Young people see family care as higher moral priority than religion


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Young people today think that morality means looking after your family rather than taking part in religion, a survey has shown.

But more than half (51 per cent) of the 585 16 to 24-year-olds questioned in the poll said their peers were less concerned about morals than their parents' generation.

Asked what they thought was the most important moral issue from a list of eight, 59 per cent said that looking after family was the top one.

Just over one in 10 (12 per cent) said putting others first was the most important, 8 per cent said being faithful to a partner was, 5 per cent said caring for the environment, while just 4 per cent said having religious faith or beliefs was the most important moral issue.

The same percentage listed paying taxes and playing a part in the local community as the most important, while 1 per cent listed buying ethical products as the top moral issue.

The poll, commissioned by BBC Religion and Ethics for the BBC Re:Think Festival, also asked the young people to rank the eight issues in order of importance, with religious belief voted the one that mattered the least (32 per cent).

The survey found that more than a quarter of the youngsters (27 per cent) believed that as long as businesses are not breaking the law, they should not concern themselves with ethical issues although 64 per cent thought that they should.

And asked whether they or their parents' generation was the more concerned about morals, more than a quarter (27 per cent) said they thought they were the same, while 13 per cent said they thought young people were more concerned.

The BBC Re:Think Festival will be held in Salford today and tomorrow, and includes a debate on the relationship between science and religion between Professor Richard Dawkins and the Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks tonight.