This title is a bit misleading, I think. The article is not about ethics really. Rather it is just a general overview of secularism in different places. -- Dallas
Does Secularism Make People More Ethical?
Barry Kosmin is a different kind of market researcher. His data focuses on consumers targeted by companies like Lifechurch.tv or World Overcomers Christian Church TM. The sociologist analyzes church-affiliated commercial entities, from souvenir shops to television channels and worship services.
But the most significant target of Kosmin's research is the consumer group most likely to shy away from such commercial products: secularists. "The non-religious, or Nones, hold the fastest-growing world view in the market," says Kosmin. "In the past 20 years, their numbers in the United States have doubled to 15 percent."
The director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in the US state of Connecticut, Kosmin is among the few researchers focused on the study of non-believers. This umbrella covers various groups including atheists, agnostics and humanists, as well as those who are simply indifferent to religion.
Secularists make up some 15 percent of the global population, or about 1 billion people. As a group, this puts them third in size behind Christians (2.3 billion) and Muslims (1.6 billion). Despite their large numbers, little is known about this group of people. Who are they? And if not religion, what do they believe in?
"Sometimes I feel like Christopher Columbus on an expedition to an unknown continent," says Kosmin. "For example, many believe that the US population is steadily becoming more religious -- but this is an optical illusion. Many evangelicals have simply become more aggressive and more political."
Read the rest on Spiegel.