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Agnosticism And Deism Growing

The Paineful Truth

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At least that's my take on this Harris Poll. The article's headline seems to support the conclusion that atheism is growing, but I see the results as more indicative of agnosticism, and the underlined statistic is especially promising for deism. More than that the biggest indication is that people are either closet agnostics/deists but go to church anyway :roll:.


Guess Who Doesn't Believe in God?


Eleven percent of U.S. adults admit they don't believe in God. Surprisingly, while 73 percent profess a belief in God, they are riddled with doubt, not certain God actually exists.


Specifically, 42 percent admit they are not "absolutely certain" there is a God, while 15 percent are only "somewhat certain." Eleven percent think there is probably no God and 16 percent aren't sure, according to this Harris Poll of 2,010 U.S. adults conducted in 2006. There is no consensus on God's gender, form or degree of control over events on earth.


Not all who describe themselves as Christian or Jewish believe in God. Indeed, only 76 percent of Protestants, 64 percent of Catholics and 30 percent of Jews say they are "absolutely certain" there is a God. However, 93 percent of Christians who describe themselves as "born again" are absolutely certain there is a God.

Who is absolutely certain there is a God?


People in all age groups 40 and over (63 percent of those ages 40 to 49, 65 percent of those ages 50 to 64 and 65 percent of those ages 65 and over) compared to people in age groups under 40 (45 percent of those ages 18 to 24, 43 percent of those ages 25 to 29 and 54 percent of those ages 30 to 39);

Women (62 percent) slightly more than men (54 percent);

African Americans (71 percent) compared to Hispanics (61 percent) and Whites (57 percent);

Republicans (73 percent) more than Democrats (54 percent) or Independents (51 percent);

People with no college education (62 percent) or who have some college education (57 percent), compared to college graduates (50 percent) and those with post-graduate degrees (53 percent).


How often do we attend religious services?


35 percent attend once a month or more, including 26 percent of these who attend once a week or more.

46 percent say they attend services just a few times a year or less.

18 percent never attend.

Is God male or female?


The public is almost equally divided between those who think of God as male (36 percent) and "neither male nor female" (37 percent), with 10 percent saying "both male and female." Only one percent thinks of God as female.

Does God have a human form?


A substantial plurality of the public (41 percent) thinks of God as "a spirit or power that can take on human form but is not inherently human."

27 percent think of God as a "spirit or power that does not take on human form."

Only 9 percent of adults think of God as being "like a human being with a face, body, arms, legs, eyes, etc."


How much control does God have over events on earth?


Less than one-third of all adults (29 percent) believe that God "controls what happens on Earth, including 57 percent of born-again Christians.

A plurality (44 percent) believes that God "observes but does not control what happens on Earth."


Do Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God?


About half (51 percent) of all adults, including a majority of Catholics (63 percent), believe that Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God.

32 percent believe they do not.

16 percent are not sure.

Among born-again Christians, 54 percent say they do not worship the same God, while 34 percent say they do.


Are believers declining?

Three years ago, in an identical survey, 79 percent of adults said they believed in God and 66 percent said they were absolutely certain that there is a God. In this new survey, those numbers have declined to 73 percent and 58 percent respectively.




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That is very encouraging news, PT.


The fact that many people are willing to question, whether it be from a deistic, agnostic, or atheist perspective, is evidence that people are thinking. That is what counts.

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Yes, I think a lot of Christians are really closet deists/agnostics. They cling to the label in order to fit in, but don't really believe in it.

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We are almost on our way to a freethinking society where people will respect each others individual belief. :woohoo: But only within certain guide lines.


I can't wait to make friends in real life who will respect others opinions a well as my own.


Thanks for sharing that PT.

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Yeah, maybe even sooner than any of us think. Although, it's also depressing when you realize that most of the people who feel that way don't know the implications of what a non-interventionist God would be, and would probably recoil at being called a deist, much less an agnostic, or, God forbid, and atheist (gasp) :eek:


For anyone interested in looking at the whole pole (some of it's interesting): http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/10-31-2006/0004463807&EDATE=


They also had this little (self-evident?) paragraph:

Over the last few years, several different surveys have found that more

people admit to potentially embarrassing beliefs or behaviors when

answering online surveys (without interviewers) than admit to these

behaviors when talking to interviewers in telephone surveys. They are also

three times more likely to say that their sexual orientation is gay,

lesbian or bi-sexual. Researchers call this unwillingness to give honest

answers to some questions in telephone surveys a "social desirability


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As it is I think I am more atheist now...sans any nihilism(often attributed to atheists).


Wrongly, of course; but considering who's doing the attributing it comes as no surprise.

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Yesterday polls indicated that Islam was the fastest growing religion. However, two hours after those poll results were published, a fundamentalist Christian church in South Korea showed that evangelical Christianity is experiencing explosive growth. Meanwhile the American Atheists organization proved that atheism is becoming the fastest growing belief, whereas the Republicans presented data that showed that despite the recent election results the vast majority of America remains staunchly conservative. The Chinese sent a letter to the Dalai Lama that showed poll results from Tibet indicating that Tibetans were happier and grateful for Chinese rule and education. The Peanut Butter Association of America, on the other side of the globe, proudly reported in the Suburban Journals that for the past 126 years peanut butter has remained America's favorite spread.


I generally take poll results with a grain of salt these days. I really wish I didn't, but I find that generally the pollster will seek out those who agree with his point and thus "prove" his own position.

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I generally take poll results with a grain of salt these days. I really wish I didn't, but I find that generally the pollster will seek out those who agree with his point and thus "prove" his own position.

That's why I think a stats class should be required, it is useful. That is to say that you learn that statistics is bullshit.

I certainly want to think that deism and atheism are growing, and they might be, but I don't think any of these polls proves anything.

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True, I guess we'll never be completely insulated from bias in polls, but I truly believe that in this one, it is less so. The questions are straightforward, and the use of internet vs. personal/telephone interviews with a real person makes sense.


Yes, there's been evidence for strong growth in Islam and Catholicism here, but that's almost entirely due to immigration. In 2002, a Pugh poll showed deism as the fastest growing religion, but that was based on the growth of a very small proportion of the sample--like going from 2 to 12 is a 600% increase.


One gage of truth I've used is when people admit to something that doesn't support a position they're maintaining. That's what's happening here.


In any case, I do think there's cause for genuine hope. I will admit to some bias here, because it tends to confirm what I've long believed about the hypocrisy of churchgoers, based not only on my personal observations, but on thinking about how people deal with this schizophrenic lifestyle (believing in the supernatural in a world in which it is becoming ever more apparent that the supernatural doesn't exist) without actually going nuts. I guess the straitjacket of insanity is more confining than living within the restrictions of hypocrisy. It's sad that they're so afraid of the other option, freedom. But I guess it pays better.

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