New Survey Shows Evangelicals are the Least Trusted Religious Group in New Zealand

World events and recent local events in New Zealand likely affected the outcome

A new survey released by the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies (IGPS) is gaining notice in New Zealand and beyond for its frank approach to religion and the topic of trust. The IGPS conducted a survey of 1,000 New Zealanders to ask them about their “interpersonal and institutional trust” with regards to which religions they trust the most and the least. Previous surveys were completed in 2016 and 2018, with the latest being conducted in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Those surveyed survey were asked to respond to the question of how much they trusted individuals from various religious groups including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and agnostics. Specifically, they were asked to respond based on their perceptions of individuals living in New Zealand rather than respond to the perceptions of the religions at large.

The results of the study were significant, showing people had higher levels of trust in Buddhists, Jews, and Hindus.

Following those three religions came atheists and agnostics, which had roughly three-quarters of people saying they had at least some trust and higher levels of trust. The bottom four religions were Protestants, Muslims, Catholics, and Evangelicals. World events and recent local events in New Zealand likely affected the outcome in this case, even though the “mean trust scores” were not too different between the bottom four and the top four religions.

While the study focused a lot on the trust that people have towards religions in New Zealand, there are a lot of other aspects to the data. The study looked at the concepts of trust with guns, between ethnic groups, and trust in certain government institutions that had major impacts on the economic and social areas of people’s lives.

All in all, the data is important to view in context of the whole study. Nevertheless, the data does show there is an increasingly negative view of evangelical Christians in the country, and the recent shootings have had a profound effect on the public’s mindset.


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