An in-depth study has found wide-ranging views on religious belief in America and its personal and public perspective. As the nation changes, it’s interesting to note where faith and its practice stand with its citizens. The surveys below were conducted by several organizations including Gallup and the Pew Research.
FAITH AND AFFILIATION
87% of Americans Believe in God
Sources: Gallup, 11/08/19.
Eighty-seven percent of Americans polled by Gallup say they believe in God, and 64% say they are convinced God exists.
Religious Affiliation, 2019
Sources: Gallup, 2019.
More than two-thirds of Americans, 67%, or 221.25 million people when extrapolated to include children, identify as Christian.
Religious Preference in the U.S.
Also, 41% of Americans (Protestant, Catholic and Other) say they are Evangelical or Born Again, according to Gallup, or 135.33 million people.
Finally, 72% of Americans say religion is very important or fairly important to them, or 237.65 million people.
Church Attendance and Movies
– Sources: Gallup, 2019; The Numbers 2020.
About 34% of Americans say they attended church in the last seven days, according to a 2019 survey by Gallup. In addition, about 12% of Americans say they attended church in the last month.
Thus, in any given week, 37% of Americans, or nearly 122.13 million people when extrapolated to include children, attend church.
This compares to only about 23.98 million people, including children and adults, who went to the movies in a typical week in 2019 in both the United States and Canada, according to ticket sales information culled from The Numbers.
Church Attendance vs. Movies
|Weekly Activity||Number of People per Week|
|Adults and children going to church||122.13 million|
|Adults and children going to movies||23.98 million|
Also, 52% of Americans believe America would be a better place if more people attended church services more regularly.
Americans and Church Attendance
Americans are more likely to attend church and pray than other European nations with wealthy democracies. Americans attended church for a variety of reasons:
- Getting “closer to God” – 80%
- Instilling a moral compass in the lives of their children and for times of loss and heartache – 66%
- Family of origin’s traditions – 31%
- Religious obligation – 19%
- Pleasing a relative or a spouse – 16%
– Sources: Pew Research Center, 08/01/18 and Pew Fact Tank, 07/31/18.
Beliefs about Salvation
- 62% of Americans believe Jesus’s death and resurrection is the only way to cleanse their hearts from sin and be reconciled to God.
- 57% of Americans say that only those who trust in Jesus as the only Savior receive God’s free gift of salvation.
- 53% of Americans believe righteousness isn’t based on works but through faith in Jesus.
– Sources: LifeWay Research, 2018 State of American Theology Study.
Most Millennial Evangelicals Agree with These Statements
- 62% of millennials agree: “Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.”
- 64% of millennials agree: “There will be a time when Jesus Christ returns to judge all people who have lived.”
- 53% of millennials agree: “The Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true.”
- 57% of millennials agree: “Abortion is a sin.”
- 54% of millennials agree: “Sex outside traditional marriage is a sin.”
– Sources: Ligonier Ministries, 11/26/18.
Americans Believe in the Bible
Half of Americans, 50% or about 165 million people when extrapolated, believe the Bible is 100% accurate in all that it teaches.
– Sources: LifeWay Research, 2018 State of American Theology Study.
What People Think About Biblical Authority
- 62% of U.S. adults say it’s the highest authority for their beliefs.
- 53% of U.S. adults believe “the Bible has the authority to tell us what we must do.”
- 38% of U.S. adults don’t believe it’s the highest authority for their beliefs.
– Sources: Facts & Trends, 10/23/18.
Christians in the Workplace
Christians in the workplace say they maintain high standards and virtues of professional integrity.
82% – Christians should act ethically;
74% – Christians should speak the truth;
72% – Christians should demonstrate morality;
66% – Christians should make friends with Non-Christians;
65% – Christians should help mold the culture of the workplace;
63% – Christians should have an attitude of humility;
59% – Christians should withstand temptation; and,
58% – Christians should do excellent work to bring glory to God.
– Sources: Barna Research, 10/30/18.
Black Men Are Extremely Religious
Black men are more religious than white men, women and at least as religious as Hispanic women. About 78% of black men believe in God with “absolute certainty.”
– Sources: The Pew Research Center, 09/26/18.
