WASHINGTON, DC – It was only a few weeks ago that the results of a survey published by the Pew Research Center reiterated that Christianity appears to be in decline in the U.S. Late last week, the Gallup company released their findings from their latest poll on matters of religion.
The purpose of the Gallup poll was to determine what percentage of Americans believe in God. Like many Gallup polls on religious matters, 1,000 applicants were asked a series of three questions.
The first question required only a simple “yes or no” response: “Do you believe in God? Eighty-seven percent of respondents replied in the positive. When initially posed in 2011, 92 percent responded in the affirmative. In the four surveys since 2012, the percentage has wavered only slightly between 86 and 89 percent.
Attempting to dig a little deeper, Gallup followed with two multiple-choice questions. By rephrasing the issues, they have, over the years, been able to more accurately determine what the people surveyed mean when they say they believe in God.
The second question asked respondents, “What about God? Is he …?
- . . . something you believe in?”
- . . . something you’re not sure about?”
- . . . something you don’t believe in?”
In this case, only 79 percent selected the first option. This question was first set forward in 2001 and again in 2003 and 2006. On the first two occasions, 90 percent agreed. By 2006, the percentage had declined to 86 percent. The rate of attrition has been relatively consistent since 2003.
Ten percent replied that they are not sure. Eleven percent said that they do not believe.
The final question offered several options. “Which comes closest to describing you?”
- You are convinced that God exists.
- You think God probably exists, but you have a little doubt.
- You think God probably exists, but you have a lot of doubt.
- You think God probably does not exist, but you are not sure.
- You are convinced that God does not exist.
This time, only 64 percent answered that they are convinced that God exists, a dramatic decline since 2004, when 79 percent said they are confident that He exists. The other responses were b) 16 percent, c) 5 percent, d) 6 percent, and e) 7 percent.
From this survey alone, it is reasonable to conclude that many people who say they believe in God aren’t really sure what they believe. That may even include those who are convinced that God exists.
Believing that God exists is simply not sufficient. The Bible warns even the demons (all of them) believe that God exists – and they tremble! (See James 2:19)
The real issue, which the survey does not address, is whether a person believes that Jesus is who He says He is; that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him. (See John 14:6) Believing that, we must place our life and our confidence entirely in Him to secure salvation from sin and gain everlasting life.
What do you believe?
To read more news on Apologetics on Missions Box, go here.
- Missions Box News, Survey: Christianity in Decline in the U.S.
- Gallup, How Many Americans Believe in God?
- Christian Headlines, 87 Percent Believe in God – but Only 64 Percent Are ‘Convinced’ God Exists, Gallup Says