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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 December 2007, 00:24 GMT
UK 'lacking nativity knowledge'
Nativity scene
Only 12% of people could answer all four questions
More than a quarter of adults in Britain do not know where Jesus was born, a survey has suggested.

The poll found that 27% of people were unable to identify Bethlehem as his birthplace, rising to 36% of people aged between 18 and 24.

The poll, for public theology think tank Theos, also found 27% did not know who told Mary she would have a son.

Last week a Sunday Telegraph survey suggested only one in five schools is planning a traditional nativity play.

The majority of the 1,015 adults questioned, 52%, could not name John the Baptist as Jesus's cousin.

It is a sad example of our modern society. I am not a religious person but there are certain things that you would simply expect people to know
Jonathan Redgrave, Lyme Regis

When asked where Joseph, Mary and Jesus went to escape from King Herod - which was Egypt - more than three quarters of people, 78%, gave the wrong answer.

The majority, 52%, thought they escaped to Nazareth.

'Cultural bloodstream'

Only 12% of adults could answer all four questions about the Christmas story correctly.

Theos said the findings showed the Christmas story was still "very much" in the "cultural bloodstream" of the nation.

Paul Woolley, director of Theos, said: "The fact that younger people are the least knowledgeable about the Christmas story may reflect a decline in the telling of Bible stories in schools and the popularity of nativity plays.

"No one seriously thinks that being a Christian or a member of the established church is the same thing as being British today.

"But, at the same time, if we are serious about social cohesion we can't afford to ignore the stories that have bound us together as a culture for 1,000 years."

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