 percent of people believe in Heaven and 38 percent believe in Hell.

However, representative surveys have shown only 32 percent actually believe in Heaven and only 21 percent think that there is a hell.

The report has shown that Britons are more accurate in their guesses at belief in God. The average guess was that 43 percent of British people believe in God, when 39 percent actually do.

On terrorism, only 15 percent of Britons have correctly guessed that deaths from terror attacks were lower between 2002–2016 than they were between 1985–2000. Forty-seven percent believe that deaths from terrorism were higher over the last 15 years and 29 percent guessed they were about the same, although actual figures have shown they were significantly lower, down from over 300 to 62.

The findings of the survey, titled "Perils of Perception Survey 2017," were based on 29,133 interviews conducted in 38 countries between Sept. 28 and Oct. 19.

In Japan, people have guessed that 42 percent believe in Heaven when figures show only 19 percent actually do.

The pattern is reversed in South Africa, where the average guess is that 67 percent believe in Heaven, but survey results show the actual figure is 84 percent.

A similar pattern of significant errors in both directions is repeated in other countries. In Spain, the average guess was that 43 percent of Spaniards believe in Hell when only 19 percent actually do.

Belief in God was also split in some countries, such as Sweden, where people think that 37 percent believe in God, when the actual figure is 22 percent.

Sweden, however, is listed as having the most accurate perceptions about key global issues and the features of the population, followed by Norway and Denmark. South Africa is the most inaccurate, with Brazil and the Philippines also high up on the list.

The survey also found that inaccuracies in people's perception of other issues such as teenage pregnancy, murder rate, suicide, alcohol use and health.

"Across all 38 countries in the study, each population gets a lot wrong. We are often most incorrect on factors that are widely discussed in the media, such as deaths from terrorism, murder rates, immigration and teenage pregnancy," Bobby Duffy, managing director of Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute said, according to Sputnik News.

Duffy surmised that people have negative perceptions about key issues because "we overestimate what we worry about: the more we see coverage of an issue, the more prevalent we think it is, especially if that coverage is frightening or threatening."

"Our brains process negative information differently — it sticks with us and affects how we see realities," he added.

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