Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
A growing share of Americans say it’s not necessary to believe in God to be moral
Source: Pew Research Center
By Gregory A. Smith, who is an associate director of research at Pew Research Center.
Most U.S. adults now say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values (56%), up from about half (49%) who expressed this view in 2011. This increase reflects the continued growth in the share of the population that has no religious affiliation, but it also is the result of changing attitudes among those who doidentify with a religion, including white evangelical Protestants.
Surveys have long shown that religious “nones” – those who describe themselves religiously as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – are more likely than those who identify with a religion to say that belief in God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality. So the public’s increased rejection of the idea that belief in God is necessary for morality is due, in large part, to the spike in the share of Americans who are religious “nones.”
Indeed, 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% of the sample. By 2017, the share of “nones” stood at 25%.
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% in 2011 to 45% in 2017.
Debates sometimes create a black and white understanding to be supported or refuted. We want our readers to have a more nuanced understanding, by reading and viewing the materials provided below:
National Geographic Video: All Knowing, All Seeing God Keeps Us Away from Crime and Sin, See the Evidence
In the following video, both speakers or debators offer several good points. But, what is most telling in my opinion is that Sam Harris comes to offer 12 minute rebuttal, at around 47 minute mark in this video, and William Lane Craig has laid different arguments for 32 minutes already, including a knock out argument in the previous rebuttal against Harris’s book and Harris does not use a single minute to refute Craig or say any thing in defense of his book, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. In fact he is unable to use all of his allotted time and leaves two minutes unused. It perhaps means that his book and philosophy may only be a hoax and he is unable to defend his book. He uses all his time in a diatribe against the God of the Bible and on the question of suffering, a mere cop out. I believe that only points we can take from his presentation are that a Compassionate God should offer only compassionate teachings and such that are of utilitarian value to humanity.
We can, of course, also agree with some of his criticism that would apply to the Bible or Christianity only, where these do not overlap with the Quran or Islam. For example, he says, “If you wake up tomorrow morning, thinking that saying a few Latin words over your pancakes, is going to turn them into the body of Elvis Presley, you have lost your mind, but if you think more and less the same thing, about a cracker and body of Jesus, you are just a Catholic.”
We have saved the above video in the Muslim Times also: