Mr Birdwell writes: ‘Many Britons continue to see faith as a moral refuge from the otherwise nihilistic, dog-eat-dog values of consumerist, capitalist democracies.

‘The arguments of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens only seemed to retrench people’s religious views, with many recoiling at the perceived arrogance and dogmatism of this so-called ‘militant’ atheism.’

The report, based on an analysis of the European Values Study, found that 55 per cent of people with faith consider themselves on the left of politics compared with 40 per cent on the right.