How 40 countries view moral issues


Wow! Predominantly Islamic countries tend to think alcohol is immoral! Stop presses!

I’d like to see how well the actual behaviour correlates with the purported views on the morality of such behaviour. Are people living up to the views they hold? For example, is pre-marital sex as rare in some countries as one might infer from the stated beliefs? Is it much more common in those countries where people say they think it is OK. Or is it common/rare everywhere without correlation to beliefs?


This is fascinating data. Almost without exception the countries where more than 50% of the population proclaims that something is morally unacceptable are also countries that have horrible living conditions.


I find it interesting that the percentage of Americans who find alcohol morally unacceptable is so low considering that the U.S. is one of the few countries on that list which actually tried banning it for a while.


I found sorting the issues by the “not a moral issue” column interesting. France and Canada have that as the leading answer in 6 of the 8 issues. Extramarital affairs and contraception use being the exceptions. Those two are unacceptable and acceptable respectively.


For the most part, pretty obvious stuff- though you have to wonder how people distinguish between “acceptable” and “not a moral issue”. It’s quite a grey area and they basically get lumped together.

You gotta love India, though:

They’re one of the most lax on extramarital affairs, divorce and contraception use but unlax about premarital sex… and 50/50 on the abortion thing. Get your kama sutra on!

Go Canada!

1 Like

Check out France! They are leading the pack (low “unacceptable score” = leading here, apparently) in nearly everything, and they are way out in front in extra-marital affairs.

Taboos are broken all the time. Simply knowing that something is taboo doesn’t let you infer anything meaningful about how often the taboo is broken.

Particularly since 44% of Russians apparently think drinking is morally wrong. It’s too bad there isn’t another question “Do you drink alcohol?” Either the numbers of teetotalers in Russia have greatly increased or a very large number of Russians drink but feel bad about it.

IIRC it’s mostly Russian men who drink excessively, so this could explain part of the results.

1 Like

“morally acceptable”, to be precise, which is different from simply “acceptable”.

Poll is obviously poorly constructed and thought out - a valid three-state field might be:

  • “morally unacceptable”
  • “morally acceptable / not a moral issue”
  • “morally required”
1 Like

I’m not sure that “morally required” is a field worth including for “extramarital affairs,” though I’m sure you’d get a few hits on it for contraception.

They did ask the French…


It’s possible that Russia’s drinkers provide a lot of object lessons in alcohol’s downsides and help inspire a sense that alcohol is downright bad, rather than morally nonsalient, in their compatriots.

It looks like divine command theory is the leading cause of alcohol being disliked; but “chewed up the livers of like 6 people I knew” probably provides some secular persuasion.

It’s possible that some of the apparent hypocrisy that people have been noting could be accounted for by the fact that the questions didn’t specify whether or not you got caught.

Sure, it wouldn’t be relevant for many of the specific items - but if your poll is to have three options, obviously the options for any thing X are:

  • doing X is acceptable, not doing X is unacceptable (morally required)
  • both doing X and not doing X are both acceptable (morally acceptable / not a moral issue)
  • doing X is unacceptable, not doing X is acceptable (morally unacceptable)

There seems to be no implication that one must be surprised at some of these results. That doesn’t make them any less interesting. This sort of comment is really obnoxious, not at all clever, and adds nothing at all to the discussion. You’ve completely missed the point.