Makes you wonder—what if God had to run for office?
Makes you wonder—what if God had to run for office? If he were on the ballots of this nation next week, how do you suppose he’d fare? Perhaps the question isn’t so preposterous, given all the national polling about belief in God. In fact this year the Pew Foundation released one of the largest surveys of Americans’ religious beliefs ever conducted (36,000 adult respondents). Be prepared to be surprised!
According to their findings, 92% of Americans believe in God or a universal spirit. While the inclusion of “universal spirit” as an optional response to the polling question no doubt raised the figure somewhat, nevertheless that number is astounding! Given the media’s reporting and Hollywood’s imitating, one would have thought we were a country of unbelievers through and through. Not so. But here’s an even more startling number. According to this Pew Forum Survey on Religion in America, one out of five who call themselves atheists are included in those believers! I.e., 21% of those who call themselves atheists believe in God or a universal spirit, “and more than half of those who call themselves agnostics expressed a similar conviction.”
What is more, more than half of those surveyed report that they pray to God at least once a day. And about a third of the people surveyed reported that “they receive answers to their prayer requests at least once a month and say they have experienced or witnessed a divine healing of an illness or injury.” Furthermore, given this election season, the Pew survey also discovered that irrespective of your religion the more you pray the more politically conservative you are. Go figure! (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/06/23/ST2008062300818.html for the Washington Post report on this survey.)
Apparently, if God were on the ballot next week, he’d do fairly well in this nation.
But the fact remains that a movement of New Atheism is mounting a nearly “direct mail” appeal to the West, with a spate of passionate books and a flood of literature defending their belief in no God at all. And the American academy still proudly asserts its non-God preference. And so in our “Primetime” series (available at this website) we now plunge into two examinations of how to communicate your faith in God with an atheist colleague or friend: “Can an Atheist Be Saved?” and “Is God to Blame?”
But let’s not arm or pride ourselves in these statistics. Truth be known (and it will be one day), the most effective proof for the existence of a loving God is found in the existence of a loving human being. Simply because it is hard to argue with Love.