Speed Reads


Rich countries think it's less important to believe in God than poor ones

Barely more than half of all Americans think it's necessary to believe in God for one to be moral, according to a new Pew poll. And in every European country Pew surveyed, clear majorities said the opposite; in France, fully 85 percent of respondents said a belief in God was not necessary to instill morality.

Meanwhile, huge majorities in many African, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian countries said it was impossible to be moral without believing in God. In Indonesia, 99 percent of respondents agreed with that statement.

So what's the connection? According to Pew: money. The richer a nation is, the less likely its citizens are to connect God and morality. Interestingly, the U.S. and China were extreme outliers, as this handy graph from Pew shows. --Jon Terbush