God or the Devil: In Whom do Americans Really Believe?

August 1, 2023
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A new low of 74% of Americans surveyed says God is "something they believe in," down from 90% in 2004, according to a Gallup poll conducted in May.

The poll also finds that for the first time, less than 60% answered yes to the question of whether "hell" and "the devil" were "something they believe in." Regarding belief in heaven, hell, and the devil, 18%, 27%, and 28% of respondents, respectively, answered directly that they "don't believe in" those things.

"Americans’ beliefs regarding God, angels, heaven, hell, and the devil have ... fallen by double digits since 2001," reports Gallup, America's most famous pollster.

Gallup data based on May 2023 polling (Gallup website)

"Gallup has used this framework to measure belief in these spiritual entities five times since 2001, and the May 1-24, 2023, poll finds that each is at its lowest point," the pollster reports. "Compared with 2001, belief in God and heaven is down the most (16 points each), while belief in hell has fallen 12 points, and the devil and angels are down 10 points each."

Gallup reports that "regular churchgoers, Protestants, and Republicans, in particular, remain largely resolute in their beliefs."

Different questions, different results

But the percentage attached to Americans' belief in God, or lack thereof, varies depending on how the question is asked, according to the pollster. In recent years, Gallup has asked Americans about whether they believe in God three different ways:

1) "Do you believe in God?" This yields the highest percentage of yes answers (81% in 2022, down from 92% in 2010).

2) "For each of the items I'm going to read you, please tell me whether it is something you believe in, something you're not sure about, or something you don't believe in."

Gallup graphic from 2022 shows Americans' declining faith using three different ways to ask about belief in God (Gallup website)

The items inquired about are God, heaven, angels, hell, and the devil.

3) "Which comes closest to describing you: you are convinced that God exists; you think God probably does not exist, but you are not sure; or, you are convinced that God does not exist?" This question has produced the lowest level of "belief" of the three, falling from 79% firm belief in God in 2004 to 64% in 2017.

The Gallup poll is only the latest of many surveys revealing Americans' faltering belief in the Creator, as well as the moral beliefs historically attached to biblical faith. A 2022 Gallup survey using the "Do you believe in God?" format found: "81% say now that they believe in God, that's down from 87% from just 2017, and is a new low in the organization's polling," WND reported in June 2022.

And a poll released in May by Christian pollster George Barna that drilled down into people's actual beliefs about Christian principles found a mere 4% of overall Americans polled possess a "biblical worldview," down from 6%, while among born-again Christians, "the incidence of biblical worldview among them fell from 19% in 2020 to 13% in 2023."

Here are some other findings from the poll, according to Gallup:

  • "Protestants are more likely than Catholics to believe in each of the five entities; however, broad majorities of Catholics still believe in each";
  • "Between 78% and 87% of Republicans believe in the five entities [God, heaven, angels, hell and the devil], while 51% to 68% of independents do. From 56% to 66% of Democrats believe in God, angels, and heaven, while less than half say they believe in hell and the devil";
  • Compared to adults over 55 and between 35 and 54, "Fewer of those aged 18 to 34 believe in each of the five concepts, but majorities profess belief in all but the devil."

In reporting its newest results in July, Gallup offered this "bottom line" from its ongoing surveys of religious beliefs: "Gallup has documented sharp declines in church attendance, confidence in organized religion and religious identification in recent years."


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