Data Journalist

Just four in ten Britons regard themselves as Christian, but their views on what makes a ‘good’ Christian match up perfectly with what Christians think

As Easter Sunday approaches, YouGov RealTime’s latest research for the Yahoo / YouGov podcast ‘Britain is A Nation Of’ explores what Brits think is the most important aspect of being a ‘good’ Christian.

One in three Britons think ‘kindness’ is the most important trait for being a ‘good’ Christian

YouGov presented respondents with the nine attributes listed in the Bible as those displayed by a person or community living in accord with the ‘Holy Spirit’: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’.

The trait Britons are most likely to pick is kindness, chosen by 35% of respondents. Women are significantly more likely than men to regard kindness as the most important trait (42% versus 27%).

In second place, love was chosen by one in seven (14%). One in nine (11%) prioritise goodness. Around one in twenty think faith (6%) or peace (5%) are the most important traits for a ‘good’ Christian to display.

Interestingly, one in twelve respondents chose ‘none of these’ (8%), despite the list coming directly from the Epistle to the Galatians, said to have been written by Paul, one of Jesus’ apostles.

What do Christians think?

Four in ten (39%) Britons regard themselves as Christian, the majority of whom are part of the Church of England (24%). One in twelve (8%) regard themselves as part of another religion, and one in twenty (5%) prefer not to say - leaving half (50%) who do not regard themselves as belonging to any particular religion.

Looking at responses for Christians only, it seems the general public is right on the mark with what it means to be a ‘good’ Christian. Christians are equally as likely as the general public to choose any of the given options, and slightly more likely to choose the most popular two - kindness (39% versus 35%) and love (19% versus 14%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the only difference is that they are considerably less likely to say ‘none of these’ (4% versus 8%) or don’t know (6% versus 15%).

Photo: Getty

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