Faith and religion in Scotland

As in any country, religion forms a vital part of the culture in Scotland. A recent census has established that the majority of the country practices Christianity. While the national church of the country is the Church of Scotland, it is important to recognize that it is not under the control of the state. Even though Christianity is the largest religious group in Scotland, there are various other religions being practised, each with their own history and connection to Scotland.

Over the years, as immigrants and travellers began to arrive on the shores of the country, different religions were established. Visitors to Scotland will also find that religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism are also practised. There are also minority religions such as Rasta, Neopagan and Bahai Faith. The census also revealed that there was a percentage of the population in Scotland that have no ties with religion, as well as groups that promote and develop secularism and humanism. Paganism is rarely found in Scotland, with Shetland being the only destination where this form of religion is common.

 

Christianity

Christianity not only has the largest following in Scotland but is also one of the oldest, with its presence here dating as far back as the second century. The Church of Scotland has played a vital role in the promotion of tolerance and has much influence on the country’s culture. Other denominations include the Roman Catholic Church, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Baptists and Episcopalians, along with Methodists, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Congregationalists.

 

Islam

Islam is the second largest religion in Scotland, with the Muslim community reaching over 90,000 people.

Hindu communities can be found across Scotland, and are represented in all areas of Scottish political, cultural, economic and working life.  The NHS has a tradition of encouraging faith or religion to be expressed, with prayer rooms and chaplains provided in every Health Boards across Scotland.

The Muslims in Britain website provides a directory of all UK masjids/mosques.  The website is intended primarily for people looking for a Temple when in an unfamiliar area.  However, you can also use the website t find your closes Temple in Scotland.

The Muslim Council of Britain and The Muslim Council of Scotland also host excellent information on the British Muslim community.

 

Hinduism

Hinduism is the third largest religion in Scotland, with the Hindu community reaching over 18,000 people.

Hindu communities can be found across Scotland, and are represented in all areas of Scottish political, cultural, economic and working life.  The NHS has a tradition of encouraging faith or religion to be expressed, with prayer rooms and chaplains provided in every Health Boards across Scotland.

The Council of Hindu Temples provides a directory of all UK Temples,  The website is intended primarily for people looking for a Temple when in an unfamiliar area.  However, you can also use the website t find your closes Temple in Scotland.

The Hindu Forum of Britain and The Hindu Council UK also host excellent information on the British Hindu community.

 

Buddhism

Buddhism in Scotland is a relatively recent phenomenon. In Scotland Buddhists represent 0.2% of the population (approximately, 12,795 people).

In Scotland there are local Buddhist Centres in many towns and cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling. There are also small groups of practising Triratna Buddhist groups in the Borders and Fife. If you would like to find out more about a group near you, please email info@edinburghbuddhistcentre.org.uk

 

Sikhism

Sikhism in Scotland includes all aspects of Sikh life and Sikhism in Scotland. Sikhs have been present in Scotland for over a century, with the first documented Sikh, Maharaja Daleep Singh, arriving in Perthshire in 1855. In Scotland Sikhs represent 0.2% of the population (approximately 9,055 people).

There are seven Gurdwaras in Scotland:

 

Judaism

The history of the Jews in Scotland goes back to at least the 17th century. It is not known when Jews first arrived in Scotland, with the earliest concrete historical references to a Jewish presence in Scotland being from the late 17th century. Most Scottish Jews today are of Ashkenazi background who mainly settled in Edinburgh, then in Glasgow in the mid 19th century.  According to the 2011 census, 5,887 Jews lived in Scotland; a decline of 8.7% from the 2001 census. The total population of Scotland at the time was 5,313,600, making Scottish Jews 0.1% of the population.

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities is the democratic organisation that represents the organised Jewish community in Scotland.  The Council represents, connects and supports Jewish people in Scotland.  The Council can be contacted on +44(0)141 6638 6411 or scojec@scojec.org