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Majority of Christians in UK do not read the Bible, poll reveals

(Wikimedia Commons/Hans Musil)Canterbury Cathedral: West Front, Nave and Central Tower

A new poll has indicated that a majority of Christians who identified as members of Church of England do not read the Bible.

The survey, commissioned by the Church of England and conducted by ComRes, found that 60 percent of the Church's adherents do not read the Bible. Thirty-six percent admitted that they never attend the Church's services, and 29 percent said they never pray. Only six percent said that they read the Bible, pray, and attend church on a regular basis.

Rachel Jordan, the Church of England's National Mission and Evangelism adviser, said that the results reveal "a real sense of the scale of the task ahead."

She noted that there are many surveys that measure how many people identify themselves as Christians, but she said the Church wanted to come up with a way to find out "who the most committed people are – those who themselves might be willing to take on the task of spreading the good news of Jesus in his country."

The latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, which was released earlier this month, found that 41 percent of 2,129 respondents identified themselves as Christian. Only 15 percent described themselves as Anglicans, and 53 percent identified as non-religious.

Jordan contended that there is "no point being woolly" when it comes to defining a practicing Christian, adding that it does not help in evangelism.

"We are really happy when people in this country chose to affiliate with us, identifying as both Christian and Church of England even if in practice they don't always choose to join in our churches. But this does show that we need to do more to connect with those people and explore ways to draw them them into the wider church community," she said, according to The Telegraph.

The ComRes survey, conducted in March among 8,150 British adults, also found that only 14 percent read or listen to the Bible at least once a week. Thirty-four percent said they pray at least once a week, while only 18 percent said they pray daily. When it comes to church attendance, 19 percent said they go to church at least once a month, and 14 percent said they attend at least once a week.

Anglicans were the most likely to say they do not take part in many activities which are normally associated with the faith. Pentecostalists and members of Independent or Free Evangelical Churches were most likely to report frequent practice, while those who profess to be "active Christians" reported doing the said practices at least every month.

Among the "followers of Jesus," 45 percent read or listened to the Bible at least once a week, 80 percent prayed, and 53 percent went to church at least once a month.

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