People more spiritual than religious
The Census may have revealed a sharp drop in the number of religious people but research by Theos think tank reveals people in England and Wales are still open to spirituality.
The 2011 Census found a decrease of 12% in the number of people belonging to a religious group, down to 59%.
However the new Theos report, The Spirit of Things Unseen: belief in post-religious Britain, finds that the drift away from institutionalised religion and a practised faith has not equated to Britain becoming a nation of atheists.
"On the contrary, a spiritual current runs as, if not more, powerfully through the nation than it once did," the think tank says.
The poll finds that over three-quarters of all adults (77%) and three fifths (61%) of non-religious people believe that "there are things in life that we simply cannot explain through science or any other means".
The research was carried out by ComRes on behalf of Theos and CTVC.
When asked whether they believed things in the world could be influenced by spiritual forces, around a third (34%) believed people's thoughts could be influenced by spiritual forces, while over a quarter (27%) believed events in the human world, such as something harmful happening to a person, could be caused by spiritual forces.
Nearly a quarter (23%) believed events in the natural world could be caused by spiritual forces. Only a quarter believed none of these could be influenced by spiritual forces.
The findings of the report also found that spiritual beliefs were not the preserve of the elderly but were to be found across all ages, religions and among the non-religious.