Vast Majority Of Americans Still Believe In God

| by Ray Brown
Woman praying in a churchWoman praying in a church

Most Americans still believe in a higher power, according to a Gallup poll.

The poll found that 89 percent of Americans said they believe in God, while 10 percent said they didn't. The remaining 1 percent said they had no opinion. However, when presented with a third option -- “not sure” -- Americans were less sure about the existence of God.

“Not sure” is an opinion that 10 percent of Americans have, according to the poll. Nonetheless, 79 percent said they do believe.

Although at least 79 percent of people say they believe in God, that percentage has decreased since the first Gallup poll asked "Do you, personally, believe in a God?" in 1944.

At that time, 96 percent said they did. And until 1967, between 94 percent and 98 percent of Americans said they believed in God, too.

In 1976, Gallup modified the wording and asked Americans about their belief in "God or a universal spirit." With that wording, 94 to 96 percent said they did believe.

Since then, the number has decreased slightly to 89 percent, but that doesn't necessarily mean fewer Americans believe in God.

“Although the results can be taken at face value in showing that fewer Americans believe in God than did so in the past, it is also possible that basic beliefs have not changed -- but rather Americans' willingness to express nonreligious sentiments to an interviewer has,” Gallup explained.

However, another recent study conducted by San Diego State University, Florida Atlantic University, and Case Western Reserve University found that Americans were becoming less religious.

“We found that five times as many Americans in 2014 indicated that they never prayed compared to Americans in the early 1980's, and almost twice as many of them said that they didn’t believe in God,” said Dr. Ryne Sherman, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at FAU.

“The differences in religious commitment due to gender, race, education, and region suggest a more religiously polarized nation,” added Sherman. “It also appears that groups with relatively high social power are less likely to see themselves as having a significant need for religion or God in recent years.”

Sources: Gallup, Florida Atlantic University / Photo credit: Adam Kliczek/Wikipedia

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