Thinktrain has moved! Redirecting…

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


A new Harris Poll reveals that most Americans believe in God but that we're not sure about much else. More than half of us (58 percent) are absolutely certain God exists, but nearly half (42 percent) aren't that confident. The latter group includes 15 percent who are "somewhat certain," 11 percent who think there is probably no God and 16 percent who are not sure.

For years in this kind of survey, an overwhelming majority (usually above 90 percent) report believing in God. Most of those surveys have been conducted by telephone, though, while this poll was conducted online. (Even though it was conducted via the Internet, Harris reports that its results are still scientifically drawn.) Harris notes that in recent years researchers have discovered that people are generally more willing to admit "potentially embarrassing beliefs" online than on the phone, perhaps because they are not speaking directly to another person when reporting via the internet.

The survey found that individuals are slightly more likely to believe in God if they fall within one of the following categories: Southerners, people older than 30 (especially the elderly), women, minorities and Republicans.

For whatever reason, almost no one thinks God is female. About one-third think God is male, another third think God is both male and female, and the remainder aren't sure or don't believe. Only one percent think God is a woman. Personally, I no longer have any idea, but I thought this was a curious finding.

I find it interesting to wonder about God and about the nature of faith and of existence. I always have, and I think most people do, too, to one degree or another. It's curious to me with an election right around the corner, one where belief in God is carried around as a litmus test for electability and where God is exploited frequently for political gain, that a whole lot of us really don't know what to make of who God is and whether God is even real.

No comments: