Majority of Britains Believe Religion Builds Tension

More people in Britain think religion causes harm than believe it does good, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published Saturday.

82% of those questioned say they see religion as a cause of division and tension between people, while only 16% disagree.

Most people have no personal faith, the poll shows, with only 33% of those questioned describing themselves as "a religious person".

Despite this apparent opposition to religion, another poll out today claims that nearly half of the population plan to attend a church service on Christmas day.

Social and religious analysts say the event of churchgoing has more to do with a desire for national identity than a religious awakening.

"It seems to me that there is in the UK at the moment a higher level of interest in Christianity, prompted by the national debate about multiculturalism and an increased awareness that many of our fellow citizens feel passionately about another religion - Islam," said Jill Kirby, a policy analyst at the Centre for Policy Studies, a conservative-leaning research group.

People want to be reassured, she said, and they want to identify more closely with their own religious norms and traditions.