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70% people believe in a moral framework regardless of religion

by Cara Bentley

The poll, conducted by ComRes for the BBC's Year of Beliefs, suggests that while 70 per cent of adults agree it's important for people to have a moral framework in their lives, what people believe to be right or wrong differs greatly.

Age is most likely to define people's morality with notable differences in attitudes to the issues across the generations.

Topics included lying, taking illegal drugs, consent, suicide, pornography, the environment, choosing a baby's genes and carrying weapons, with specific results on individual issues here

Although 57 per cent had a strong sense of right and wrong, three in five of the adults who said they have been unfaithful to their partner also said it was never acceptable to cheat.

Those who were members of a religion were more likely to stick to their morals.

Graham Nicholls, director of the evangelical group Affinity, told Premier: "There are two reasons why we do what God commands us to do. One is because God commands it but the second is that I think we would argue for every single commandment and exhortation that it's good and it's good for us and it's good for society.

"I think it's good and reasonable for Christians to argue for the goodness of what God commands in terms of morality, I think there is an argument to be made, but I think ultimately, people will judge that based on their own experiences and all sorts of other things and ultimately, they need to come under the authority of God to actually say, 'I want to do that' because even if they see it as good, they may not choose to do it."

Alison Kirkham, BBC Controller of Factual Commissioning, says: "The findings of the morality survey are an important part of this, providing a snapshot of our ethics and values and what we really think about some of the most pressing issues of our time. With our age emerging as being most likely to define our morality, this survey gives a revealing insight into how different generations view hotly debated topics such as the environment, relationships and the online world."

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