Washington: An overwhelming majority of Americans, including a majority of the religiously unaffiliated – those who describe themselves, religiously, as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” – say they believe in God or a higher power, according a new Pew Research Center survey conducted in December of 2017.
The latest Pew Research Survey also found that the share of American adults who do not affiliate with a religious group has risen dramatically in recent years. At the same time, only a slim majority of Americans now believe in the God of the Bible and roughly one-in-ten U.S. adults don’t believe in any higher power or spiritual force.
"Roughly nine-in-ten Americans say they believe in God or a higher power, although only a slim majority (56%) believe in God “as described in the Bible". An additional 33% believe in another higher power or spiritual force, while 10% say they believe there is no higher power or spiritual force in the universe", the survey, that took a new approach to measuring Americans’ beliefs about God, said.
The Pew Research survey also asked about specific attributes of God, such as whether God is all-powerful or all-knowing, and about personal interactions with the divine.
"Three-quarters of Christians describe God as all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful. Like Christians, most Jews (89%) have faith in a deity. But just a third of Jews (33%) say they believe in God as described in the Bible, while 56% say they believe in some other higher power", the survey said.
"Jews are also more likely than Christians to say they don’t believe in a spiritual force of any kind (10% vs. 1%). Finally, among those who describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated – also known as “nones” – 72% say they believe in a higher power of some kind", it found.
The survey also found that about half (48%) of U.S. adults believe God determines what happens to them most or all of the time. "Nearly eight-in-ten U.S. adults think God or a higher power has protected them, and two-thirds of Americans say they have been rewarded by the Almighty. At the same time, fewer see God as judgmental and punitive, with just four-in-ten saying they have been punished by the deity in which they believe", it said.
The survey also revealed that Republicans and Democrats have very different beliefs about God. "Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party are less likely to say they believe in the God of the Bible than Republicans and Republican leaners (45% vs. 70%). Democrats are more likely than Republicans (39% vs. 23%) to say they believe in a higher power other than the biblical God."
"They also are more likely to say they don’t believe in any deity at all (14% vs. 5%). The survey also finds big racial differences among Democrats; most nonwhite Democrats – who are predominantly black or Hispanic – believe in God as described in the Bible (61%), compared to just 32% of white Democrats", the survey said.
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