Religious Belief and Economic Attitudes – A Surprising New Survey

From Baylor University, an interesting new study of how religion and attitudes toward economic regulation interact in today’s America: The Values and Beliefs of the American Public.  According to the study, most Americans believe that God has a plan for their lives; that’s not too surprising, given levels of religious faith in America. Americans who believe most strongly that God has a plan for their lives earn less and have less education; I suppose some people would not find that surprising, either. What is surprising is this: even though they are relatively poor and lack the education that would lead to higher-paying jobs, Americans who believe most strongly that God has a plan for their lives “are the most likely to believe that the United States’ economic system is fair without government intervention.” For example, they are much more likely to believe that “anything is possible through hard work” and that “healthy people don’t deserve unemployment benefits. “  The bottom line, according to the study’s authors, is this: “In today’s United States, with high levels of unemployment and vastly expanding wealth inequality, belief in God’s plan sustains belief in the fairness of our economic system and our ability to eschew government assistance to stem the tide of our economic woes.” Worth a look.  — MLM

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