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God, UFOs and Darwin

A new Harris Poll reinforces what we knew all along. When it comes to religion, Americans profess to believe orthodox Christian doctrine--but only to a point.  Upon closer inspection, many of those polled are as superstitious and ill-informed as we feared. (Click here: Washington Times - Beliefs in God, UFOs prevail).

Here are some of the results:

"Overall, more people believe in the devil, hell and angels than believe in Darwin´s theory of evolution."

"80 percent say they believe in God; among those who attend church weekly, the number is 98 percent."  Makes you wonder about the 2% who don't believe in God but go to church anyway!

"Three-quarters believe in miracles, 73 percent believe in heaven, 71 percent say Jesus is the Son of God and 71 percent believe in angels."

Seven out of 10 say Jesus Christ rose from the dead and that the Bible is, all or in part, the "Word of God."  That's higher than I would have guessed.

"More than two-thirds - 68 percent - believe in the `survival of the soul after death' and would describe themselves as religious.  About 62 percent think that hell exists, 61 percent believe in the Virgin Birth and 59 percent say the devil exists."

"Fewer than half - 47 percent - said they believe in Darwin's theory of evolution; a third said they did not believe in it while 22 percent were not sure what they thought.  A full 40 percent said they believe in creationism, though the question did not elaborate on exactly what that term meant."  Again, I am a bit surprised by the fact that fewer than half of those polled believe in evolution.

"44 percent of the respondents said they believe in ghosts, 36 percent say UFOs are real while 31 percent believe in both witches and astrology.  About a quarter believe in reincarnation, or `that you were once another person.'"  This gives me pause when you consider that a whole bunch of people who profess to believe in the deity of Christ and his resurrection, also believe in ghosts and UFOs.

America is a very weird place when it comes to religion.

Reader Comments (6)

Why wouldn't people believe in witches? unless theyve been seduced by rationalism? Don't you believe in the spirit world? Do you think all those people are hoax-sters? Come to Africa or the DR and you can see the real deal. Theyre just demon possessed people that's all.
December 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris Lee
"Makes you wonder about the 2% who don't believe in God but go to church anyway!"

They would be the Episcopalians then.
December 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Newman
the 2% attend Fountain Street Church in downtown Grand Rapids.

"One could worship here as a Christian, an agnostic, or an atheist, as the task of organized religion is not to secure certain beliefs but to demand integrity of mind of soul regardless of belief."

unfortunately i attended a Lutheran Church overseas where communion was served by an agnostic who also happened to be a 25 year veteran missionary in the CRC. after he told me that bit of info i moved onto an Anglican church. obviously could not take communion from someone who casually shared his agnosticism on a taxi ride after church.
December 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRana
What are those public schools doing with our tax dollars!? Less than half of their alumnae believe in their most profoundly held belief (Darwinian evolution)!
December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDB
It would have been interesting to see how many believed in the Trinity. I would bet a very large minority would not know what the meaning of the Trinity, or have ever heard of it.

Americans have been trained to see their beliefs as a body of facts that do not necessarily cohere, rather than a web that interlocks.

To illustrate: I remember in high school I would ask questions in Math class about the meaning of the equations, what they were for, how it related to other subjects, and what the purpose in knowing the equations were. I would always get the answer, "just do your work and don't ask questions like that." I am not kidding. I do not do well at learning things if I do not think they have a purpose, or inform other parts of my knowledge base. Thus, I struggled through math.

That is why I think that the fragmentation of knowledge has a lot to do with the weird beliefs we see in the US.
December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBlake Reas
You can't be an orthodox Christian if you believe in UFOs? I don't see that as a sound deduction. Can you explain?
December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterQuincy

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