What Do Nonreligious Nonbelievers Believe in? Secular Worldviews Around the World

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van Mulukom V., Turpin H., Haimila R., Purzycki B. G., Bendixen T., Klocova E. K., ...More

PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY, vol.15, no.1, pp.143-156, 2023 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1037/rel0000480
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, ATLA Religion Database, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.143-156
  • Keywords: secular beliefs, worldviews, nonreligion, atheism, cross-cultural
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


The global increase in nonreligious individuals begs for a better understanding of what nonreligious beliefs and worldviews actually entail. Rather than assuming an absence of belief or imposing a predetermined set of beliefs, this research uses an open-ended approach to investigate which secular beliefs and worldviews nonreligious nontheistic individuals in 10 countries around the world might endorse. Approximately, one thousand participants were recruited (N = 996; approximately 100 participants per country) and completed the online survey. A data-driven coding scheme of the open-ended question about the participants' beliefs and worldviews was created and includes 51 categories in 11 supercategories (agency and control, collaboration and peace, equality and kindness, morality, natural laws and the here and now, nonreligiosity, reflection and acceptance, science and critical thinking, spirituality, truth, and other). The 10 most frequently mentioned categories were science, humanism, critical skepticism, natural laws, equality, kindness and caring, care for the earth, left-wing political causes, atheism, and individualism and freedom. Patterns of beliefs were explored, demonstrating three worldview belief sets: scientific worldviews, humanist worldviews, and caring nature-focused worldviews. This project is a timely data-driven exploration of the content and range of global secular worldviews around the world and matches previous theoretical work. Future research may utilize these data and findings to construct more comprehensive surveys to be completed in additional countries.