Thursday, November 02, 2006

42 percent are not "absolutely certain" there is a God

A Harris Poll conducted in early October found “that 42 percent of all U.S. adults say they are not ‘absolutely certain’ there is a God, including 15 percent who are ‘somewhat certain,’ 11 percent who think there is probably no God and 16 percent who are not sure.” This is in contrast to an identical survey three years ago that found 66 percent of American adults were absolutely certain there is a God.
Other findings:
  • Not everyone who describes themselves as Christian or Jewish
    believes in God. Indeed, only 76 percent of Protestants, 64 percent of Catholics, and 30 percent of Jews say they are "absolutely certain" there is a God. However, most Christians who describe themselves as "Born Again" (93%) are absolutely certain there is a God.
  • The public is almost equally divided between those who think of God as male (36%) and "neither male nor female" (37%), with 10 percent saying "both male and female." Only one percent thinks of God as a female.
  • Less than one-third of all adults (29%) believe that God "controls what happens on Earth" (this includes 57% of Born Again Christians). A plurality (44%) believes that God "observes but does not control what happens on Earth."
These are fascinating results in a country where it is assumed overwhelming numbers of Americans are Christian and strong believers in the Christian God. The dominant Christian culture has worked to smother dissenting views particularly when it comes to theological doubting and disbelief. It is in fact considered political suicide for any public figure to admit being an agnostic or atheist. Perhaps this survey is a sign of approaching intellectual maturity.

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