Atheists & Agnostics More Likely to Condone Morally Questionable Activities.


A 2001 Barna Group study, “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. 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 say that such relations are morally acceptable (25%).


10 responses to “Atheists & Agnostics More Likely to Condone Morally Questionable Activities.

  1. Title does not match the post. The title infers that atheists are more likely to morally bad activities yet the post is about opinions in a survey. The two do not directly correlate. Interesting that 20% of BA Christians think drunkenness is acceptable. Does that make them drunkards?

    In the same way that saying homosexually is morally acceptable does not make the respondent homosexual, none of the other responses make them more likely to commit a morally bad action.

  2. Erm… “Atheists more likely not to buy into Christian morality”. Yes? Is that a surprise now? And calling “engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality” “morally bad” only shows us what kind of people did this study (and thus, why the value oft his “study” can be considered zero).

    • 1. The study proves what moral studies students have claimed for years. “Ideas have consequences,” to borrow from Richard Weaver.
      2 It was a question and not loaded, Twisted. The author assumes the respondent can make distinguish between a proposition and a question.

  3. The study’s actual title, “Practical Outcomes Replace Biblical Principles As the Moral Standard” was far better.

    It’s too bad they didn’t ask “Is it acceptable to withhold medical treatment from a child if your beliefs dictate prayer instead, even if that child dies.” Only Christians would trip the meter on that one.

      • Unless you’re Christian Science or Jehovah’s Witness. And while you may not believe these groups represent true Christianity, they refer to themselves as Christian and would be lumped with Christians in any study that looked broadly at religious beliefs.

  4. Pingback: How Christians Should Not Treat Atheists. | James Bishop's Theology & Apologetics.·

  5. I don’t find it surprising that non-Christians are less likely than Christians to endorse specifically Christian values. But your title makes it sound like atheists are more likely to condone activities more universally considered bad, such as theft, murder, rape, or arson. I don’t think it’s fair to mislead like that.

  6. Pingback: Examining & Responding to “International Blasphemy Day.” | James Bishop's Theology & Apologetics.·

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