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Dec 18 2013

New Harris Poll: God Belief Down, Atheism Up

The Harris numbers make it plain:
Belief in God is on the wane
The numbers also show a gain
In Darwin’s evolution
Majorities, though, still hold sway
In seeing the religious way
But now—I hope… perhaps… some day
A different distribution

Majorities will still insist
That God Almighty does exist—
Although that ship’s begun to list;
It’s showing signs of sinking
More people now will be so bold
As question myths that they’ve been told
But now we know (cos they were polled)
There’s changes in our thinking!

Harris Interactive released a poll this past Monday, tracking various measures of religious belief in comparison to previous polls in 2005, 2007, and 2009. From their release:

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.

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%).

There’s a lot of information there–well worth a visit. I’ll just whet your appetite with this table (click to embiggen):

Good News, Everybody!

Good News, Everybody!

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Cuttlefish

    Clearly, the major cultural shift between 2009 and 2013 was… the founding of Freethought Blogs.

  2. 2
    moarscienceplz

    Hehe, don’t sprain your tentacles patting yourself on the back, Cuttlefish.
    ;-)

  3. 3
    Valhalla

    There were a few that mentioned after the last poll that it was a blip or a statistical anomaly and not representative.

    This really confirms it is a steady sustained drop that certainly seems like it will continue and shows no signs of slackening.

    I rather think a few more polls and the figures will not be so staid but will begin to the cascading effect…maybe in less then half a decade.

    As more folks become aware that a firm belief in god is not sacrosanct the numbers will go exponential in a downward direction.

    The last national census in the UK contained a bad shock for the jeebus legions, they expected a small diminution, what they got was a full blooded raw rout in the numbers, it shocked the ‘faithful’ badly and they have still not recovered.

    Well not so much the ‘faithful’ because they are more or less stunned by the modern world anyway, but the hierarchies have been, and still are, totally speechless. they have no excuses and no explanations, they keep very quite about it uncertain of what to actually say!

    But they are rather worried that is for sure and the ones that are visiting the laundry most often are the constitutional fans that have always proclaimed that the reason Parliament has 26 odd Bishops is because the UK is a Christian country and they are entitled by the size of the ‘assumed’ Christian electorate to represent them adequately in matters of state…they still say that of course but the evidence strongly points to the direct opposite and has done for some time, but now it is starting to look damned ridiculous, and folks are noticing.

    And the religious know it!

  4. 4
    daviddurant

    For interesting comparison see British Social Attitudes Survey (NatCen30) : http://www.bsa-30.natcen.ac.uk/

    Religious affiliation down from 68% to 52% in 30 years. Likely to be under 50% in the next 5 years. Non-Christian religions and catholocisim holding steady, 50% collapse in the church of england.

  5. 5
    Valhalla

    daviddurant @ 4

    It blows a massive hole in the myth that the religious use in Blighty that over 70% of the electorate are Jeebus sunbeams!
    Seems that they are using stats that are over 30 yrs old!

    That is not surprising seeing as their bronze age superstitions goes back 2000yrs with absolutely not one shred of evidence except to demonstrate folk are easily manipulated when they are ignorant, they are the easiest to foist supernatural gobbly gook on apparently….Which might give a clue as to why the RCC are packing up shop in the west, more or less, to head down to Africa and the 3rd world generally….Seems they require new hunting grounds.

    Russian resurgence of orthodoxy seems to be spilling over into the former soviet states, which have always been that way inclined anyway, but everywhere else the meme is dying a long slow and embarrassing death march to the tar pits of infamy.

    Now with this poll it seems that the US is undergoing a similar shedding of the stranglehold of religious jiggery pockery, but there is a long way to go, but going that way it is…and religious losses so far are not reversing in any conceivable numbers, it really is the beginning of the end.

    Considering the batshit insanity they are vomiting up these days seems that they are aware of the trend, they have given up on reasonable discourse obviously because now they are throwing anything and everything they can dream up in a fever into the pot to slow the decline, it is not working.

  6. 6
    david

    If fewer people believe in the G*d of the bible, does that make him less real?

  7. 7
    jenny6833a

    Why do polls always obfuscate. Why not ask, 1. Do you believe in the existance of a god or gods? 2. Do you believe that it’s possible to know whether god(s) exist?

  1. 8
    New poll on decreasing belief in god » Mano Singham

    […] should hop over to Digital Cuttlefish who has an interesting post discussing the results of a recent Harris survey that finds a decrease in belief in a god and all […]

  2. 9
    GOOD NEWS, EVERYBODY! » Pharyngula

    […] is sharing the latest poll results — we’re […]

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