A brand new poll was just released, showing that nearly half of all Americans do not believe “with absolute certainty” in God, and a full one-quarter of all Americans are either atheist or agnostic. The numbers reflect a large and significant drop in those who believe in God over the last eight years. The numbers of the faithful have been steadily declining over the last ten years and are at an all-time low, according to recent polls and studies.
The latest survey showed that compared to 2009, the belief in God “with certainty” dropped a significant eight percent. This is a large decline over just four years. Conversely, and some would say surprisingly, only 47 percent of Americans believe in evolution. However, this number rose 5% over the last four years, showing a possible correlation to the drop in belief in God since the last time the survey was conducted.
Those who said they believed in God “with absolute certainty” dropped by 12 percent, a large drop from a test done in 2003. Southerners, those who did not complete high school and Republicans, among several other demographic groups were much more likely to believe in God “with absolute certainty” than were other sampled groups. Republicans were far less likely than any other sampled group to believe in evolution, with only 36% of Republicans reporting that they believe in Darwin’s theory.
The newest poll, released earlier this week, supports previous research, including a study done by PEW which showed that a third of young people were not affiliated with any specific religion. PEW also released a new study this week showing that half of all Americans do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday.
In general, belief in the supernatural of all kinds declined significantly over the last eight years. The drop off in such beliefs were as follows: The Devil (four percent drop), resurrection of Jesus (five percent drop), virgin birth (three percent drop), miracles (seven percent drop), survival of soul after death (five percent drop), Jesus being the son of God (four percent drop), creationism (three percent drop), witches (five percent drop) angels (six percent drop) and heaven (seven percent drop). Belief in God overall dropped eight percent since 2005. There were two areas of supernatural belief that rose one percent each: belief in UFOs and belief in ghosts.
People in Eastern and Western regions of the US were much less likely to believe in God than those located in the South and Midwest, with differences of over 10%. As educational levels rose, the belief in God dropped drastically, with a large 23% spread between those who had high school or less education and those who had post-graduate education.
The number of those who said they were not at all religious rose 11% between 2007 and this year. According to Scientific American, the decline in belief in God could possibly be attributed to a rise in critical thinking skills. As analytical thinking rises, belief in God and religion drops significantly. Nearly half of all Americans do not believe in God “with certainty” and over a quarter of Americans are atheist or agnostic. Other studies have shown that as IQ rises, belief in religion decreases. More research is needed to determine why these traits exist and what accounts for the decline in religious belief over time.
By: Rebecca Savastio