Polls Show Americans Believe in Jesus and the God of the Bible

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Polling samples affect poll results.

The more I blog, the more I realize that the reactions of unbelievers are predictable, and if you think about them for a moment, understandable.

It appears that those who oppose traditional Christianity, or who want things, such as abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage, which traditional Christianity does not support, do not like to hear that anyone, anywhere, disagrees with them. One of their most common shibboleths is that Christians, particularly Catholics, do not believe what their Church teaches and do not adhere to those teachings.

This is repeatedly brought into discussions, usually with vague references to “polls” that indicate this “fact.” The implication of these comments is that if Catholics don’t even support their Church, then traditional Christian teachings are valueless and should be discarded.

But the polls that they reference do not stand up to close inspection. It turns out that the poll numbers in question refer to polls that equate “Catholics” who don’t attend church and have had no contact with the religion they claim, many times for most of their lives.

When Catholics who actually attend mass on at least a fairly regular basis are polled, it turns out that they do support their Church and believe in its teachings. One of the simplest ways to use polls for propaganda is to select a sample of people you poll who will give you the results you want. When pollsters talk about what Catholics believe, their results will be much more accurate if they poll people who are practicing Catholics.

Rasmussen has done a number of polls whose results will come as a surprise to anyone who believes what they read in the anti-Christian, Catholic bashing media. 

It turns out that people feel connected to their churches, that their loyalty to their church comes first after their families, and that a large majority of Americans believe in Jesus and the God of the Bible. 

If this is true, why do our government entities, from school boards to state legislatures and on up to the White House behave as if it wasn’t true? Why do we live in a world where government treats Christians as an ignorant and bigoted minority who must be ignored, and if that doesn’t work, oppressed and forced into silence?

Our country has taken an ugly turn from recent days when “You can go to church as much as you want, but leave it there.” was a hectoring comment that religious elected officials had shoved in their faces. Now, the law itself is beginning to enforce this.

Propaganda

It turns out that these moves toward legal discrimination against people of faith such as the HHS Mandate are being enacted in the face of a confused and propaganda-bound majority. It really is time that Christians stop allowing themselves to be flim and flammed this way.

Here is a summary of a few of the Rasmussen polls I am talking about:

When given a choice between several levels of community beyond their own family, most Americans choose either their church or their country. More than a third of adults (35%) say their strongest personal allegiance other than family is to their church. Nearly as many (31%) say their strongest allegiance is to their country, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults. Just six percent (6%) name the global community as their strongest personal connection, while five percent (5%) name some other community organization. Four percent (4%) each say their town or state represents their biggest personal allegiance. (To see survey question wording,click here.)

Two-out-of-three Americans (64%) believe in the God of the Bible. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey also finds that 12% do not believe in God at all. Eleven percent (11%) believe in some form or essence of God, five percent (5%) in some other form of God, and eight percent (8%) are not sure.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Eight-out-of-10 Americans (80%) say that their religious faith is at least somewhat important in their daily lives, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. (Click here.)

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 86% of American Adults believe the person known to history as Jesus Christ walked the Earth 2,000 years ago. Just seven percent (7%) don’t share this belief. (To see survey question wording, click here).

Holiday shoppers, as they have for several years, would prefer to be greeted with signs reading “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” this season. (Click here.)

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 70% prefer that stores use signs that say “Merry Christmas.” (Click here.)

 

 

  • Don

    I don’t wish a Brit a happy Fourth of July and I don’t wish a non-Christian a Merry Christmas. I do use that greeting with people that I know to be Christian or with those who greet me as such.

    Christians should always act as if theirs is but one of many beliefs and unbeliefs. People are better off acting in a more secular manner, not showing favoritism toward one religion over another. This is the one sure way to maintain civil rapport, peace and harmony among people of various world views.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Don, you’re getting into what are personal choices. If you don’t want to wish someone Merry Christmas, that is your choice. If I chose to do so, that is my choice. I have not offended anyone by this that I know of, and I’ve traveled all over, including to non-Christian countries. Likewise, I’m not offended if someone wishes me “Good Shabbas” or “Happy Hanukah.”) I have never been bothered when my Muslim traveling companions leave to go to daily prayers. Frankly, someone who would be offended by something as well-meaning as that on the one hand and as personal as that on the other is probably too prickly to be enjoyable company, anyway.

    • Theodore Seeber

      “Christians should always act as if theirs is but one of many beliefs and unbeliefs. People are better off acting in a more secular manner, not showing favoritism toward one religion over another.”

      That attitude has given us a genocide of 55 million people since 1973. Please stop lying about this.

    • Skittle

      As a Briton, if I was visiting America and you wished everyone in the room a happy 4th of July, except for me, I would feel snubbed. If you used some weird wording to indicate that you wished me well, but 4th of July had nothing to do with it, I would think it was funny, and that you were tying yourself in knots based on an assumption that I was hostile to you. If you wished me a happy 4th of July, I would be pleased. That I don’t celebrate it is irrelevant.

      I mean, unless you were planning on greeting people with “Happy 4th of July! Thank goodness we’re not dirty Brits.” Or is that what you mean when you wish people a happy 4th of July?

      I really don’t understand this idea that people will be offended by you acknowledging your cultural or social practices in public, just because theirs are different.

  • Oregon Catho;ic

    Polls are notoriously flawed to begin with since you can’t get 100% of any sample, no matter how scientifically selected, to respond – and the characteristics of the non-responders which are never explored can have an important impact on any conclusions drawn from the responders. Ignore any poll done by phone. They were badly flawed 15 years ago, and since the advent of widespread cell phone use and non-published numbers they are even worse. You mostly get people with landlines and they are different than people who use cells exclusively.

    Rebecca, I don’t think we can dismiss the opinion of self-identified Catholics that easily. The fact that some Catholics no longer go to church is important in itself and not always a reflection of their faith or political views. I was a non-church going Catholic for a number of years but I never thought abortion or homosexual relationships were OK or that divorce and contraception were good ideas. I had to learn to separate the bureaucracy and clerical sins and human failings from the Church and her sacraments in order to return.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I don’t think that non-practicing Catholics should be part of a sample which is being used to quantify the opinions of Catholics on Church matters. It isn’t a question of “ignoring” them. They simply are not part of a legitimate sample in a poll that purports itself to quantify the beliefs and practices of people who are “Catholic.”

      I would feel that same if the question was what people who buy Fords think about Fords and the pollsters included folks who had not bought a Ford for 30 years. It would be a bogus poll.

      • Oregon Catho;ic

        Better to call it practicing Catholic and non-practicing Catholic then. I was still Catholic in my beliefs despite not practicing (I knew I was sinning by missing Mass) and would have been very offended by anyone who implied I wasn’t.

      • AnonCollie

        What counts as practicing?
        Do those of us who have been deeply scarred by the very Church we love, have misgivings about the direction she’s headed in, questions about some of the teachings or doubts about her leaders and yet still go to mass count? If not, why?

        If you’re referring to only Catholics who practice and don’t have the occasional protest or hiccup with the bureaucracy of the church as the “Practicing” ones, then of course you’re going to find people who believe in Jesus and Sacred Scripture without question. But the size and breadth of those who identify as Catholics is far greater what one poll can quantify.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          I’m referring to people who do not attend church at all and haven’t for years, but say they are Catholics.

  • Dale

    I do not doubt the knee-jerk reactions of non-believers when it comes to the intersection of policy issues and faith. I have encountered unreasoning hostility many times, and have had difficulty trying to engage in discussion with those who are zealously anti-religious.

    However, the Rasmussen poll results which were cited are a bit disappointing. Granted, I can not access the full results since I am not a subscriber. But what I did see, in following the links, suggests that Rasmussen may be attempting to cook the books. For example, the claim that “Two-out-of-three Americans (64%) believe in the God of the Bible.” If you follow the link, it will indicate that Rasmussen is grouping together persons who envision the God of the Bible or some other form or presence of God. In other words, persons who consider themselves “spiritual but not religious” are grouped into believing in the God of the Bible, even if they mean nothing other than being awed by a beautiful sunset or mountain vista.

    A smart conservative person, whose opinion I respect, once told me that Rasmussen polls can be a bit dodgy. I am beginning to see why.

    • OverlappingMagisteria

      I don’t think that they lumped together all believers as “God of the Bible” believers. They specifically asked whether people believed in the God of the Bible or in a different kind of God. The percentages cited by Rebecca above show these separate categories.

      I think what you are thinking of is the way they handled the follow up questions. There were certain questions that were asked if the person believed in any type of god and other questions that were asked if they did not believe in God or gods. For the purpose of whether or not to ask those questions, yes, they lumped all believers together. However, the final statistics for the first question seem to have been tallied up fairly.

  • Don

    “That attitude has given us a genocide of 55 million people since 1973. Please stop lying about this.”

    Are you saying that people of different faiths getting along with one another by being more secular leads to genocide?

  • pagansister

    All polls, no matter the polling organization, IMO, should be taken with a grain of salt.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Very true.

      Btw, in another thread a day older, you asked if the Constitution Party was prolife. Yes, extremely so. Sanctity of Life is the first plank in their platform, right after the preamble.
      http://constitutionparty.com/OurPrinciples/2012Platform/tabid/127/Default.aspx

      They’re not quite Catholic, and they don’t include deep links, so I’ll just quote it:
      “We affirm the God-given legal personhood of all human beings from fertilization to natural death, without exception. The first duty of the law is to protect innocent life, created in the image of God. No government may legalize the taking of life without justification. Legalizing the termination of innocent life of the born or unborn, whether by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia or suicide, is a direct violation of their unalienable right to life. As to matters of rape and incest, we find it unconscionable to take the life of an innocent child for the crimes of his father.

      Under no circumstances may the federal government fund or otherwise support any state or local government or any organization or entity, foreign or domestic, which advocates, encourages or participates in the practice of abortion. We also oppose the distribution and use of all abortifacients, and the funding and legalization of bio-research involving human embryonic or pre-embryonic cells.”

      • pagansister

        Theodore, thank you for responding to the question I asked on a different thread. I appreciate it. :-)

  • pagansister

    Thought it was interesting that on the blog “Friendly Atheist” there is a poll that has different results for similar questions……who does one believe?

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    What is truely sad is that there are people who don’t know Jesus Christ. To know Him is to know sweetness. Come, put the world’s issues aside and open your heart to Him and you will know what love and compassion is all about. You will meet the ultimate embrace.

    • Sagrav

      We observe very little love or compassion coming from people like yourself who claim to “know” Jesus. Except when if comes to fetuses; then your cups runneth over.

      There is no special “read the Bible as literal, historical truth” switch on our backs. Personally, I find the claims of Christianity implausible. I don’t believe in magic, and that includes talking animals, ghosts, demon possession, world-wide flooding, the sun holding still in the sky, or people returning from death. If you have some verifiable evidence of these phenomena, many non-believers would begin to believe.

      Don’t feel bad about our inability to accept your religious claims; we don’t believe the supernatural claims of Islam, Buddhism, Shinto, Judaism, or the myriad of the other faith systems of the world.

      • Theodore Seeber

        My Knights of Columbus Council volunteered 1900+ hours last year, and had over 750 visits to the ill and bereaved.

        And we’re a pretty small, young council. There are nearly 16000 other councils just like ours, perhaps more by now (our council isn’t even a year old yet and is #15,485).

        I find your “Good without God” claims to be equally implausible.

        • AnonCollie

          I’m not trying to discount the good your council does, Theodore;
          But trying to argue that good works can solely come from God doesn’t work. There have been billions of humans in the past, and there are billions more no doubt to come who will not be exposed to the Abrahamic God, much less Christianity, much less Catholicsm.

          Yet, in spite of that, human beings manage to do fairly well for themselves in working out a common moral code. Argue if you want that it’s spiritual ingrained and I won’t argue with you on that point, but even without the Church or even faith, human beings do communally adopt an ethos.

          Sagrav’s frustration is extremely well founded; for all the political bluster about protecting the weakest of society, there is no movement, no political party that truly watches out for all the oppressed and underprivileged completely, and aligning one’s self with one of said movement or parties is to identify yourself with abandoning those said movements cast aside. The greatest source of unbelief in this world is hypocrisy; those religious who preach a moral code, but do not live it.

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            What you are describing here is referred to in Catholic theology as “natural law.”

            “There have been billions of humans in the past, and there are billions more no doubt to come who will not be exposed to the Abrahamic God, much less Christianity, much less Catholicsm.

            Yet, in spite of that, human beings manage to do fairly well for themselves in working out a common moral code.”

  • pagansister

    No disrespect intended here, Manny, but I was raised in a Christian faith, by loving parents. For me the knowledge of Jesus Christ did nothing for me —–by 17 I knew that what I was being told made no sense to me, and 47 years later—still doesn’t. For those that find comfort and love etc. believing, it’a all good. My sisters are believers—–and our relationship is fine—they understand where I come from and I understand where they come from. I’m a very visual person —-seeing is believing.

    • Oregon Catholic

      “I’m a very visual person —-seeing is believing.”
      Are you serious or is that supposed to be an attempt at humor?
      I have trouble ‘seeing’ how quantum mechanics makes any sense and I never have and probably never will. It’s just theoretical anyway so I guess I could dismiss it as real too and declare all the people who do understand it as experiencing some kind of mass hallucination.

      • Will

        The nice thing about the science that you don’t understand, such as quantum mechanics, is that you COULD understand it through education and experimentation. It doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in it, because the principles we understand about science can be confirmed through testing, and if you take the time to study the science, you can even perform the tests yourself if you don’t believe the other scientists. That’s what science IS: scientists checking each other’s work, over and over and over.

