Most adults in US, 16 other nations say belief in God, morality not always linked

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Is a belief in God a prerequisite for being a moral person?Most Americans say it is not, and majorities of adults in other countries with advanced economies agree.
Pew Research Center released the findings — that also hold true among most of those affiliated with a religion — from its Global Attitudes Survey on Thursday (April 20).
“(E)ven among people who are religiously affiliated, most do not think it is necessary to believe in God to have good values,” states the new report on questions asked in the spring of 2022. “In most countries surveyed, half or more of people who say they belong to a religion also say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral.”
“Most Americans say it’s not necessary to believe in God to be moral, but views differ by religion” Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center
Black Protestants (39%) and white evangelicals (42%) were least likely among Americans to say it’s not essential to believe in God to be moral, while the religiously unaffiliated (88%) were the group most in agreement with that stance.
Democrats and those who lean Democratic are more likely than their Republican counterparts to say it is not essential to believe in God to be moral (71% compared with 59%). Americans younger than 50 and older adults reflect a similar difference in response.
“In nearly every country where political ideology is measured, people who place themselves on the political left are more likely than those on the political right to say that belief in God is not necessary to have good values,” the report states.
“In addition, younger adults in about half of the countries surveyed are significantly more likely than older respondents to say that a belief in God is not connected with morality.”
More than 4 in 5 Greek adults younger than 30, for instance, unlink morality from a belief in God, in contrast with half of Greek adults who are 50 and older (84% compared with 51%). Substantial age differences also occur in Canada, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Although the new report focused on countries with advanced economies, 2019 Pe …

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