Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

NI tops creationist belief survey

Charles Darwin
Darwinian theories are believed by some to dispel the need for God

Northern Ireland has the highest percentage of people who believe human beings were created by God in the last 10,000 years, according to a UK survey.

Theology think-tank Theos questioned 2,060 people across the UK, 60 of whom were from Northern Ireland.

People were asked their views on evolution and the origins of mankind.

A quarter of those questioned in Northern Ireland said they believed in creationism while 16% said they believed in Intelligent Design.

Theos spokesman Nick Spencer said the survey found many people had inconsistent views.

"The overall picture in the UK is that about one in four are convinced evolutionists, while one in five people are convinced in their opposition to evolution - half of whom are creationists and half who believe in intelligent design," he said.

"There is a big grey area in the middle of people who are inclined towards evolution but who are also hedging their bets."

Cecil Andrews of fundamentalist church Take Heed Ministries said he was not surprised that Creationism was so prevalent in Northern Ireland.

"This little province has been blessed with a great biblical heritage and I think that's reflected in the results of this survey," he said.

Church of Ireland lay preacher Graham Nevin said Christianity in Northern Ireland "tended to be quite conservative".

"What does surprise me is that 25% of people in Northern Ireland had given any thought to where the world came from," he said.

The report, Faith and Darwin, was published by Theos ahead of a major conference on Tuesday in Rome on religion and science.

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