        On the other hand, I doubt that you could believe in the Greek gods no matter what you read, ’cause you know that it isn’t true. Religion can’t be tested, that’s a big part of most faiths. I can’t perform an experiment to see if Jesus is more real than Vishnu, or whether he answers prayers at a better rate than Allah or L. Ron Hubbard. Religion just isn’t comparable to science in the terms you’re using. It has to be based on belief rather than tangible evidence, because the claims it makes are rooted in supernatural ideas. I’m not saying that to condemn it, just to illustrate the important difference.

        • Oregon Catholic

          You can test theories Will, but until they are proven they are still just theories no matter how many people believe them. An astrophysicist’s belief in many things, even those he/she might teach to students, is little more than an educated belief system sustained on faith. Catholicism which has a philosophically coherent basis warrants the same respect. Many very intelligent and well-educated people find the truths of Catholicism to be objectively persuasive and are not suffering from mass delusion about a myth.

        • Theodore Seeber

          I’ll believe in the Greek Gods the day that somebody starts tour buses to Mt. Olympus.

          I believe in Christ because the successor of Peter tells me to, and because I *can* take a tour of his tomb.

          • Sagrav

            But why do you believe just because the successor of Peter tells you too? And how does the physical presence of an ancient religious leader’s tomb increase the plausibility of the supernatural claims of said person?

            Also, you actually can take a tour to the spiritual home of the Olympians: http://www.greecetravel.com/macedonia/mount-olympus.htm

            I doubt you will see any Gods there, but I also doubt that you would encounter a singing chorus of angels or other supernatural creatures if you visited that tomb you mentioned.

            • Theodore Seeber

              And yet, I have. Oh, I haven’t been to Rome yet, but I have been to several shrines much closer to home and experienced those effects.

              But most of all, my heart was truly converted not by that, but by the restating of the Scientific Method applying it to Comparative Theology in Nostra Aetate. The Church does not reject anything Good it finds. Ever. I cannot say the same for Atheism. Zen Buddhism comes close, but rejects the reality of an objective morality.

              • pagansister

                Theodore, I sincerely hope you get to Rome someday. If it has the same effect on you as the interior (and exterior) of Stonehenge had on me—then it will be a very moving experience.

      • pagansister

        OC, I wasn’t trying to be funny with my statement. For lack of a better word, I never had an “Ah Ha” moment where I knew that Jesus was who they were telling me he was, that I could offer up words/prayers and they would be answered (or not) by this Jesus and/or his Father. It just never made sense to me. Was similar to the fairy tales I had read—magic etc. Did I question my parents? No, I just went along with it. As I mentioned, my sisters are still very Christian—one worries about me and my lack of faith, the other doesn’t. One appreciates what she calls my spirituality—a better word to describe my beliefs. The one sister (who accepts my beliefs the best) said she had a moment on a church retreat when she knew Jesus was, again for lack of a better description, her savior. She married a Mormon, but is still a Methodist, they each attend their own church on Sunday and for 30 years it has worked. My other sister married a Presbyterian and joined his church. At 17, off to college, met my husband, a UU, His ideas were just like mine. Did marry in the Methodist church I was raised in—as my parents wanted that. Our kids were raised in the UU tradition. My father & I discussed my beliefs and he was OK with it, my mother—not so much, but there was never any attempt to pull me back. TMI, probably. I find all religions have good qualities about them—words to live by, if you will.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Pagansister, are you referring to a specific event, or just that Jesus didn’t “do” anything for you in a more generic way?

      • pagansister

        Rebecca, perhaps the above to Oregon Catholic will help answer your question. Not referring to a specific event—as I said above—I just couldn’t honestly say that I believed what I was being taught. Very skeptical. I do not “worship” any god or goddess. My posting name is due to the fact I do not believe in the divinity of Jesus. When I do attend church with my sisters, I do not recite the Apostle’s Creed, but I do love to sing those hymns! I appreciate sacred places/spaces. Inside Stonehenge, for me, was as hallowed as inside the churches I have been in.

        • Theodore Seeber

          It is extremely hard for the skeptical to believe. It’s like trying to find a new natural law when you’ve rejected half the data because you don’t understand why it is evidence.

        • Glinda

          The public is not allowed inside Stonehenge it is surrounded by a fence to protect it from vandalism. People were chipping pieces off. The most hallowed place I have been in is the Basilica in Assisi, Italy. It is named in honor of St Francis of Assisi a truly holy man who practiced what he taught. I attended mass there and I felt a presence so strong that I cried. Even my brother felt it and he is not Catholic he is Baptist but he had tears in his eyes. Since I am a convert to Catholicism I decided to choose St Francis as my patron saint.

  • pagansister

    Yes, Theodore, it is extremely hard for skeptics to believe. I’m a prime example. However, I’m not skeptical about everything.


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