Only half of Britons now consider themselves Christian after a "sharp decline" in religious belief over the past quarter of a century, according to a new academic study.
Researchers describe a large proportion of the country as the "fuzzy faithful" who have a vague belief in God but do not necessarily belong to a particular denomination or attend services.
However, most British people still say religion helps bring happiness and comfort, and regret its declining influence on modern society, the Daily Telegraph reported today.
Professor David Voas, who analysed the latest data, said: "More and more people are ceasing to identify with a religion at all. Indeed, the key distinction in Britain now is between religious involvement and indifference.
"We are thus concerned about differences in religiosity - the degree of religious commitment - at least as much as diversity of religious identity."
His analysis, to be published in January by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), looks at the results of 4,486 interviews conducted in the respected 2008 British Social Attitudes survey.
It shows that just 50 per cent of respondents now call themselves Christian, down from 66 per cent in 1983.