NEWSWEEK Poll: 90% Believe in God

The latest NEWSWEEK poll shows that 91 percent of American adults surveyed believe in God—and nearly half reject the theory of evolution.

By Brian Braiker

Newsweek

March 30, 2007 - A belief in God and an identification with an organized religion are widespread throughout the country, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. Nine in 10 (91 percent) of American adults say they believe in God and almost as many (87 percent) say they identify with a specific religion. Christians far outnumber members of any other faith in the country, with 82 percent of the poll’s respondents identifying themselves as such. Another 5 percent say they follow a non-Christian faith, such as Judaism or Islam. Nearly half (48 percent) of the public rejects the scientific theory of evolution; one-third (34 percent) of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact. Seventy-three percent of Evangelical Protestants say they believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years; 39 percent of non-Evangelical Protestants and 41 percent of Catholics agree with that view.

[Editor's note: That means that about half of the total population of the United States believes that God created humans less than 10,000 years ago. As we know, unlike almost all of the industrialized modern nations that accept the theory of evolution, America is on a par with Turkey. Such beliefs persist despite the fact that numerous lines of evidence indicate that humans were in North America more than 20,000 years ago. Indeed, human bones have been discovered in California that have been conclusively shown to be more than 13,000 years old! Fortunately for fundamentalist Christians, Americans appear to be relatively unaffected by reality. In response to such persistent delusions, we have coined a much needed new slogan for humanity, "Reality: Love it or Leave It!"]

Although one in ten (10 percent) of Americans identify themselves as having "no religion," only six percent said they don’t believe in a God at all. Just 3 percent of the public self-identifies as atheist, suggesting that the term may carry some stigma. Still, the poll suggests that the public’s tolerance of this small minority has increased in recent years. Nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents felt the country is more accepting of atheists today than it used to be and slightly more (49 percent) reported personally knowing an atheist. Those numbers are higher among respondents under 30 years old, 62 percent of whom report knowing an atheist (compared to just 43 percent of those 50 and older). Sixty-one percent of the under-30 cohort view society as more accepting of atheists (compared to 40 percent of the Americans 50 and older).

Still, it is unlikely that a political candidate would serve him or herself well by declaring their atheism. Six in ten (62 percent) registered voters say they would not vote for a candidate who is an atheist. Majorities of each major party — 78 percent of Repulicans and 60 percent of Democrats — rule out such an option. Just under half (45 percent) of registered independents would not vote for an atheist. Still more than a third (36 percent) of Americans think the influence of organized religion on American politics has increased in recent years. But the public is still split over whether religion has too much (32 percent) or too little (31 percent) influence on American politics. Democrats tend to fall in the "too much" camp (42 percent of them, as opposed to 29 percent who see too little influence) as Republicans take the opposite view (42 percent too little; 14 percent too much). In the poll, 68 percent of respondents said they believed someone could be moral and an atheist, compared to 26 percent who said it was not possible.

The NEWSWEEK Poll, conducted March 28-March 29, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points for questions based on all registered voters and plus or minus 6 percentage points for results based on registered Republicans and Republican leaners. In conducting the poll, Princeton Survey Research Associates International interviewed 1,004 adults aged 18 and older.

© 2007 MSNBC.com