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Poll: More Americans Believe In the Devil than Darwinism

on December 20, 2008

Harris Interactive: “More Americans Believe in the Devil, Hell and Angels than in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution” In a poll sure to make nearly everyone cringe—for varying reasons—more respondents were found to believe in “the devil, hell, and angels” than in Darwinism.

The Harris Poll surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. adults on a variety of questions related to the supernatural, both Christian (e.g., God, creation) and occult (e.g., witches, astrology). The poll also broke respondents into groups based on religious affiliation (Catholic or Protestant) and frequency of church attendance. Among the most interesting results:

The Harris Poll surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. adults on a variety of questions related to the supernatural, both Christian and occult.

  • 80 percent of all respondents believe in God; 93 percent of Catholics and 95 percent of Protestants (strange that 5-7% of self-identified Catholics and Protestants are apparently atheists).
  • 47 percent of all respondents accept Darwinism. Catholics are more likely (52 percent) than average to accept it, while Protestants are less likely (32 percent). 67 percent of those who never attend religious services said they accept Darwinism.
  • 40 percent of all respondents accept creationism, with those attending religious services at least weekly the most likely to accept it (64 percent); that number was strongly correlated with frequency of church attendance. Accepting creationism were 54 percent of Protestants and 46 percent of Catholics overall.
  • Belief in miracles, heaven, the deity of Christ, angels, the Resurrection, survival of the soul after death, hell, the virgin birth, and the devil were similar between Catholics and Protestants. However, Catholics were significantly more likely than Protestants to believe in ghosts, UFOs, and astrology.
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, the group most likely to believe in ghosts (56 percent), UFOs (50 percent), astrology (39 percent), and reincarnation (33 percent) were those who attend religious services less than once a year (the category just ahead of those who never attend religious services). Presumably these respondents are neither grounded in religion nor are materialists, leaving them particularly susceptible to believe in the paranormal.

Questions were also asked about what constituted the “word of God,” though the results were not broken up according to religious attendance. Of all respondents, approximately 55 percent believe all or most of the Bible is God’s Word; for the Torah, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon the figures were 26, 9, and 10 percent, respectively.

Most of the findings are unsurprising, of course, and are reminders of the cultural divide in our society. In the past we’ve reported how Christians and theists are actually less likely to believe in (or “more skeptical of,” you could say) the paranormal than are those without religious affiliation.

What is most clear is something else we all already know: the church has as much of a mission as it ever has, and the harvest is as plentiful as ever.

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us.

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