Is belief in God essential to morality? That's what the Gallup organization asked of 40,000 people in 40 countries in 2011, 2013 and 2014. (Full Report)

As is typically the case, the younger, more educated and wealthier were more likely to answer no. The older, less educated and poorer were more likely to answer yes.

Nearly 100% of people in Pakistan, Ghana, and Indonesia said theism is required for morality. Less than 20% of people in France, Spain, and Great Britain said so. In China, 14% said faith is essential to being good. In the United States, 53% said yes.

Like China, the United States is an outlier. Compared to people in other wealthy countries, Americans are far more likely to say theism is necessary to be a good person. In poorer countries, people are more likely to equate ethics and faith, except for the Chinese, who are the least likely to do so.

What did the people of your country say?

Tags: God, atheism, gallup, morality, poll, theism

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It's interesting that the Chinese see little correlation between morality and faith. They are no more educated than most other ethnic races and certainly the majority are by no means wealthy. It's apparent that education is critical to the cause of eliminating religious thought. 

It's interesting that the Chinese see little correlation between morality and faith. They are no more educated than most other ethnic races and certainly the majority are by no means wealthy. It's apparent that education is critical to the cause of eliminating religious thought.

After the Communist Party took over China in the 1940s they banned temples, churches and other shrines until the 1970s when a new constitution came into play. It allowed so-called freedom of religion, but only those of domestic origin and that are under government control.

Officially, the Communist Party disallows religious from joining, but allows non-Party members to be Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims and Christians, provided the Christian churches aren't connected to any churches outside of China. (By law, a Catholic in China must look to Beijing, not Rome.)

Unofficially, there's always been Chinese folk religions (such as ancestor worship) and Confucianism, but these are unorganized, have no churches or temples, and (most importantly) are of Chinese origin. So they're not regulated much.

I think that in China you stick your neck out politically and professionally if you answer too emphatically in the affirmative when asked if you believe in God or in one of his churches.

Sound familiar?

"The Europeans are very quiet; they do not excite any disturbances in the provinces, they do no harm to anyone, they commit no crimes, and their doctrine has nothing in common with that of the false sects in the empire, nor has it any tendency to excite sedition... We decide therefore that all temples dedicated to the Lord of heaven, in whatever place they may be found, ought to be preserved, and that it may be permitted to all who wish to worship this God to enter these temples, offer him incense, and perform the ceremonies practised according to ancient custom by the Christians. Therefore let no one henceforth offer them any opposition."
-Chinese Emperor Kangxi, decree welcoming Christian missions in China, 1692

"Reading the proclamation [of Pope Clement XI to ban Chinese religion in China], I have concluded that the Westerners are petty indeed. It is impossible to reason with them because they do not understand larger issues as we understand them in China. There is not a single Westerner versed in Chinese works, and their remarks are often incredible and ridiculous. To judge from this proclamation, their religion is no different from other small, bigoted sects of Buddhism or Taoism. I have never seen a document which contains so much nonsense. From now on, Westerners should not be allowed to preach in China, to avoid further trouble."
-Chinese Emperor Kangxi, decree banning Christian missions in China, 1721

So it goes.

When answering the question I suppose a potentially hostile government could affect your decision. The important consideration is whether they were able to reply anonymously when providing their answer. 

There is Ghana, top of the list. Land of Sakawah ->aka Internet scam voodoo

There is Ghana, top of the list. Land of Sakawah ->aka Internet scam voodoo

That's fascinating. Pay a Juju priest, they give you magical powers (by eating magic eggs, used tampons, etc.) and you get to jabber some incantations over a computer before you send a scam email. 

Not so different than having ashes smeared on your face or swallowing communion wafers. 

I'm glad to see South Africa on that list, but shocked to see that our percentage is so high! 

What percentage of South Africa said yes, Teri?

It looks about 75%

I don't like the title to the lower graph. These are attitudes toward the necessity of God for morality, not just wealth and morality.

Maybe the poor just need God since they lack wealth, or maybe their need of God inhibits their prosperity. I won't myself attribute one as the effect of the other, but I do feel inclined to point out Hitchens' case that the empowerment of women yields economic prosperity, which is rather consistent with these statistics.

I do feel inclined to point out Hitchens' case that the empowerment of women yields economic prosperity, which is rather consistent with these statistics...

+1

It's one of Hitchens' most important points and one worth hearing again.

Hmmm, I wonder if GDP isn't quite the right measure for this question.  While the US may have the highest GDP, we also have an embarrassingly high rate of poverty when compared with other wealthy nations.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/04/15/map-ho...

http://www.epi.org/publication/ib339-us-poverty-higher-safety-net-w...

Just a thought, but that graph might look quite different if we put poverty rates instead of GDP on the x-axis.

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