VIEWPOINTS: Is belief in God essential to morality?

According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, many people around the world think it is necessary to believe in God to be a moral person (see chart below).

In 22 of the 40 countries surveyed, majorities said it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values. However, that view is more common in poorer countries than in wealthier ones.

In North America and Europe, more people say it is possible to be nonreligious and still be a moral, upright person. That’s the opinion of nearly eight in 10 people polled in Franc, Spain, Britain and the Czech Republic. But in the United States, 53% said belief in God is necessary to be moral.

What do you think about the interaction of belief in God with morality? Is it necessary to believe in a higher power to be a moral citizen, citizen, or can atheists and agnostics have good morals and values?

Is belief in God essential to morality?

5 Responses to “VIEWPOINTS: Is belief in God essential to morality?”

  1. David Scott

    David Scott

    I would challenge readers to look at the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_atheists This is Wikipedia’s “Lists of famous atheists that includes non-believers across the globe, history, and profession. You will recognize many of the names because they are some of the more outstanding people in human history. To ask or insinuate that these people are ALL either immoral or amoral borders on ludicrous. Perhaps it would be fair to re-ask the question: “Are all religious people moral?” While religion can help form a person’s moral code, it can also distort and corrupt it. Take religious terrorists for example. And finally, all morals are not good morals.

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  2. Melody L. Gordon

    Melody L. Gordon

    Belief in God is intrinsic….either you do or do not. There have been many so called moral people and groups now and through the centuries who have done immoral acts in the name of God or religion. To be moral is to know what is right from what is wrong and have the courage to stand up and do what is correct.

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  3. Lynn Heritage

    Lynn Heritage

    Morality is defined as: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
    I have many friends who do not believe in God, and most of them, are incredibly kind, gentle, caring, supporting, loving, generous, tolerant, accepting, open-minded, giving, accepting, etc.
    On the flip side, I know many people who do believe in God, and some are incredibly cruel, uncaring, close-minded, intolerant, unaccepting, selfish, greedy, judgmental, etc.
    My belief is that people are people, and with, or without, God, we have a choice of who we are as human beings and throughout our life, we behave accordingly. Essentially, we find our peace and go from there.

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  4. JoAnne Silvia

    JoAnne Silvia

    I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to believe in God to be moral, but It helps to believe in something. Maybe it’s goodness, or love, or light. Maybe it’s Goddess or Nature or Spirit. But what if all those good things are part of God? If God is big enough, then maybe we can all believe. Still, some do believe more than others, and some still need to learn more about morality.

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  5. Rev. Paul T. Stallsworth

    “Is belief in God essential to morality?” David Scott is wise to raise the question: Which morality? There are all kinds of “moralities” out there. Some promote a wonderful way of life, and some advance a degrading way of life. Is belief in God essential to a morality that leads a person to live wonderfully? Probably not. However, when a community is concerned — a group, a city, a state, a nation, a multinational association — belief in God (or religion) is probably required to sustain the community, however large or small, over the long term. The binding provided by religion helps communities to stay together and to take the higher road.

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