Christians and New Age Thinking
Spiritual energies, reincarnation, psychics and astrology all fall under the New Age category of thinking. Yet, while 80% of Christians say they believe in God as described in the Bible, 60% (ranging from 47% evangelical Protestants to 70% of Catholics and Protestants) believe in one or more of these four New Age beliefs.
– Sources: Pew Fact Tank, 10/01/18.
Paganism and Witchcraft Numbers Rising
- 1 to 1.5 million Americans label themselves Wiccan or pagan, more than some mainstream Christian denominations.
- Trend-spotters find that young millennial women tend to be fascinated with New Age practices, Wicca, and astrology.
- Trinity College found that from 1990 to 2008 Wicca rose from only 8,000 practitioners to 340,000.
- Pew Research finds that the rise is attributed to an increased desire for spirituality and decreased desire for religion, as well as female empowerment, politics and mindfulness movements.
– Sources: ChurchLeaders.com, 10/11/18.
Religious Americans vs. Religious Europeans
- 14% of Western European Christians said religion was important to them vs. 68% of American Christians.
- 31% of Western European Christians attend church services at least monthly compared to 64% of American Christians
- 25% of Western Europeans believe in an omnipotent God vs. 60% of American Christians
Americans have a higher level of wealth and prayer compared to 102 other countries examined and are also more likely to pray than those in developing countries with lower wealth.
– Sources: Pew Research Center, 09/12/18 and Pew Fact Tank 07/31/18.
Bible Users & Accuracy
At least three to four times weekly, 48% of Americans engage with the Bible through various ways, such as audio, prayer, using their own copy, or Bible content in other forms (not including church services). Daily Bible use accounts for 14% of the adult population in the United States.
According to LifeWay Research, 50% of Americans believe the Bible is 100% accurate. 47% acknowledge the Bible as helpful to account for myths but isn’t literally true. 48% agree that the Bible disproves modern science.
– Sources: Barna Update, 07/10/18, and LifeWay Research, 2018 State of Theology Study.
Reading the Bible Affects Spiritual Growth
According to Barna Update, people who read the Bible see impacts in the following ways:
- 54% claim a more loving behavior towards others.
- 42% say they’re more generous with their energy, finances and time.
- 56% of monthly Bible readers are more willing to engage with their faith.
- 57% contend they have a heightened awareness of the need for God in their lives.
- 48% experience a curiosity to get to know God better.
- 47% experience a sense of connection with God.
– Sources: Barna Update, 07/10/18.
What Can Religion Accomplish?
34% of Americans say religion is “largely old fashioned and out of date” according to Gallup Research. Yet, 55% of Americans believe religion can solve most or all of today’s problems.
– Sources: Facts & Trends Important Stats for Ministry 2018.
Beliefs about Truth
35% of U.S. adults believe in absolute truth, but 44% believe truth is relative. Also, 21% haven’t ever thought about it.
– Sources: Barna Group, 01/09/18.
Beliefs about The Ten Commandments
According to YouGov and Deseret News, Americans and evangelicals believe these commandments remain significant/ important:
- Murder: 94% of Americans vs. 99% of evangelicals
- Stealing: 94% of Americans vs. 99% of evangelicals
- Lying: 91% of Americans vs. 99% of evangelicals
- Honoring parents: 85% of Americans vs. 97% of evangelicals
- Adultery: 83% of Americans vs. 94% of evangelicals
– Sources: Christianity Today, 03/28/18.
Gallup: 40% Hold ‘Creationist’ View of Human Origins
A 2019 Gallup poll reveals that 40% of Americans believe in the creationist view of the origin of life. This is a decrease from 44% in 1982. The poll also reveals that 33% of Americans believe that Humans evolved, but God guided the evolutionary process, a 5% decrease since 2017.
Only 22% of Americans believe humans evolved and God had no involvement in the process, but that’s an increase from 10% since 1982.
The percentage of Americans who accept the creationist viewpoint ranges from 68% among those who attend religious services weekly to 27% among those who seldom or never attend.
The survey also shows that the more time you spend in school, especially government-run “public” schools and state-run universities, the more likely you will believe in godless evolution.
