Atheist Britain: Half of Britons reject afterlife

Tombstone in May 2014, by Jakub Jankiewicz

Belief in life after death appears to be diminishing in Britain as half of the country now claim an afterlife “probably” or “definitely” does not exist.

Research from the pollster YouGov shows 48 percent of the country does not believe in an afterlife, compared to 36 percent which thinks the opposite, and a remainder that is unsure.

By comparison, at the end of December 2012 almost half of Britons said they did believe in an afterlife, according to a survey by the University of London.

YouGov’s poll revealed some intriguing discrepancies between various political parties, with Liberal Democrat voters proving to be the most sceptical about life after death as almost two thirds said they did not believe in.

This was followed by Labour (50 percent disbelieving in afterlife), Ukip (46 percent) and the Conservatives (44 percent).

Proportion of UK party supporters that does not believe in afterlife, by YouGov

Proportion of UK party supporters that does not believe in afterlife, by YouGovYounger people proved to more sceptical about the afterlife than their older counterparts, and more men (57 percent) disbelieved than women (40 percent), which correlates with reports earlier this year that British women are more likely to be religious.

When asked whether they would end up in heaven and hell if such things existed, half of the survey respondents expected to walk through the Pearly Gates, whilst 10 percent thought they would be meeting the devil.

UK life expectancy hopes by YouGov

For the most part Britons were happy with the lengths of their life, with UK life expectancy only lagging around eight years behind the ideal of 90.

Commenting on the findings, Anne-Elizabeth Shakespeare an analyst at YouGov, said:

“Overall British people don’t want to live much longer than they are expected to – the median age people hope to live to is 90, while 27 percent want to live forever. Men, who have a lower life expectancy the world over, are more likely to want to live forever (35 percent) than women (21 percent).”

The full survey results can be viewed here.

Image Credit – Tombstone in May 2014, by Jakub Jankiewicz