US Catholics' Views on Human Nature

Human Nature Report Cover

Our first "Distinctive Catholicism" report highlights Catholics' distinctively optimistic views regarding human nature.  

Using data from a nationally representative survey, we found:

  • 43% of Catholics describe human nature as basically good, whereas fewer than 31% of non-Catholics respond this way.
  • Weekly attending Catholics are the most likely to view human nature as basically good.  
  • Weekly attending Mainline and Evangelical Protestants are less likely to view human nature as basically good than their low-attending co-religionists.

Catholics' distinctive religious optimism regarding human nature crosses many internal Catholic divisions, as it can found among self-identified traditional, moderate, and liberal Catholics. Similarly, within each generation, Catholics remain more optimistic than their Protestant peers. However, broader generational shifts are apparent as well. Younger Catholics, along with their peers in other traditions, exhibit greater ambivalence regarding human nature than earlier generations. Read this report to learn more and for a discussion of the implications of these findings for the younger generation and for our present Church.

This report, like our previous reports, can be accessed as a pdf or a virtual magazine