The good news is that a clear majority, 75 percent, of American adults say they believe in God.
The bad news is that’s down from 82 percent in 2009, according to a new Harris Poll.
(Hmm. What could have happened since 2009?)
By the poll’s measures, Christianity has been taking a hit on all fronts.
Belief in the Virgin Birth is down to 57 percent from 60.
Fifty-eight percent believe in the existence of the devil, down from 62 percent.
Belief in miracles is down to 72 percent from 79 percent.
Sixty-four percent believe the soul survives death, down from 69 percent.
Belief in heaven is at 68 percent, fallen from 75 percent.
Sixty-eight percent believe Jesus is God or the Son of God, down from 72 percent.
And the number who believe in the Resurrection is 65 percent, down from 70 percent.
The only religious belief that seems to have increased is belief in the theory of evolution, which has risen to 47 percent from 42 percent in 2005.
That’s right, I said evolution is religious belief. It’s barely science even though it appears in every science textbook in the country.
It’s untestable. The closest thing to an experiment to verify evolution has been genetic manipulation of bacteria in a lab, which really just shows that genes can be artificially manipulated. Biologists can’t even settle on one definition of “species,” so how could they hope to verify whether one species has ever changed into another?
The Harris poll also tracks other beliefs, though they become increasingly vague as you go down the list. For example, 36 percent believe in UFOs. But what does that mean exactly — lights in the sky, experimental government aircraft, extraterrestrials, midnight abductions? Similarly, 26 percent are recorded as believing in witches. But does that mean old crones huddled around a cauldron casting spells, or the local Wicca outreach group. I’ve met Wiccans, and I’ve read news articles about them, so I guess that puts me in the 26 percent. But I don’t expect to see Hermione Granger riding by on her broom anytime soon.
Its shortcomings aside, the Harris poll seems to point to a shifting of religious attitudes in the country. I and other commentators for years have been noting a trend toward atheism. There has been active and growing suppression of Christianity in this country for decades, but it has really stepped up under the Obama Administration, which has put conservatives (read “Christians”) in several Homeland Security reports now as potential terrorist threats.
Belief in evolution doesn’t automatically equate with atheism, but it seems to be a necessary condition for it. The poll doesn’t claim to track atheism, but the number of people calling themselves “not at all religious” is 23 percent, double the 12 percent recorded in 2007.
The poll doesn’t delve into issues such as government policy toward religion, but it seems to bolster the notion that the Obama Administration’s secret crusade against Christianity is bearing fruit.
That will confuse people who don’t think there is any war on Christianity going on in this country. But those who do see it will understand what danger we’re all in.