A study released June 23, 2008, found that 92 percent of Americans believe in God, including about one in five who say they are atheists.
The survey1 by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life is the organization’s second report based on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, one of the largest polls ever conducted on Americans’ religious views, with more than 35,000 adults interviewed.
The first report,2 released in February, examined the religious makeup of America.3 The second report states that 74 percent of Americans believe in heaven and 59 percent believe in hell. And a majority of people also believe that both angels and demons are working in the world, and that miracles occur today as they did in ancient times.
Politically speaking, evangelical Christians and Mormons tend to be Republican or favor the Republican Party. More than three-quarters of members of historically black churches favor the Democratic Party, as do two-thirds of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists.
The report confirmed that those who attend church and pray frequently are most likely to oppose legalized abortion and discourage homosexuality. Less division exists between Christians and non-Christians on other issues. Majorities across both religious and secular groups support more government initiatives to help the needy and the environment. Also, majorities in most religions said the United States should concentrate more on solving domestic issues and less on problems abroad.
Twenty-one percent of those polled said they were atheists but expressed belief in God or a universal spirit, as did more than half of those who said they were agnostic.
If religion and belief in God play such a vital role in Americans’ lives, why are they constantly inundated with atheistic-naturalistic, evolution-based science in the media, laboratories, and classrooms?
- U.S. Religious Landscape Survey: Religious Beliefs and Practices: Diverse and Politically Relevant. June 2008. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Available on religions.pewforum.org, accessed June 23, 2008.
- U.S. Religious Landscape Survey: Religious Affiliation: Diverse and Dynamic. February 2008. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Available on religions.pewforum.org, accessed June 23, 2008.
- Summaries for the February and June reports can be viewed here.
* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor.
Article posted on June 24, 2008.