Atheists Are More Likely To Condone Morally Questionable Behaviour, Study Finds


James Bishop| A 2001 Barna Group study called “Practical Outcomes Replace Biblical Principles As the Moral Standard conducted via telephone interviews with a nationwide random sample of 1003 adults found that atheists and agnostics in America were more likely than theists to look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable:

Illegal drug use, excessive drinking, sexual relationships outside of marriage, abortion, cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage, obscene language, gambling, pornography and obscene sexual behaviour, and engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality.

What the study found

The study also suggest that atheists seem to have significant problems with excess alcohol usage and “is considered morally acceptable among one-third of the population.” Just under half of all non-Christian adults (46%) claim that drunkenness is morally acceptable, whereas only 20% of born-again Christians saw likewise.

Foul, profane language is deemed appropriate by 37% of non-Christians, whereas 22% born again Christians saw it as appropriate. Among atheists profanity is deemed appropriate by 64% of them, and 53% of young adults also see no problem with profane language.

According to the Barna Group almost three-quarters of American adults (74%) say they are concerned about the moral condition of the nation. 41% of all adults surveyed believe that abortion should be legal in all or almost all circumstances and 55% said it should not be legal under any circumstances or only in a few special circumstances.

Americans are more accepting of homosexuality. Almost half of all the adults (48%) believe that sexual relations between consenting adults of the same gender should be legal, although only half as many Christians say that such relations are morally acceptable (25%).

As a general rule of thumb, when it came to questionably moral behaviours, non-Christians were twice as likely to approve of them as Christians were.

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