December 11, 2008

Being Good for Goodness’ Sake?

This holiday season, the American Humanist Association has launched a campaign featuring ads on Washington, D.C., buses that proclaim, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.” But a 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project found that a majority of Americans say it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values. People in Canada and many Western European countries are much less likely to hold this view, while throughout much of Africa, Asia and the Middle East there is widespread agreement that belief in God is a prerequisite for morality. For the complete 46-country comparison, see the full report at pewglobal.org.

Chart
Data from the Pew Global Attitudes Project.
Exact question wording available in the full report