A majority (56 percent) of U.S. adults do not think belief in God is necessary for morality, according to a Pew Research Center study released Oct. 16.
This is an increase of 7 percentage points since 2011. Over the same time, those who think belief in God is necessary for good values and moral behavior has declined 6 percentage points to 42 percent.
“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 do identify with a religion, including white evangelical Protestants,” Pew stated.
Hispanic Catholics were the only group to see a decrease in the number of adherents who said belief in God was unnecessary for good values and morality – dropping from 38 percent affirmation in 2011 to 37 percent in 2017.
Overall, the religiously affiliated saw a 3 percent increase (to 45 percent) over the last six years in people who no longer feel belief in God is necessary for moral action.
Black Protestants saw the largest increase (up 7 points to 26 percent), followed by white evangelical Protestants (up 6 points to 32 percent), white Catholics (up 5 points to 57 percent), and white mainline Protestants (up 4 points to 63 percent).
The religiously unaffiliated, often referred to as “nones,” saw a 7-point increase to 85 percent.
The full report is available here.