Cross-national moral beliefs: The influence of national religious context

Roger Finke, Amy Adamczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


International surveys have documented wide variation in religious beliefs and practices across nations, but does this variation in the national religious context make a difference? Building on existing theory, we explain why religion should have both micro- and macro-level effects on morality not sanctioned by the state and why the effects of religion differ from other forms of culture. Using two international surveys and hierarchical linear modeling techniques we sort out the effects of national context and personal beliefs on morality with and without legal underpinnings. We find that national religious context, the respondent's age, and religious beliefs and practices are the most consistent predictors of the sexual morality index. For morality sanctioned by the state, however, the effects for personal beliefs and practices are attenuated, and the effects of the national religious context are no longer significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-652
Number of pages36
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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