America remains one of the world's most positive about the role of religion in everyday life, a new survey reveals. According to a global survey of the impact of religion by WIN/Gallup International, 62 percent of U.S. respondents say religion plays a positive role in the country. Subtract the 29 percent who take the opposite viewpoint and you end up with a "net positivity" of 43 percent, one of the world's higher ratings, and tied with Iceland's 43 percent net positive figure.
Reprinting the WIN/Gallup news release, the San Diego Jewish World noted the American survey results and the pollster's assessment, "This shows that the majority of U.S. respondents hold religion central to their values, something which is still reflected in the country’s politics — and something this poll would suggest is unlikely to change in the near future."
According to WIN/Gallup, "In total there were nine countries whose net scores were negative when asked about religion, with six of those falling within Western Europe — Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Of these, Denmark was the most net negative at -36 percent, followed by Belgium at -30 percent, France at -22 percent, and Spain at -22 percent."
On a global scale, the most net negative country was Lebanon at -43 percent, the firm said. The onetime tranquil center of the Levant has dealt with decades of religion-tinged civil conflict and now a raging sectarian struggle in neighboring Syria.
Majority-Muslim Indonesia was "the most positive country globally" about the influence of religion on society, WIN/Gallup reported. There, 95 percent of respondents stated faith "plays a positive role" in society.
Britain's Telegraph reports residents of the United Kingdom "are among the most skeptical in the world about religion," quoting the survey results. "Just over a third of people in the UK believe religion has a positive role to play in our daily lives, compared to a global average of 59 percent," the newspaper said.
"The survey also found education and religious belief affect attitudes to spiritual belief," the Telegraph reported. "A lower net positivity of 20 percent was recorded among people who were educated to Masters or PhD level, compared to a net score of 57 percent among those with no education."
And Novinite.com, a news agency in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, leads with the local survey response: "Fifty-six percent of Bulgarians think religion has a positive role in the society, shows a global survey of Gallup International. Twelve percent say the contrary. The results in Bulgaria are in line with the average in Eastern Europe, where 54 percent of the respondents think religion has a positive role in the country. "
The WIN/Gallup survey has been an annual undertaking since 1977, media reports indicate.
Email: email@example.com, Twitter: @Mark_Kellner
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company