MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Most Americans now say that it’s not necessary to believe in God to be moral or have good values.
That’s according to survey results released this week from the Pew Research Center. The latest information shows that 56 percent of U.S. adults in 2017 think that it’s not necessary for an individual to believe in a supreme being to be a good person.
The last time the survey was taken, in 2011, just less than half of U.S. adults (49 percent) thought that belief in God was not needed to be moral.
A growing share of Americans say it’s not necessary to believe in God to be moral https://t.co/rNvuFZrQQt
— Pew Research Center (@pewresearch) October 19, 2017
Researchers say the change has to do with more Americans identifying as having no religious affiliation and with changing attitudes on nonbelievers among those who are religious.
Of those who participated in the 2017 survey, 25 percent identified as religious “nones” – meaning that they describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” That’s up from 18 percent since in 2011.
Among those who do identify as religious, they were slightly more likely in 2017 than in 2011 to say that belief in God is not necessary for morality.
When looking at specific groups, such as white evangelicals and black Protestants, almost all saw a slight rise in the percentage of believers who thought that faith wasn’t necessary to have good values.
The only group which saw a decline (of about 1 percent) was Hispanic Catholics.