Hold on to your hats, Bible-Belters: Across the pond, people view non-believers as moral equals to the religiously faithful – and many think atheists are more moral, according to a recent HuffPost UK survey of more than 2,000 people. To us non-religious folks, it seems obvious that people thoughtful enough to question religion would also ponder the consequences of their actions, and develop strong ethics as a result. If only more Americans agreed.
Here’s a breakdown of the British poll results:
- More than 55% said atheists are just as likely to be moral as believers.
- One in 8 said atheists are more moral than the religions, while fewer than 6% said atheists are less moral.
- 20% of those who considered themselves “very religious” said religion is harmful to society.
- Fewer than 25% of participants said religion is a force for good.
About 60% of those surveyed identified with a particular religion (Christian, Muslim, etc.), but only 8% said they were “very religious.” Sixty percent said they were “not religious at all.”
Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, weighed in: “This survey just confirms what we know is the common sense of people in Britain today – that whether you are religious or not has very little to do with your morality. Most people understand that morality and good personal and social values are not tied to religious belief systems, but are the result of our common heritage and experience as human beings: social animals that care for each other and are kind to others because we understand that they are human too.”
Am I allowed to say “amen?”