Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do only some religions appear listed and not others?

In addition to the Census categories, it was decided to adopt Interfaith Scotland‘s freely available handbook A Guide to Faith Communities in Scotland [pdf].  This handbook lists nine religions, namely: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, The Baha’i Faith, Brahma Kumaris, and Paganism. While these were the primary categories adopted to categorize religion, the option was made available for participants to self-identify as either having multiple religious identities or a predominately “other” single religious identity.

2. Why are ‘humanism’ and ‘secularism’ categorised in the belief category?

Considerable reflection was given to this topic and various humanist and secularist perspectives were consulted on the matter.  While the difficulty of placing humanism and secularism into a belief category is clearly acknowledged, on the basis of the consultations, it was felt that the definition of ‘belief‘ to include ‘lack of belief‘ and ‘philosophical belief‘ justified this categorisation.

3. What does ‘affiliated’ mean in relation to humanism and secularism?

The use of the term ‘affiliated’ was employed to denote having an active membership with either a secular and/or humanist organisation.  The term ‘non-affiliated’ was employed to denote someone who considers themselves a humanist and/or secularist but does not have any active membership with any organisations.

4. How were questions for the survey decided upon?

The questions for the survey were decided upon in consultation with people of religion and belief who tested a pilot version and a six-month ‘media-watch’ to discern topics of relevance to religion and belief communities.

5. How was the survey distributed?

The survey was distributed through a variety of religion and belief mailing lists and a range of social media platforms.  Hard copy posters were sent to libraries and community centres, alongside advertisements in local newspapers, in more rural areas.

6. Why does the number of respondents for some questions vary?

The survey received 1407 completed responses.  At times, the total respondents for any given question might vary.  This might be because a) the question was skipped by a respondent, or b) the question allows for multiple responses.  That is, the respondent was able to choose two or more options in a list or range of responses.