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The Global G-d Divide

Across the 34 countries, which span six continents, a median of 45% say it is necessary to believe in G-d to be moral and have good values. But there are large regional variations in answers to this question. People in the emerging economies included in this survey tend to be more religious and more likely to consider religion to be important in their lives, and they are also more likely than people in this survey who live in advanced economies to say that belief in G-d is necessary to be moral. Differences occur within countries as well. In general, people who are relatively nonreligious are more inclined than highly religious people in the same countries to say it is not necessary to believe in G-d to be a moral person. Despite variances in religious observance, a median of 62% across the countries surveyed say that religion plays an important role in their lives, while 61% agree that G-d plays an important role in their lives and 53% say the same about prayer. Since 1991, the share of people who say G-d is important to them has increased in Russia and Ukraine, while the opposite has occurred over the same time span in Western Europe. In the eight Western European publics surveyed, a median of just 22% say belief in God is necessary to be moral, while in the six Eastern European nations studied, a median of 33% share the same view. Prior research establishes the European continent as increasingly secular on the whole, though among Europeans, there are notable differences between Eastern and Western countries in attitudes toward religion and religious minorities….”

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