Published: 4:22PM BST 22 Jun 2009
Teenagers even say family, friends, money, music and even reality television are more important than religion.
It also emerged six out of ten 10 children (59 per cent) believe that religion “has a negative influence on the world”.
The survey also shows that half of teenagers have never prayed and 16 per cent have never been to church.
The study of 1,000 teenagers aged 13 to 18 was carried out by Penguin to mark this week’s publication of controversial novel ‘Killing God’ by Kevin Brooks.
The book is about a 15-year-old girl who questions the existence of God.
Kevin Brooks, the author, said: “I can’t say I am surprised by the teenagers’ responses.
“Part of the reason that I wrote Killing God was that I wanted to explore the personal attitudes of young people today, especially those with troubled lives, towards organised religion and the traditional concept of God.
“How can the moralities of an ancient religion relate to the tragedies and disorders of today’s broken world? And why do some people turn to God for help while others take comfort in drugs and alcohol?
“These are just some of the questions I wanted to consider… And I wasn’t looking for answers.”
The research also found 55 per cent of young people are not bothered about religion and 60 per cent only go to church for a wedding or christening.
Only three out of 10 teenagers believe in an afterlife and 41 per cent believe that nothing happens to your body when you die, but one in 10 reckon they come back as an animal or another human being.
A Church of England spokesman said: “Many teenagers aren’t sure what they believe at that stage of their lives, as is clear from the number who said they don’t know whether they believe in God.
“On the other hand many of these results point to the great spirituality of young people today that the Church is seeking to respond to through new forms of worship alongside tradition ones.”
Hanne Stinson, chief executive of The British Humanist Association, said: “It confirms that young people – like adults – do not need a religion to have positive values.
“The ‘golden rule’, which is often claimed by religions as a religious value, is in reality a shared human value – shared by all the major religions and the non-religious and almost every culture – that predates all the major world religions.”