Harris Poll: In the U.S., a Clear Win For Rationality — Belief In God and Heaven Declines

This Harris poll — under the headline “Americans’ Belief in God, Miracles and Heaven Declines” — is a great holiday gift.

It finds that

… [W]hile a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults do believe in God, this belief is in decline when compared to previous years as just over four in five (82%) expressed a belief in God in 2005, 2007 and 2009.

Here are some other popular superstitions, according to the poll, along with their adherents.

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When it Comes to Honesty and Ethics, Only a Third of Young People Trust Clergy Members

Gallup released a poll yesterday marking the differences in levels of trust when compared to one’s political party. For example, 68% of Republicans trusted police officers, while only 44% of Democrats said the same.

When it came to members of the clergy, there was a similar differential:

Not too surprising, really. The Religious Right is intertwined with the GOP, so you would expect there to be a higher level of trust for clergy members in that party.

But here’s where it got interesting. When you parsed the numbers by age, only a third of people 18-34 said they trusted the clergy:

This is the effect of the Nones: Not only is faith in faith fading fast, but faith in the leaders of faith is dropping.

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New Zealand Census Results Show That At Least 39% of the Country Profess ‘No Religion’

According to newly-released census results, New Zealand is becoming even more non-religious that anyone thought:

Overall, the Census figures continue a trend for people turning away from religion, with all major churches shedding followers.

The number of people who said they have no religion increased 26 per cent to 1.6 million.

Want more precise numbers? The number of people who categorized themselves under “No Religion” was 1,635,348. Given that the total number of people surveyed was 4,242,048, that puts the Kiwi Nones at a staggering 39% of the population. (It’s 42% if you only count those who gave answers to the “religion” question.)

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Why Do Pastors’ Kids Leave the Church? A New Poll Investigates… by Asking the Pastors

How likely is it that preachers’ kids will lose their faith? Is it any different from the general population?

The Barna Group, a Christian polling organization, just published the results of its study of pastors’ children to see whether it was true that “those who’ve grown up closest to the church are the quickest to leave it.”

Here’s the big takeaway:

Two out of every five pastors (40%) say their child, age 15 or older, went through a period where they significantly doubted their faith

Overall, one–third of pastors (33%) say their child is no longer actively involved in church. Yet when it comes to the rejection of Christian identity altogether, the occurrences are even less.

When pastors were asked if their children no longer consider themselves to be Christians, only 7% said this was “accurate” of their kids — that’s less than one in 10. This compares to the nationwide prodigal rate of about 9% among Millennials.

I think it’s important to point out here that all of these results came from telephone conversations with pastors, not their children. It’s not that the pastors were lying, but I suspect you would’ve gotten some very different responses if you talked to their children. If 40% of children seriously doubted their faith, according to their fathers, how many more went through a period of doubt without their parents even knowing about it? How many still go to church now despite being an atheist?

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New Study Shows That 6% of Tea Party Members Do Not Believe in God

According to the 2013 American Values Survey just released by the Public Religion Research Institute, 27% of Libertarians have no religious affiliation.

That makes sense, I guess — there are plenty of non-religious people who want smaller government and more individual freedoms.

But who the hell are these 9% of “unaffiliated” Tea Party members? (More to the point, most of the people in that group — 6% of the Tea Party overall — don’t believe in God!)



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