What Do Nonreligious Nonbelievers 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 J. Coleman, Kenan Sevinç, Everton Maraldi, Uffe Schjoedt, Bastiaan T. Rutjens, Miguel Farias

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)
    275 Downloads (Pure)


    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 theoreticalwork. Future research may utilize these data and findings to construct more comprehensive surveys to be completed in additional countries

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-156
    Number of pages14
    JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
    Issue number1
    Early online date4 Aug 2022
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Aug 2022

    Bibliographical note

    ©American Psychological Association, 2022.
    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Atheism
    • Cross-cultural
    • Nonreligion
    • Secular beliefs
    • Worldviews
    • secular

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Religious studies
    • Applied Psychology


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