What do non-religious non-believers believe in? Secular worldviews around the world

Valerie van Mulukom, Hugh Turpin, Roosa Haimila, Benjamin Grant Purzycki, Theiss Bendixen, Eva Kundtová Klocová, Dan Řezníček, Thomas Coleman III, Kenan Sevinc, Everton Maraldi, Uffe Schjoedt, Bastiaan Rutjens, Miguel Farias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The global increase in non-religious individuals begs for a better understanding of what non-religious 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 non-religious non-theistic individuals in 10 countries around the world might endorse. Approximately one thousand participants were recruited (N = 996; approximately one hundred 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 & control, collaboration & peace, equality & kindness, morality, natural laws & the here and now, non-religiosity, reflection & acceptance, science & critical thinking, spirituality, truth, and other). The 10 most frequently mentioned categories were science, humanism, critical scepticism, natural laws, equality, kindness & caring, care for the earth, left-wing political causes, atheism, and individualism & 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 utilise these data and findings to construct more comprehensive surveys to be completed in additional countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 May 2022


  • Secular belief
  • secular
  • worldviews
  • non-religion
  • atheism
  • cross-cultural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology


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