What People Do and Do Not Believe in


Here is a reprint off of the AP news wire-very interesting reading and implications.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new Harris Poll finds that the great majority (82%) of American adults believe in God, exactly the same number as in two earlier Harris Polls in 2005 and 2007. Large majorities also believe in miracles (76%), heaven (75%), that Jesus is God or the Son of God (73%), in angels (72%), the survival of the soul after death (71%), and in the resurrection of Jesus (70%).

Less than half (45%) of adults believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution but this is more than the 40% who believe in creationism.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,303 adults surveyed online between November 2 and 11, 2009 by Harris Interactive®.

The survey also finds that:

61% of adults believe in hell;

61% believe in the virgin birth (Jesus born of Mary);

60% believe in the devil;

42% believe in ghosts;

32% believe in UFOs;

26% believe in astrology;

23% believe in witches

20% believe in reincarnation – that they were once another person.

None of these numbers have changed much since previous surveys in 2005 and 2007.

Religious Differences

There are very big differences between the beliefs of Catholics, Protestants, born-again Christians and Jews.

Catholics are more likely than all adults to believe in: God (94% compared to 82%); heaven (86% vs. 75%); that Jesus is God or the Son of God (90% vs. 73%); angels (83% vs. 72%); the survival of the soul after death (82% vs. 71%); the resurrection of Jesus Christ (87% vs. 70%); hell (70% vs. 61%); and the virgin birth (by 74% vs. 61%).

Catholics are also somewhat more likely than all adults to believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution (51% vs. 45%).

Protestants are also more likely to believe in God (92%), %); that Jesus is God or the Son of God (91%); heaven (90%); angels (88%); the resurrection of Jesus (88%); miracles (87%); the survival of the soul (85%); the virgin birth (79%); the devil (77%) and hell (73%).

But Protestants are much less likely than all adults to believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution (32%), ghosts (33%); astrology (20%); and reincarnation (13%). They are more likely than all adults to believe in creationism (56% vs. 40%).

Born-again Christians are much more likely than Catholics or all Protestants to believe in God (97%); heaven (97%); the Resurrection (97%); miracles (95%); angels (95%); the virgin birth (92%); the survival of the soul (91%); hell (89%); and the devil (89%).

Born-again Christians are also much more likely to believe in creationism (68%), and much less likely to believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution (16%).

Jews are, of course, very unlikely to believe in the basic elements of Christianity. They are also less likely than all adults to believe in miracles (63%); heaven (48%); the survival of the soul (37%); angels (36%); hell (21%); and the devil (7%).

Jews are by far the most likely to believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution (80%) and the least likely to believe in creationism (20%). They are also less likely than all adults to believe in ghosts (10% vs. 42%), UFOs (20% vs. 32%), astrology (19% vs. 26%); and witches (8% vs. 23%).

So what?

Two “big picture” findings are worth noting:

Many people consider themselves Christians without necessarily believing in some of the key beliefs of Christianity. However, this is not true of born-again Christians.

In addition to their religious beliefs, large minorities of adults, including many Christians, have “pagan” or pre-Christian beliefs such as a belief in ghosts, astrology, witches and reincarnation.

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