A new survey from the Pew Research Center, just released today, notes that 80% of Americans believe in God, but only 56% of Americans agree that God is like the one described in the Bible. Another 33% believe there’s something out there even if they can’t define it. And 10% of people are straight-up atheists.
Here are some other details in the survey worth highlighting:
1) Young people are less religious than any other group.
16% of people under 30 are atheists while only 43% accept the biblical myth of God. The rest are in some nebulous haze where they believe something, but not really, but just-don’t-get-mad-at-them. I say that’s reason for optimism!
2) The more formal education you have, the less likely you are to believe religious myths.
3) Non-white Republicans and Democrats have virtually identical religious constituencies. (But white Republicans and white Democrats look nothing alike.)
When 21% of white Democrats don’t believe in God, surely it’s a sign that Democratic candidates should stop pandering to a shrinking religious base and at least start paying some lip service to the rest of us by promoting church/state separation.
4) Even a handful of atheists believe in some higher power (whatever that means). Among agnostics, though, nearly two-thirds (62%) believe in some kind of supernatural entity out there.
Surprise! Agnostics are wishy-washy. Who knew.
The biggest takeaway from all this for me is that belief in the Bible — certainly in a literal interpretation of it, complete with a wrathful, vengeful God — continues to be on the decline, but the number of believers were so numerous to begin with that a drop in numbers still leaves them with a strong majority.
However, the future looks bright. Fewer young people buy into those myths and those numbers are sure to get worse for believers as the Donald Trump era continues.