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A Growing Share of Americans Say It’s Not Necessary to Believe in God to Be Moral

The growth in the share of Americans who say belief in God is unnecessary for morality tracks closely with the growth in the share of the population that is religiously unaffiliated. In the 2011 Pew Research Center survey that included the question about God and morality, religious “nones” constituted 18 percent of the sample. By 2017, the share of “nones” stood at 25 percent. But the continued growth of the “nones” is only part of the story. Attitudes about the necessity of belief in God for morality have also changed among those who do identify with a religion. Among all religiously affiliated adults, the share who say belief in God is unnecessary for morality ticked up modestly, from 42 percent in 2011 to 45 percent in 2017.

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