The online survey, conducted with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 US adults ages 18 and older, asked respondents to share their perceptions and opinions on the state of these values in America and in their personal lives. The full report, conducted by StrategyOne, a Washington-based market research firm, is available at www.fetzer.org.
Key Survey Findings
A Growing Desire for Love and Forgiveness
American adults recognize a need for more meaningful love and forgiveness. Sixty-eight percent of Americans agree (strongly or somewhat) that they need more meaningful love in their personal lives, and this number increases to 89 percent in their communities, 94 percent in America, and 95 percent in the world. Sixty-two percent of Americans agree (strongly or somewhat) that they need more forgiveness in their personal lives, and this number increases to 83 percent in their communities, 90 percent in America, and 90 percent in the world.
Americans Seek Greater Connection Globally
In the 2010 Fetzer Institute survey, Americans express a near-universal desire for a more loving and unified world. For example, most (61 percent) claim that if they better understood the values of people in other countries, there would be less conflict in the world, indicating a need for better understanding of foreign cultures and values and how those values align with our own. Additionally, nine in ten Americans regret that the world is too divided and apart, and 95 percent agree that we need more meaningful love in the world.
An Increasingly Fearful and Violent World
According to the survey, the belief that the world is increasingly becoming more fearful and violent is prevalent in
the United States
. Ninety-one percent of Americans feel this way, and the majority of Americans also believe that both
the United States
and the world today are too divided and apart (87 percent and 90 percent respectively).
The Complexity of Forgiveness in America
Sixty-seven percent of Americans agree that the US population is composed of generally forgiving people, but 58 percent also agree that there are instances where people should never be forgiven. The unforgiveable instances are murder (41 percent), abuse or sexual crimes (26 percent) or any intentionally committed crime (22 percent), suggesting that most Americans focus on crimes against an individual as being unforgiveable. Additionally, 60 percent of Americans believe that forgiving someone would first depend on the offender apologizing and making changes.