The Balkan Bright Spot in God-Linked Morality

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As Americans lead decline in agreeing good values require belief in God, Bulgaria bucks the global trend.

To be moral, it is necessary to believe in God.

While this statement may be axiomatic to many American evangelicals, only three nations increasingly agree.

At the top of the list: Bulgaria.

According to a recently published survey of 34 countries by the Pew Research Center, in 2019 half of all Bulgarians said it was necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values.

In 2002, only one-third of the Balkan nation agreed.

“Over the years, the generation that was brought up in non-religious morality has gone,” said Ivan Dimitrov, former dean of theology at Sofia University in the capital city, referring to the era when Soviet-imposed atheism dominated the Eastern European country.

“A second generation is now being brought up freely in the Christian religion.”

Bulgaria’s 17-point increase (from 33% to 50%) was rivaled only by Russia (from 26% to 37%) and Japan (from 29% to 39%).

The United States, by contrast, leads the world in decline. Though 75 percent of evangelicals still agree with the God-morality link, the overall share of Americans who say the same has decreased from 58 percent to 44 percent.

Greece was the only other surveyed European nation with a majority in agreement, at 53 percent. Germany polls at 37 percent, and the UK at 20 percent. Only 9 percent of Swedes believe God is necessary for good moral standing.

Percentages are far higher in Asia and Africa. Muslim-majority Indonesia and the Christian-majority Philippines both poll at 96 percent agreement. Nigeria, split roughly 50-50 between Christians and Muslims, polls at 93 percent.

Brazil records the highest percentage in the Western hemisphere, at 84 percent agreement. But the median score across …

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