"John Humphrys has commissioned a poll from Yougov to help him sell his new book, In God We Doubt. It shows that 16% of the 2,200 people who responded defined themselves as atheists, 9% agnostics, 28% said they believed in God and 26% said they believed in some undefined “something”.An excellent comment!
That comes to a total of 79%. The article reporting the poll didn’t say where the other 21% stood on the belief/non-belief spectrum.
42% thought religion harmful, a statistic which Humphrys explains away with a remark so obvious one wonders why he bothered to make it: “One reason might be the publicity attracted by a handful of mad mullahs and their hate-filled rhetoric.”
And when spokespeople for the 35% who don’t believe begin to emerge – people like Richard Dawkins, Peter Hitchens, AC Grayling and others – they are denounced from the pulpits and the newspaper columns as “fanatics” and “extremists”. There is a positive library of newspaper articles accumulating expressing this opinion.
What started out as a campaign by fundamentalist Christians to make the word “atheist” into a term of abuse, which could not be uttered without the addition of an adjective such as “extremist” or “fundamentalist”, has now been taken up big time by the establishment intelligentsia who have never been able to shake off their childhood indoctrination. It’s clear they feel guilty when they even try."
Terry Sanderson, National Secular Society, 7. September 2007