SCOTLAND'S Freemasons have admitted that their future may be under threat because of the rise of atheism.

Senior figures in the organisation have reportedly expressed concern over the number of people turning their backs on religion, with about half the country now saying they do not attend church.

Individuals can only be initiated into the Grand Lodge of Scotland if they state their belief in a "supreme being", something at odds with an increasingly Godless society.

The lodge posted a chart based on the 2011 census on its official Facebook page, showing that people living north of the border are most likely to declare they follow no particular faith.

The page stated: "This graphic fortells of a looming problem and it is one that will be upon us sooner or later." The Grand Lodge declined to comment further, but key figures within the organisation are believed to consider the census findings a long-term problem.

Last year the male-only organisation revealed that its number of new recruits had fallen to around 2,000 today from a high of 45,000 a century ago.

The Grand Lodge of England acknowledged the concerns of its sister organisation, but said that it was more upbeat about its own future.

Mike Baker, its director of communications, said: "Our present experience is that whilst formal religious observance is on the delcine, most people still have some form of personal faith or belief system."