New Harris Poll: Belief in God, Miracles and Heaven Declines


OK, I started on this trend yesterday, so I have a bit more to add today. Yes, the data from the posting yesterday was indeed 3 years old, and so what caught my attention here and motivated me to post more of the same is that this is based on new data – Harris surveyed 2,250 adults last month. Yesterdays posting did leave me curious to know how things might have changed during the past three years, and so now here we have a bit of an answer in this new Harris poll.

So what did they find? Basically this

New York, N.Y. – December 16, 2013 – A new Harris Poll finds that 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.

And the news gets even better, because “belief” in evidence-based science is up …

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%).

The fact that the word “belief” even needs to be applied to scientific conclusions that are solidly based upon mountains of evidence is a rather dire state of affairs, and yet be encouraged, because it is not as bad as it used to be.

Alas, there is still work to be done …

The survey also finds that 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.

Ah but you knew that it was like this even if you had no specific numbers, so that was not a surprise. Oh, and one other finding they highlighted is not really news either …

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).

Well yes, you can indeed paint me completely unsurprised with that last one.

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