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Only Half of Americans Believe in God With No Doubts

By Aaron Earls
bible prayer belief doubt
Half of Americans say they believe God exists and have no doubts. In 1993, 65% of Americans said they were certain God existed. (Photo: Unsplash / Timothy Eberly)

While U.S. currency says “In God We Trust,” just half of U.S. adults have certainty about God’s existence.

When asked about their confidence in God’s existence, 50% say they know God exists and have no doubts, according to the latest General Social Survey (GSS). In 1993, 65% of Americans said they were certain God existed, and the percentage has been sliding down ever since.

Similarly, the latest Gallup survey finds a decline in belief in God. When asked specifically if they believe in God, 81% of Americans say yes, the lowest percentage in the history of the survey.

According to the GSS data, most of those who have left behind certainty in God’s existence haven’t moved to certainty in the opposite direction. Since 1993, the percentage of those who say they don’t believe in God has only risen from 3% to 7%. Agnosticism, not knowing if there’s a God and believing there’s no way to find out, is up from 4% to 7%. The percentage of those who say they believe in some higher power has increased from 8% to 14%. And the percentage who believe in God sometimes has ticked up from 3% to 6%.

Groups least likely to know God exists

Sure belief in God has particularly fallen among young adults. In 1993, 63% of 18- to 34-year-olds knew God existed with no doubts. Today, just 36% have the same confidence. Other age demographics have fallen, but not to the same extent. Belief in the divine among 35- to 49-year-olds is down to 49%. While the percentage of those 50 and older who have complete confidence in God’s existence remains higher than other age groups, it has dropped to 58%.

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Belief in God among upper-class Americans has actually increased over the past two decades, from 49% to 53%. But it has declined in every other class designation. Middle-class belief is down from 62% in 1993 to 44%. Working-class has declined from 67% to 54%. And lower class has dropped from 75% to 57%.

Among marital status, there is a growing gap between never-married adults and everyone else. Most other groups—married, divorced, and widowed—show a declining trend in confident belief in God. For those who have never married, however, the drop has been precipitous—from 57% in 1993 to 34% today.

religion luxury good married
Statistics show that religion in 21st century America has become an enclave for people with college degrees, married with children, and earning middle-class incomes. (Photo via Pixabay)

Politically speaking, a God gap has emerged that didn’t exist 20 years ago. In 1993, Republicans (67%) and Democrats (66%) were just as likely to express confidence in God’s existence. Independents weren’t far behind at 61%. Now, while 67% of Republicans still say they know God exists and have no doubts, belief among Independents has dropped 14 points to 47% and Democrats have fallen 26 points to 40%.

Among ethnic groups, confidence in God’s existence has remained fairly steady among Black Americans. In 1993, 79% knew God existed without any doubts, while 73% say so today. Among non-Black minorities, the percentage who confidently say God exists dropped from 60% to 52%. For white American adults, however, those who express certainty in God’s existence fell from 63% to 46%.

While women are still more likely than men to say they know God exists without any doubts, the gender gap is narrowing. In 1993, 72% of women had confidence in God’s existence and 56% of men said the same. Now, 55% of women and 44% of men have the same levels of certainty—a 17-point drop among women and a 12-point decline for men.

This article was originally published on LifewayResearch.com.

Aaron Earls is the senior writer at Lifeway Research.

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10 Respuestas

  1. IMO there are many factors for this (Perhaps more)

    – Increase in skeptic communities online
    – Influence of skeptic celebrities (Philosophical and popular)
    – Disillusionment in churches and pastors
    – The mingling of Christianity and politics
    – Failure of churches to provide coherent answers
    – The growth of post-modernism
    – Failure of the liberal mainline to provide certainty
    – Failure of conservative Christians to deal with doubt

  2. “When asked about their confidence in God’s existence, 50% say they know God exists and have no doubts, according to the latest General Social Survey (GSS). In 1993, 65% of Americans said they were certain God existed, and the percentage has been sliding down ever since.”

    2023 U. S. Population: 339,996,563. 50% = 169,998,282
    1993 U. S. Population: 259,918,588. 65% = 168,947.082

    The word “know” is not used in the same way, either. Nor is the word “certain.”

    Looks to me like there are a million more people in the USA who “know” God exists than there were in 1993.

  3. Does God have to “exist”.

    For my wife, God does exist, as a personified being; so God as presented by the Bible as it has come down to us. For me, God is an idea, in which one can place one’s faith; where the Bible expresses one set of thoughts about how such faith plays out across the human circumstance on Earth.

    As the God thesis and project has been presented and taken up, myriad variations have emerged across the faith journeys of adherents (and non adherents). Where belief in God as an existent (variously characterised) has been one variant amongst many.

    Regards these surveys. Asking persons whether they do or do not believe that God “exists”, may lead to a misperception of the extant field of faith being placed in God (as a spectrum idea, where what God means includes God existing as just one possibility on the spectrum), faith which may range from strong and theologically articulated, to weak and heartfelt and diffusely sustained.
    It could be argued that these surveys are staying too close to the conservative pole of faith, that is the strong and theologically articulated pole; so an issue of survey methodology.

    1. For your consideration

      I post this statement on doubt vs unbelief from the site Open the Bible with Pastor Colin Smith.

      “Since you can only doubt what you already believe, doubt and unbelief are very different, and it is crucial to grasp this difference. Doubt is questioning what you believe. Unbelief is a determined refusal to believe. Doubt is a struggle faced by the believer. Unbelief is a condition of the unbeliever.”

      1. George, to clarify.

        “Doubt is questioning what you believe. Unbelief is a determined refusal to believe. Doubt is a struggle faced by the believer. Unbelief is a condition of the unbeliever.”

        If an individual doubts what contextual others believe, they need never have believed what others believe and they doubt.
        Unbelief then, might be the condition of being trapped by the believing of others about which one hosts doubts. This might encompass a family situation, where the parents strive to promote their believing, so as to see their children become fellow believers. Here the child might end having to work through actively unbelieving what their parents believe. The parents might experience the child in terms of their “determined refusal to believe”, might understand that child primarily in terms of their “unbelief”.

        What plays out in a family, also can and does play out between an individual and other contextual collective nexuses.

        The generic crux, is that Pastor Colin provides testimony as to perception and understanding done by a believer. From the point of view of a believer, unbelief is as the Pastor testifies. Where however, from the point of view of the notional unbeliever, this believer’s point of view misrepresents matters.

        If one cannot die to one’s own believing, one is not positioned to properly understand and portray the being of another informed by alternate believing. Discussion between those who alternately believe and do not believe in a particular conception of God, has to struggle through that condition.

  4. There’s one big, over riding reason for this: the loudest, most self-righteous voices yelling at us about God also worship Trump and believe his lies and conspiracy theories. It reduces belief in God to just another one of their lies. American Evangelicals have themselves to blame more than anyone else.

    1. Tim:

      Romans 1:20:

      “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

      Belief in God does not depend on other people.

      1. I agree belief in God should not depend on other people. However, we cannot ignore how many verses in scripture give guidance on how we (as believers) are to live not only to advance the kingdom, but to avoid tarnishing our witness.
        It’s simliar to faith and actions; BOTH matter. We cannot merely say “belief in God does not depend on other people” to downplay, excuse, or avoid accountability for the impact and influence of unGodly behavior on unbelievers.
        I say that as someone who has had to apologize to unbelievers for losing my temper and ultimately behaving in way that I know was not a good reflection of my faith.

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