Study suggests that Gen Z have a more balanced perspective towards the relationship between science and religion

New research has found Gen Z (57%, ages 16–24) are more likely to think religion has a place in the modern world than any other generation, whilst having a better understanding and greater acceptance of science. This compares to less than half of Millennials (47%, ages 25–40) and Gen X (47%,  ages 41–56). The data also revealed that 37% of Gen Z think science and religion are compatible, compared with only 30% of the British public and 26% of Gen Xers.

The think thank Theos has analysed data supplied by YouGov in London, UK. The total sample size was 5,153 adults between 5 May—13 June 2021, through an online survey. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Theos has analysed data provided by YouGov also found that amongst Gen Z:

  • More than two thirds (64%) agree that it is possible to believe in God and evolution—at least 10% more than any other age group.
  • 68% believe that you can be religious and be a good scientist—10% more than any other age group.
  • 79% agree that there is strong and reliable evidence for the theory of evolution and 83% are confident they understood it—more than any other age group.
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) disagree that science is the only way of getting reliable getting knowledge about the world—more than the other generations.
  • Over two thirds (62%) disagree that religion has nothing helpful to say about ethics—significantly higher than Millennials (53%), Gen X (45%) and Boomers (53%).
  • More (44%) disagree that science will be able to explain everything one day—more than other generations.

The findings are part of a new report from Theos and The Faraday Institute investigating the science and religion debate in the UK today which also included interviews with leading scientists and philosophers, including Brian Cox, Susan Greenfield, Adam Rutherford, and A.C. Grayling.

The report found that the majority—57% of the general population—still think that science and religion are incompatible. This view, however, seems to be a reaction to the words “science” and “religion”. Antagonism is dramatically reduced when people are asked about specific disciplines like cosmology or psychology (as opposed to “science”) or about specific religions like Christianity or Islam (as opposed to “religion”).

The majority (68%) of Gen Z respondents believe that you could be religious and be a good scientist—at least 10% more than any other age group.

Moreover, a high proportion of both religious and non-religious across the generations agree with scientific theories. For example, 74% of people agree there is “strong, reliable evidence to support the theory of evolution”, compared with 6% who disagree. The majority (64%) of Gen Z thought it was possible to believe in both evolution and God.

The majority (68%) of Gen Z respondents believe that you could be religious and be a good scientist—at least 10% more than any other age group.


Chris Done, Professor of Astrophysics and Theoretical Physics (University of Durham) says “I think the study shows most that there is much less of a conflict for anyone who has had to think a bit about it, whether they be a practicing scientist or a practicing member of a faith community. The idea of a problem comes more from those who aren’t either, who have just picked up the cultural zeitgeist.”

Nick Spencer, Senior Fellow at Theos says “Our research revealed that the debate between science and religion has been distorted by being viewed through a few narrow lenses—such as evolution vs creation(ism) or the Big Bang vs God. There is a far richer conversation to be had and our interviews with experts and with the general public, particularly younger people, which suggests that we are moving in the right direction.”

The report “Science and Religion: Moving away from the shallow end” has been produced from a YouGov survey of 5000 adults along with over 100 in-depth expert interviews.

To find out more about the findings of the report visit: