Do Ethical Values of Religious People and Atheists Vary? An Answer from the #WVS

I downloaded data from the 7th and most recent wave of the World Values Surveys today and analyzed items using the SPSS statistical package. I wondered whether any statistically significant variations were present between religious people and atheists on a variety of ethical values and norms. I isolated the United States, New Zealand, Japan, and Germany, finding statistically significant variations in all. Below I’ve pasted the means from the data on the United States to show these differences, which are all statistically significant.

In a nutshell, these results indicate that religious people find the following ethical values and norms to be less justifiable than atheists. The authors of the World Values Surveys asked respondents to indicate the justifiability of various ethical issues on a scale of 1 (never justifiable) to 10 (always justifiable). The ethical issues are (1) avoiding a fare on public transport; (2) stealing property; (3) cheating on taxes; (4) someone accepting a bribe in the course of their duties; (5) homosexuality; (6) prostitution; (7) abortion; (8) divorce; (9) suicide; and (10) euthanasia.

These results are relevant as many Western societies are moving away from religion and towards secularism and atheism. The “Euro-secularization” of Europe has been noted in numerous studies, leading to laws that open the doors to ethical values and norms such as these.

These results speak to the disenfranchised groups in Great Britain who voted to leave Brexit and in the United States who have shown up in droves to support President Trump’s political campaign at Trump rallies. These people want to return to their traditional, religious, conservative values.

Thank you for your time.


Haerpfer, C., Inglehart, R., Moreno, A., Welzel, C., Kizilova, K., Diez-Medrano J., M. Lagos,
P. Norris, E. Ponarin & B. Puranen et al. (eds.). 2020. World Values Survey: Round Seven –
Country-Pooled Datafile. Madrid, Spain & Vienna, Austria: JD Systems Institute & WVSA
Secretariat [Version:

3 Replies to “Do Ethical Values of Religious People and Atheists Vary? An Answer from the #WVS”

    1. This is a tiny part of a portion of that book I’ve been working on. I’ve decided to examine this much more deeply. Thanks for your kind words! Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

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