13/09/2012 02:07 BST | Updated 12/11/2012 10:28 GMT

Young People And Morality: Family Love Put First Before Religion

Young people believe that being moral is looking after your family rather than taking part in religion, a survey has shown.

However more than half of the 16 to 24-year-olds questioned in the poll said their peers were less concerned about morals than their parents' generation.

Of the 584 young people polled, the most important moral issue was looking after family, with 59% rating it top from a list of eight.


Religion was voted the least important moral issue

Just over one in 10 (12%) said putting others first was the most important, 8% said being faithful to a partner was, 5% said caring for the environment, while just 4% said having religious faith or beliefs was the most important moral issue.

The same percentage listed paying taxes and playing a part in the local community as the most important, while 1% listed buying ethical products as the top moral issue.

The poll, commissioned by BBC Religion and Ethics for the BBC Re:Think Festival, also asked the young people to rank the eight issues in order of importance, with religious belief voted the one that mattered the least (32%). However many may argue that many of the important moral issues are enshrined in religion belief.


Young people rate loving your family highest

The survey found that more than a quarter of the youngsters (27%) believed that as long as businesses are not breaking the law, they should not concern themselves with ethical issues although 64% thought that they should.

And asked whether they or their parents' generation was the more concerned about morals, more than a quarter (27%) said they thought they were the same, while 13% said they thought young people were more concerned.

The BBC Re:Think Festival will be held in Salford on Thursday and Friday and includes a debate on the relationship between science and religion between Professor Richard Dawkins and the Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks.