What Do Americans Believe In? (Spoiler Alert: "Evolution" And "Ghosts" Are Neck And Neck)
Perhaps it is because the prevalent theme of the past five years has been the ascent of central planning in the name of the Bernanke wealth effect, headed by Saint Ben himself, that has forced Americans to reassess, and moderate, their belief in "conventional" topics such as god, miracles and heaven. According to a new Harris Poll while a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults do believe in God, this belief is in decline when compared to previous years as just over four in five (82%) expressed a belief in God in 2005, 2007 and 2009.
Also, while majorities also believe in miracles (72%, down from 79% in 2005), heaven (68%, down from 75%), that Jesus is God or the Son of God (68%, down from 72%), the resurrection of Jesus Christ (65%, down from 70%), the survival of the soul after death (64%, down from 69%), the devil, hell (both at 58%, down from 62%) and the Virgin birth (57%, down from 60%), these are all down from previous Harris Polls. Belief in Darwin's theory of evolution, however, while well below levels recorded for belief in God, miracles and heaven, is up in comparison to 2005 findings (47%, up from 42%).
There is good news: the ascent of the mandarin of Marriner Eccles to the pinnacle of Keynesian socio-economic "religion" has also to increased the number of people who believe in Darwin's theory of evolution.... to just under half of all Americans. While well below levels recorded for belief in God, miracles and heaven, is up in comparison to 2005 findings (47%, up from 42%). The bad news is that nearly the same amount of Americans who believe in evolution also believe in ghosts: according to the Harris poll 42% of Americans believe in ghosts, 36% each believe in creationism and UFOs, 29% believe in astrology, 26% believe in witches and 24% believe in reincarnation - that they were once another person.
In summary, this is what Americans believe in:
The list above broken down by generation and political affiliation:
How certain are Americans in the existence of god:
What is the gender of god:
The Bible, the Torah, or the Koran: which book captures the word of god.
Finally, how religious do Americans see themselves as:
Some additional color from Harris:
Generational & political divides
Echo Boomers are less likely than their counterparts in all older generations to express belief in God (64% Echo Boomers, 75% Gen Xers, 81% Baby Boomers, 83% Matures), miracles (65%, 74%, 76% and 78%, respectively), that Jesus is God or the Son of God (58%, 67%, 74% and 75%, respectively) and angels (59%, 71%, 73% and 68%, respectively.
On the other end of the generational spectrum, Matures are far less likely than any other generation to express belief in ghosts (44% Echo Boomers, 46% Gen Xers, 46% Baby Boomers, 24% Matures), witches (27%, 29%, 28% and 18%, respectively) and reincarnation (27%, 25%, 23% and 13%, respectively).
Turning to the political spectrum, Democrats and Independents show similar levels of belief in most of the tested concepts, with Republicans consistently more likely than either group to express belief in those concepts aligned with the Judeo-Christian belief system; Republicans are less likely than either group to express belief in Darwin's theory of evolution (36% Republicans, 52% Democrats, 51% Independents).
Absolute certainty that there is a God down vs. 10 years ago
In a separate line of questioning, focused on Americans' degree of certainty that there is or is not a God, two-thirds of Americans (68%) indicate being either absolutely or somewhat certain that there is a God, while 54% specify being absolutely certain; these figures represent drops of 11 and 12 percentage points, respectively, from 2003 testing, where combined certainty was at 79% and absolute certainty was at 66%.
Meanwhile, combined belief that there is no God (16%) and uncertainty as to whether or not there is a God (also 16%) are both up from 2003 findings (when these levels were 9% and 12%, respectively).
Outside of specific religious samples, the groups most likely to be absolutely certain there is a God include blacks (70%), Republicans (65%), Matures (62%) and Baby Boomers (60%), Southerners (61%) and Midwesterners (58%), and those with a high school education or less (60%).
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