"Give me the child and I will give you the man," the Jesuits boast. Indoctrinate a child in a faith and he, or she, will carry that faith for life. Or at least, most will.
According to the latest British Social Attitudes survey, not indoctrinating a child in a faith is even more successful. Of those brought up with no religion, 94 per cent still had no religion as adults. None of the religions came close to this retention rate. Eighty-seven per cent of those brought up in non-Christian faiths remained affiliated with their religion, but the numbers were much less for Christians with the Catholics at 62 per cent retention and the Protestants, including the venerable Anglicans, at 49 per cent.
So the Jesuits aren't 100 per cent right—in fact, only 62 per cent for their guys. A pretty poor show compared to the 94 per cent for the no-religion folks.
The survey indicated that about half the British population now belong to no religion, rising to nearly two-thirds of young people 18-24. And well over half of those who do belong never attend religious services. The number of people affiliating with a religion is steadily declining with the greatest drop among the Anglicans. Affiliation with the Church of England has halved in the last 20 years. The British, it seems, are just not very religious and getting less so all the time.