Half of Northern Irish identify as practising Christians

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A survey by the Evangelical Alliance has revealed that Northern Ireland is home to many practising Christians, including many evangelicals. 

Two polls were carried out for the study - one of 1,005 members of the general public by Savanta, and another of 2,083 people by the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland. 

The study found that half of people in Northern Ireland describe themselves as a practising Christian. Among these, two in five said they were evangelical. 

Over a third (38%) of practising Catholics also considered themselves to be evangelical. 

Other findings from the study showed that over a third (35%) of people in Northern Ireland pray each week, while nearly a quarter (23%) go to church. Over one in 10 (13%) said they read the Bible on a weekly basis. 

The findings were published in the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland's new report, Good News People.

Commenting on the results, David Smyth, head of Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland said: "We always suspected that the Christian faith continued to play an important role in life here and this research confirms high levels of religious identification and practice. The findings in this report have challenged, surprised and encouraged us.

"However, we are aware that evangelicals are often perceived negatively in the media. Our research confirms this, but also affirms that when people know us personally their responses are much more positive. Evangelicals show up at church but also in their local communities and care deeply about wider society. Evangelical Christians are just like our neighbours in many respects but are understandably distinctive in many ways too.

"Our hope is that this report helps those in government and media understand us and religiosity in Northern Ireland better. Our prayer is that some might even explore this Good News God that so many people here follow."