A. Beliefs about religious matters

The society believes that there is a God who holds all people accountable for their actions

When a national culture includes a widespread belief that there is a God who holds all people accountable for their actions, it tends to produce individuals who act with honesty, care for others, keep their promises, work diligently, and care about the quality of their work.

On the other hand, if the culture holds the idea that there is no God, and therefore no ultimate moral accountability (as, for example, in communist nations), there is more dishonesty, more selfishness, and a greater tendency toward untrustworthiness, unreliability regarding commitments, and carelessness in work. Robbery and bribery are more common, as is considerable corruption in government, the legal system, the universities, businesses, the press, and even the churches.

The Bible specifies that all people will one day be accountable to the God who created the world. The apostle Paul told a gathering of pagan Greek philosophers in Athens that God “has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Similarly, the apostle Peter wrote to many churches in Asia Minor about the unbelievers who were treating them with hostility: “They are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:4-5).

Paul noted that when a society becomes more corrupt, with increasing alienation from God, the people seem to overflow with evil conduct (see Rom. 3:10-17). The culmination of his description of such a society is that “there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18). Rampant evil is the result of lack of belief in God and accountability to him.

Belief in God is a cultural value in which many African and Latin American societies are stronger than many wealthy Western societies.

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