Is God Necessary to Be Moral? Citizens of Wealthy Countries (Like the U.S.) Say No

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Thursday, July 23, 2020
Is God Necessary to Be Moral? Citizens of Wealthy Countries (Like the U.S.) Say No

Is God Necessary to Be Moral? Citizens of Wealthy Countries (Like the U.S.) Say No


Citizens of wealthy countries are the least likely in the world to say belief in God is necessary to have good morals and values, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

The survey, released Monday, asked 38,426 people in 34 countries their beliefs about religion, God and morality. 

Among the findings: Citizens of countries with the highest GDP per person are less likely to agree that “it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values.” The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden and other Western countries were in this group.

Citizens of poorer countries, with lower gross domestic product per person, are more likely to say belief in God is necessary to be moral and have good values. Kenya, Nigeria, Brazil, the Philippines and Indonesia were some of the countries in this group.

Pew said there was a “strong” correlation between GDP and beliefs on the issue. 

“For example, in Kenya, which has the lowest GDP per capita of all 34 nations included in this analysis ($4,509 in 2019) 95% of respondents express the view that belief in God is integral to being moral,” a Pew analysis said. “By contrast, only 9% of respondents in Sweden – which has one of the highest GDP per capita of the nations surveyed ($55,815 in 2019) – say belief in God is necessary to be moral.”

The study’s findings reflected Jesus’ warnings about riches, even if every country with the lowest GDP per person wasn’t predominantly Christian. 

In the United States, only 44 percent say belief in God is necessary to be moral and have good values. Canada (26 percent), the U.K. (20 percent) and Sweden (9 percent) also had low percentages. 

Meanwhile, high percentages of citizens in Indonesia (96 percent), the Philippines (96 percent), Kenya (95 percent), Nigeria (93 percent) and Brazil (84 percent) say belief in God is necessary to be moral and have good values. 

The survey was conducted in 2019.

Photo courtesy: ©Sparrowstock


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.