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Pew poll: 65% of Americans say belief in God unnecessary for moral life

Israel is an anomaly in the data with almost an even split between those who say belief in God is and isn’t a prerequisite for morality.

Belief. Credit: Pixabay.
Belief. Credit: Pixabay.

The Pew Research Center released its latest poll on April 20 on the attitudes of Americans and those of other advanced economic countries about whether faith in God is a prerequisite for being a moral person.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) said faith in God is not essential to personal ethics. Greece (60%) Germany (62%), Hungary (63%), Italy (68%) Belgium (69%) and Poland (67%) had similar percentages.

Other countries had higher proportions of respondents who see a potential for godless morality: Sweden (90%), France (77%), the United Kingdom and the Netherlands (each 76%), and Spain (74%).

Among American respondents for whom religion is very or somewhat important, 51% said belief in God was necessary for morality, while 92% of those for whom religion is not too important, or not important at all, disagreed. There were also political divides, with those on the left likelier to say morality can exist outside of belief in God, a tendency among younger respondents as well.

Israel was an anomaly in the Pew data. Half of Israelis said belief in God was not necessary for morality, while 47% said it is. Per Pew data, large rates of Israeli Muslims (80%), haredi Israelis (90%) and observant Israelis (86%) said faith must accompany morality, while those rates were lower for more secular Israelis.

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