– Sources: Gallup, 07/26/19.
Study: Religious Services Increase Your Life Span
A new study by Professor Marino Bruce of Vanderbilt University has found that people who attend religious services live longer and are less stressed. The findings held true across faith traditions
Middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogue, or other houses of worship reduce their premature mortality risk by 55 percent!
Professor Bruce and 10 other co-authors used public data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics for their study.
– Sources: USA Today, 06/01/17.
Weekly Church Attendance Linked to Reduced Suicides Among Women
A new long-term study by three Harvard University psychologists shows that attending religious services once a week or more is linked to a five-fold lower rate of suicide among women age 30 to 55, compared to never attending religious services.
Social integration, depression and alcohol consumption mediated the link for occasional attendees but not for frequent attendees.
– Sources: The JAMA Network, August 2016.
Recognizing Bible’s Importance Leads to More Bible Use
Two-thirds of U.S. adults, 67%, say their growing use of the Bible was influenced by their realization that the Scriptures are an important part of their faith journey.
Meanwhile, 26% say going through a difficult experience led to their growing use of the Bible, 20% cited a significant change in their life, such as marriage or the birth of a child, and 18% cited downloading the Bible onto their smartphone or tablet.
The poll was conducted by the American Bible Society.
– Sources: The Foster Letter, 02/25/17, and Barna, 01/18/17.
Americans Believe the Bible Is a Good Source of Morals
More than half of U.S. adults, 52%, believe the Bible is a good source of morals. Another 37% says it’s helpful, 36% say it’s true, and 35% say it’s life changing, according to a LifeWay research study.
– Sources: The Foster Letter, 05/25/17, and CT Gleanings, 04/26/17.
African-Americans Are More Bible Friendly
A survey by the American Bible Society found that African-Americans are more biblically engaged or Bible friendly than any other group, to the tune of 71%.
This compares to only 58% of all Americans.
– Sources: The Foster Letter, 08/10/17, and Ebony, 07/14/17.
Educated Evangelical Christians Are More Religious
A new Pew Research Center study of American Christians found that, among evangelicals, more education results in a higher religious commitment in every area, including weekly church attendance, daily prayer, more likely to be certain about God’s existence, and more likely to say religion is important in their life.
– Sources: The Foster Letter, 05/25/17, and CT Gleanings, 04/26/17.
Americans Who Pray
Among Americans who regularly pray, 62% do so to offer “gratitude and thanksgiving,” 61% pray for the “needs of their family and community,” 49% pray for “personal guidance in crisis,” 47% pray for their own “health and wellness,” 43% pray for “things I suddenly feel compelled or urged to pray about,” 41% pray for “safety in daily tasks or travel,” 37% prayed for a “sense of peace” or for a meal, and 34% pray for things people have requested.
Only 24% prayed for “the nation or government,” and only 20% prayed for “global problems and injustices.”
– Sources: The Foster Letter, 08/25/17, and Barna, 08/15/17.
Pastors Agree: Pulpit Freedom Is Vital!
The vast majority of America’s Christian pastors, 91%, believe, “Pastors should have the right to speak freely from the pulpit without the fear of being penalized by the government.”
Also, 73% of all pastors agree, “Congress should remove the IRS’s power to penalize a church because of the content of its pastor’s sermons.”
– Sources: The Foster Letter, 11/10/17, and Baptist Press, 10/16/17.
Religious People Live Longer, Study Supports
A study conduct by Ohio State University suggests that religious individuals live longer than that of non-religious individuals- by four years.
According to the Daily Mail UK, the first installment of the study, led by Dr. Baldwin Way and Laura Wallace, focused on the obituaries of 505 people from the Des Moines Register in Iowa spanning the months of January and February in 2012. Apparently, religious people lived 9.45 years longer overall but shrunk to 6.48 years longer after factoring gender and marital status.
Researchers gathered data by the mentions of religious principles these late induvial mentioned in their obituaries or their frequent attendance of church.
In continuation, the second installment of the study expanded the number of obituaries to over 1,000 and included 42 major U.S. cities from August 2010 to August 2011. Here, the number of religious individuals lived 5.64 years longer and only shrunk to 3.82 after gender and marital status.
