East-West Church & Ministry Report
Vol. 12, No. 2, Spring 2004, Covering the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe

Ethics and Religion: East-West Comparison

Editor's Note: Articles in the present issue by Jan Kerkhofs, Loek Halman, E. I. Bashkirova, and Jerry G. Pankhurst provide comparative data on European and American religious beliefs and ethical perceptions. Findings are based on surveys conducted from 1981 to the present. Readers may be surprised to learn that: 1) overall, religion is a low priority in Eastern as well as Western Europe: family, friends, work, and leisure all rank higher in importance (Kerkhofs); 2) in Russian and Ukrainian homes, teaching children hard work and responsibility is the highest priority, while instruction in religious faith trails in fifth place (Kerkhofs); 3) Russians are far less likely to attend church once a month than are Belgians, who are considered to be highly secularized (Kerkhofs); and 4) perhaps most revealing, most Europeans (East and West) and most Americans view economic misbehavior and environmental irresponsibility much more negatively than "certain actions in the sexual and bioethical sphere" (Halman and Kerkhofs). For example, for most East and West Europeans and Americans, buying stolen property is frowned upon more than adultery, joyriding is frowned upon much more than homosexuality, and littering is frowned upon much more than euthanasia. (See chart, "What Is Ethical/Unethical?," p. 9.)

Ethics and Religion: East-West Comparison, East-West Church & Ministry Report 12 (Spring 2004), 6.

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© 2004 East-West Church and Ministry Report
ISSN 1069-5664

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