God and goodness? Everyone in Pakistan see connection, most in U.S., only 14 percent in China

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Last week, the Pew Research Center released the findings of a survey that asked a single question: Is it necessary to believe in God in order to be a moral person?

Is it necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values?

Is it necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values?

Between 2011 and 2013, more than 40,000 people in 40 countries were asked to answer this question. … Some of the results aren’t surprising: Almost everyone surveyed in Pakistan, Ghana, and Indonesia said that belief in God is necessary to be a moral person, which matches the high levels of religious affiliation in those countries. Meanwhile, less than a fifth of people in France, Spain, and Great Britain agreed.

But some trends stick out. In China, only 14 percent of people agreed that faith is essential for good values. Greece was more fervent than the rest of Europe, with almost half of respondents agreeing that God is necessary for morality.

And the United States continued its tradition of defying religious patterns in the rest of the West and developed world: Compared to people in other countries with a similar per-capita GDP, U.S. respondents were much more likely to say that belief in God is necessary to be a good person.

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