Study: Faith in God Improves Mental Health
Faith in God significantly improves treatment for people suffering from mental illness, research from McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. shows.
Researchers followed 159 patients over a whole year and found that patients with higher levels of faith in God were twice more likely to respond to treatment, even if they had no specific religious affiliation.
Other studies, at San Francisco General Hospital and by Columbia University, found that prayer from strangers resulted in fewer complications, fewer cases of pneumonia, less need for drug treatments, and more successful pregnancies.
– Sources: The Daily Mail, 04/26/13.
Forgiveness Is Good for Your Health
Several studies show that forgiveness usually leads to better health.
Forgiving people have lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, improved sleep and immune systems, less depression, less anxiety, less anger, enhanced relationships, more optimism, increased confidence, increased energy, a greater sense of overall wellbeing, and are even able to jump higher!
Gratitude is another attitude that results in better physical, mental and psychological health.
– Sources: The Foster Letter, 08/10/17, and Christianity Today, 07/21/17.
Actively Religious Americans Are Happier
A poll by Pew Research found that 36% of Americans who are actively religious are very happy, but only 25% of Americans who are religiously inactive and 25% of people who are not religiously affiliated are “very happy.”
– Sources: Pew Research, 01/31/19.
Religious People Have Better Marriages
Various studies have shown clearly that Americans who regularly attend services at a church, synagogue or mosque “are less likely to cheat on their partners, less likely to abuse their spouses, more likely to enjoy happier marriages, and less likely to have been divorced.”
For example, the General Social Survey by the National Opinion Research Center found that Americans who attend religious services often are significantly more likely to report they are “very happy” in their marriages.
The study controlled for the people’s education, gender, race, ethnicity, and region.
– Sources: W. Bradford Wilcox, The Washington Post, 12/15/15.
Religious People Make Better Parents
Various studies show that religious people make better parents.
For example, the American Family Survey by Brigham Young University and the Deseret News found that “parents who attend religious services weekly are more likely to eat dinner with their children, do chores together, attend outings with their children, and praise and hug their children.”
Also, children from religious families are less likely to lie, cheat and steal; more likely to identify with the Golden Rule; and, more likely to have better self-control, social skills and better approaches to learning.
– Sources: W. Bradford Wilcox, The Washington Post, 12/15/15.
Religious People Are More Generous
Studies by the Marriage & Religion Research Institute and at Syracuse University have found that religious people, especially those who regularly attend services, are more generous.
The studies found that religious people are more likely than their secular counterparts to donate money and volunteer. In fact, the Syracuse University study found that religious people donate $1,388 more and volunteer on 6.5 more occasions.
The studies controlled for such variables as political beliefs, age, education level, income, gender, race, marital status, and location.
– Sources: Marriage & Religion Research Institute, 11/13/15.
Atheism versus Christianity
Atheists like to promote the false argument that religion has killed more innocent people than any other force in the history of mankind.
Is that really true about those people professing the Christian religion?
Actually, according to Vox Day in THE IRRATIONAL ATHEIST, atheist regimes in the 20th Century (such as Soviet Russia and Communist China, Vietnam, North Korea, and Cambodia) alone killed and murdered about 153.3 million people for philosophical, political and economic reasons (Democide). Meanwhile, in 2,000 years of history, people misrepresenting the Christian faith (which clearly teaches non-violence and even kindness toward its enemies) killed and murdered only about 1.65 million, or 93 times less the number of people in 20 centuries compared to only one century of atheist murders!!!
Democide* Statistics, Christianity vs. Atheism
|Category||Number of People Murdered|
|Atheist Democide in 1 century||153.36 million people|
|Christian Democide in 20 centuries||1.65 million people|
Democide includes genocide, political killings and murders, and mass murder.
Of course, atheist regimes may also build hospitals, schools and cities, but so do Christians and Christian nations. Even Hollywood (which is located in a city built by Christians called Los Angeles or “City of the Angels”) recognizes this fact. After all, have you never heard of the TV show ST. ELSEWHERE?
Clearly, atheist authoritarianism is totally inimical to the lives of all people everywhere. And, atheists should stop their vicious, deceitful slander of Christianity and Christians.
