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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,019
April 22, 2020
America's Belief in God Plunges
By Mike McManus

Although we proclaim "In God We Trust" on every paper currency, only 51% of Americans believe in a biblical view of God - down from 73% thirty years ago.

Stunningly, Americans are more confident about the existence of Satan than they are of God! Says who? George Barna, a noted pollster and Director of Research for the Cultural Research Center.

He reports that 56% contend that Satan is an influential spiritual being yet almost half (49%) are not fully confident that God truly exists. And 44% believe Jesus Christ sinned while on earth! Americans are also confused about the Holy Spirit, with over half (52%) saying that "the Holy Spirit is not a living entity but merely a symbol of God's power, presence or purity."

According to Barna's new survey, some of the largest drops in a biblical description of God in the past 30 years are among young Americans, ages 18-29 (down 26%), oldest Americans, born before 1946 (down 25%), and women (down 25%).

Only half of American adults (51%) believe in a traditional biblical view of God as the "all-powerful, all-knowing perfect and just creator of the universe who still rules the world today." In fact, faith in a deity fitting that description has plummeted from three-quarters of adults (73% in 1991) to barely half of American adults (51%).

Some 44% believe that "when He lived on earth, Jesus Christ was fully divine and also fully human, and therefore committed sins, like other people." Slightly fewer (41%) viewed Jesus as fully divine and fully human and sinless on earth, according to Barna.

Which groups are most likely to embrace the orthodox biblical view of God? It is most apt to be held by spiritually active engaged Christian conservatives (92%), born-again Christians (84%), political conservatives (70%), blacks (62%), upscale individuals - college graduates with above average household income (59%) have a biblical God view, Republicans (67%), and people 50 or older (57%). The South is the only region that has more than half of its residents maintaining an orthodox biblical understanding of God (59%).

A majority of Americans polled by Barna (57%) stated that they believe "it is impossible to be certain about the existence of God. It is solely a matter of faith." But seven out of ten Americans (71%) say they "have no doubt that God loves you unconditionally."

Further, the research revealed that two out of three adults (68%) believe God has a reason for everything that happens to them. Just one-third of the public (34%) said they "wonder if God is really involved in their life. Most people (60%) say they do not harbor such doubts.

Seven out of ten adults who possess an orthodox biblical view of God (70%) do not doubt that God loves them.

Barna reports that 30 years ago, "People spent time learning and thinking about God, reflecting on authority and truth. As our culture has become more self-absorbed, less time is invested reflecting on authority and truth."

Barna adds, "During that same period we have transitioned from a people who upheld the existence of absolute moral truth to a nation where the majority now rejects moral absolutes." Barna explained, "The result has been a seminal shift in our collective focus, from other to self, and from absolute truth to conditional truths."

How do traditional pastors react to Barna's analysis?

"I am not surprised at all," says Rev. Kathleen Christopher, Associate Pastor of the Falls Church Anglican in Falls Church, Virginia.

She asserts, "Surveys for the past few years came to similar conclusions. I graduated from seminary in 2000 and I went into seminary naively. I had a powerful encounter with Jesus, and knew He was the only Son of God, and that He died for our sins, and was physically resurrected. I was a bit shocked that the vast majority in seminary did not believe it.

"It was an Episcopal seminary - which has been true of all of the mainline Protestant denominations, and why they are declining and evangelistic churches are increasing.
Even people still going to church are not hearing the orthodox teaching and faith.

Our culture denigrates Christian belief, as illiterate, gun-toting fierce little idiots.
"New Age beliefs do not hold there is one true religion."

She asserts, "The first remedy is to have preaching from the pulpit which believes in Scripture, for ordinary Christians to be re-educated. They do not understand what the problem is in saying all religions are equal, that all paths lead to heaven.

They have not been taught to think critically.

Hebrews 11:1 states, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."


Copyright (c) 2020 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to www.ethicsandreligion.comm. Hit Search for any topic.


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