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Poll: Americans More Likely to Believe in God than Europeans

Americans are more likely than Europeans to believe in any form of God or Supreme Being, a recent poll indicated.
( [email protected] ) Dec 26, 2006 02:05 PM EST

Americans are more likely than Europeans to believe in any form of God or Supreme Being, a recent poll indicated.

A Financial Times/Harris Poll surveyed adults in the United States and in five European countries, measuring their religious views on various aspects.

Results showed that 73 percent of Americans believe in God or Supreme Being and 62 percent of Italians expressed this belief. The French are the least likely with 27 percent agreeing.

Among those who expressed their belief in a higher being, nearly half of Americans said they follow the same religious beliefs as their parents. The statistics were similar in Germany, Spain and France Adults in Italy (62 percent) are most likely to have the same religious beliefs as their parents. In Great Britain, only 35 percent said the same.

On the subject of religion and education, 68 percent of Italians said religion should be taught in state schools; 56 percent of British adults and Germans agreed. Adults in the United States and France are the least likely to agree with religion being taught state schools.

Although most Americans don't agree with teaching religion on campus, 77 percent of them feel children should be allowed to wear a religious sign or article of clothing at school, including crucifixes and headscarves. Only 10 percent of French adults said the same.

Responses across the six countries were more balanced when it came to celebrating religious holidays. The poll revealed that 33 percent of Americans believe certain religious holy days, not just Christmas, should be made public holidays. Similar numbers were seen among the other European countries except in Germany where 22 percent agreed.

And 40 percent of Americans, similar to those in Europe, don't believe other religious days should be officially recognized. For Germans, 63 percent said the same.

Other findings showed that nearly half or more than half of adults across the six countries feel Pope Benedict XVI has not been successful in promoting a dialogue with other religious faiths.

The majority of adults said they would not object to their son or daughter marrying someone of a different religious faith. Italians (21 percent) are most likely to object.

Views were more mixed on legislating against religious blasphemy. Among all six countries, Americans are the least likely to feel that the government should legislate against such acts. Only 31 percent of Americans feel that way compared 58 percent of Italians.

The poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive among 12,507 adults between Nov. 30 and Dec. 15.