– Sources: www.godandscience.org.
Religious Wars Account for Only 7% of All Wars
According to the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WARS by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod, religious wars account for only 7%, or 123 of the 1,763 wars in recorded human history.
It is important to note that 66 of those religious wars, more than 50%, involved Islam, the so-called “religion of peace.” Yet, Islam did not even exist as a religion for 3,000 years of recorded human warfare!
Furthermore, only one of the U.S.A.’s 17 wars, the current “War on Terror,” has involved any religious entanglement (once again against violent, sexist extremist sects of Islam), despite the fact that the United States has been one of the most religious nations in the past 241 years of its existence.
In that light, please note that the Christian Crusades, especially the first one, were actually a defensive action against the barbarity, violence and warmongering of Islam and its Satanic scriptures, the Qur’an*.
Thus, when liberal atheists like Sam Harris (on page 12 of his book THE END OF FAITH) say that humanity’s tendency to slaughter one another “generally have their roots in religion,” he’s not telling the truth. Far from it!
For a defense of the historical truth of Christianity and Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection, see “You Can Trust the Easter Story!” at http://www.movieguide.org/news-articles/you-can-trust-the-easter-story-2.html.
– Sources: www.godandscience.org.
Look to Jesus, Not Socialism
“Great schemes of socialism have been tried and found wanting; let us look to regeneration by the Son of God, and we shall not look in vain.”
– The Rev Charles Spurgeon, 1891.
Be Skeptical of Skepticism
“A skeptic is a person who, when he sees the handwriting on the wall, claims it is a forgery.”
– Morris Bender.
AMERICAN ATTITUDES TOWARD RELIGION
Christian Americans Want Biblical Accuracy in Movies and TV
By significant majorities, Christian Americans say they want biblical and historical accuracy in movies and television programs (especially movies based on Bible characters like the recent NOAH and EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS) and want to see a historical movie about the rise of Christianity.
Three-quarters of Americans, about 72%, say they’re Protestant or Catholic.
|Belief||Percent of Christian Americans|
|Biblical and historical accuracy is important||79%|
|Interested in seeing a historical movie about the Bible||66%|
|More likely to see a movie that donates part of its profits to charity||62%|
|Would invite a Non-Christian friend to see a movie about God||60%|
|Christians should have greater influence in Hollywood||55%|
|Theaters don’t show enough movies exploring faith||41%|
Conducted by American Insights, the poll surveyed 1200 adults in May 2014.
– Sources: Christian News Service, 06/11/14.
Can Religion Answer All or Most Problems?
A plurality of Americans, 46%, believe religion “can answer all or most of today’s problems,” but 39% of Americans think religious is “largely old-fashioned and out of date,” according to a poll conducted in December 2018 by Gallup.
However, 72% of Americans in the poll said religion is fairly important or very important in their own life.
Of course, as President George Washington once observed, civilization and good government depend on religious faith and morality, particularly biblical faith and morality founded on the Christian faith.
Biblical faith is never out of date; it’s timeless.
– Sources: Gallup, 12/24/18.
Americans: Keep Christ in Christmas
More than two-thirds of Americans, 68%, think Christmas should be about Jesus Christ more than Santa Claus, according to a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports in December 2019.
Also, 67% of Americans believe stores should have signs saying “Merry Christmas” than ones saying “Happy Holidays.” In fact, 76% of Americans believe Christmas should be celebrated in the public schools, an increase of five percent compared to 2016.
Finally, 67% agree “the problem is not that religion is being forced on others. The problem is that. . . secular values are being forced on people of faith.”
– Sources: Rasmussen Reports, 12/18/19, 12/12/18.
Americans: Christmas Should Be Celebrated in Public School
A vast majority of Americans, 76%, think Christmas should be celebrated in the public schools, according to a December 2019 poll by Rasmussen Reports.
– Sources: Rasmussen Reports, 12/12/19.
America’s Religious Heritage
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
– President John Adams, October 11, 1798.
A Christian Nation!
“This is a Christian nation.”
– Supreme Court Ruling, “Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States,” opinion delivered by Justice David Brewer, 1892.