Faith in America, 2014
** Christian Beliefs Still Strong but Decreasing
A Harris Interactive® Poll of 2,250 American adults on the Internet, taken Nov. 13-18, 2013, found that 74% of Americans believe in God and 68% believe Jesus is God and/or the Son of God, but these numbers have decreased since their high point four or five years ago.
By contrast, belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution, ghosts, reincarnation, UFOs, astrology, and witches seems to be increasing.
Of course, the historical reliability and truth of the Bible have been confirmed by more than 100 years of modern historical, scientific and textual research. For the evidence of this, please see our article “You Can Trust the Easter Story!” on the MOVIEGUIDE® website at http://www.movieguide.org/news-articles/you-can-trust-the-easter-story-2.html.
Harris Interactive®, 12/16/13
|Category||Believe In||Don’t Believe||Not Sure|
|Jesus is God and/or Son of God||68%||18%||14%|
|Life after death||64%||16%||20%|
|The Resurrection of Christ||65%||19%||16%|
|The Virgin Birth||57%||24%||20%|
|Darwin’s theory of evolution||47%||29%||25%|
Regarding the Virgin Birth, however, a poll released Dec. 18, 2013 by Pew Research’s Religion & Public Life Project found that 73% of Americans said they believe in the Virgin Birth.
Another recent poll by Pew showed that the percentage of American Catholics who consider themselves “strong” members has declined to one of its lowest levels in 38 years, 27%. The opposite is true of American Protestants, 54% of whom consider their membership to be strong, twice that of Catholics.
A poll last year by Gallup also revealed that 86% of Americans still say they believe in God, a drop of only 1%.
Gallup Poll®, May 2014
Finally, a 2013 Gallup Poll showed that 56% of Americans say religion is “very important” in their life, 22% say it is “fairly important,” 22% say it’s “not very important,” and 1% have no opinion.
– Sources: Harris Interactive® Poll, Gallup Poll®, and Pew Research.
** Religious Affiliation, 2014
Source: Gallup, 12/24/14.
The number of Americans who identify with a Christian religion dropped one percent in 2014, to 74%, down from 75%, according to a poll by Gallup released Dec. 24, 2014.
Below is a chart on Gallup’s findings.
Religious Preference in the U.S.
Protestants and Mormons continue to be more religious than Catholics, with 79% of Protestants and 87% of Mormons saying religion is important in their daily life compared to only 70% of Catholics. Also, 81% of Mormons, 64% of Protestants, and 60% of Catholics said they attend church monthly or more often. Jewish people were the least religious, with only 41% of them saying religion is important in their daily life and only 34% attending synagogue monthly or more often.
** Americans Still Believe in Jesus
The number of Americans identifying themselves as Protestant or Catholic dropped slightly, but the number of Americans believing in Jesus increased about four to five percent.
The vast majority of Americans believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which says that Jesus is an historical figure and the Son of God who died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15 of the New Testament documents):
|Belief||Percentage of Americans|
|Jesus Christ is an historical figure||82%|
|Jesus Christ is not an historical figure||8%|
|Unsure if Jesus Christ is an historical figure||10%|
|Jesus Christ rose from the dead||69%|
|Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead||18%|
|Unsure if Jesus Christ rose from the dead||13%|
|Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins||70%|
|Jesus is not the Son of God who died for our sins||18%|
|Unsure if Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins||24%|
– Source: Rasmussen Reports, 04/18/14.
** Americans Believe in the Virgin Birth
Most Americans believe in the biblical story of Jesus Christ’s birth, including that he was born of a virgin, according to a Pew Research Center poll in December.
Almost three quarters of Americans, 73%, believe in the Virgin Birth.
|Belief||Percentage of Americans|
|Jesus was born to a virgin||73%|
|Baby Jesus was laid in a manger||81%|
|Wise men guided by a star and brought gifts||75%|
|Angel announced birth to shepherds||74%|
– Source: Huffington Post, 12/16/14.
** Two-Thirds Believe in Biblical God
Two of three Americans, 64%, believe in the God of the Bible, a recent Rasmussen Poll found. Only 12% said they don’t believe in God at all.
|The God of the Bible||64%|
|No God at All||12%|
|Some Form or Essence of God||11%|
|Some Other Form of God||5%|
Of those who believe in the God of the Bible, 96% believe God loves everyone, 66% read the Bible once a week or more, 75% pray at least once a day, and 47% attend church once a week or more.
The poll also found that only 53% of those who are under 40 years old believe in the God of the Bible, compared to 70% of those 40-64, and 73% of those 65 and older.
Finally, among those whose parents took them to church, 70% say they believe in the God of the Bible but only 46% of those whose parents didn’t take them to church believe.
– Source: Rasmussen Reports, 12/30/12.
** Americans Believe in the Bible
Three-quarters of Americans, 75%, believe the Bible is the actual Word of God or the inspired Word of God, according to a new Gallup Poll last year.
|Actual Word of God||28%|
|Inspired Word of God||47%|
|Fables and Legends||21%|
– Source: Gallup, May 2014.
** Unchurched Are Less Educated, Unmarried and White
A recent extensive survey of Americans who don’t go to church regularly shows that they are more likely to have not gone to college (50% versus 45%), less likely to have completed a college degree (26% versus 22%), less likely to be unmarried (44% to about 60%), and more likely to be white (70% to 65%).
The disparity is even wider according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which reports that about 47% of U.S. worshippers have a college degree or higher compared to only 27% of non-worshippers, while 94% of worshippers have a high school education.
– Sources: The Barna Group, 12/10/14, and U.S. Congressional Life Survey, 02/17/14.
** Millennials and the Bible
A recent study of Millennials born between 1984 and 2002 reveals three “significant” insights:
- Practicing Christian Millennials maintain a high view of Scripture;
- Non-Christian Millennials hold ambivalent and even “extremely negative” views about the Bible; and,
- Millennials still prefer to engage the Bible in print
For example, 96% of Christian Millennials believe the Bible is the actual or inspired Word of God and that it contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life, though some of those do believe the Bible has “some factual or historical errors.”
In contrast to this, only 27% of Non-Christian Millennials say the Bible is the actual or inspired Word of God. Also, about 30% say the Bible is merely “a useful book of moral teachings,” while 19 percent say its an “outdated book with no relevance for today.” However, 62% say they have never read the Bible!
Finally, 81% of Millennials prefer to read the Bible in print, while 78% also say they like hearing it read aloud in church. Two-thirds, or 66%, however, admit they use the Internet to read Bible content.
The survey was conducted by the Barna Group in partnership with the American Bible Society and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
– Sources: The Barna Group, 10/23/14.
** Seven Keys to Reversing Church Exodus
A new report suggests seven ways to keep people in church, especially teenagers and young adults:
- Young churches attract young people;
- Maintain high levels of “spiritual vitality”;
- Eat together, pray together and read the Bible together;
- Keep up with new technology;
- Use overhead projectors and electric guitars;
- Attract more men to your congregation; and,
- Promote young adult ministry, programs and activities.
– Sources: ARDA, The Foster Letter, 01/10/15.
** Americans: Religion Can Answer All or Most Problems
Most Americans, 57%, believe religion “can answer all or most of today’s problems,” according to a poll in 2014.
However, 30% say faith is “largely old fashioned and out of date,” a number that has increased 10 points in the past 20 years.
The poll was conducted last May by Gallup.
Of course, contrary to what the minority say, as President George Washington once observed, civilization and good government depend on religious faith and morality, particularly biblical faith and morality founded on the Christian faith.
The Bible is never out of date; it is timeless.
– Sources: CNS News, 07/01/14.