A Look into the American Belief in A Higher Power

Even the religious nones believe in something

The latest survey done by Pew Research discovered one-third of Americans believe in a higher power, but not in the God described in the Bible. For the members of this particular group, the transcendent is defined in relaxed terms. A few of them call it God while others do not.

More than 4,700 American adults participated in the survey. Only 56 percent of the respondents believe in a god as explained in Bible. It should be noted that in the United States, belief in any deity is common even within religiously unaffiliated. The latter is a group made of those who describe themselves as agnostic, atheist or nothing specific. The latter are collectively known as the religious “nones.” Surprisingly, 72 percent of nones believe in a higher power, even if it is not the one described in the Bible.

On an empirical level, about 48 percent of Americans say that a higher power or God directly influences what will happen to their life all or a majority of the time. An extra 18 percent hold the opinion that some higher power or God determines the circumstances they will face in the future only some of the time.

One-third of U.S. adults believe in a higher power of some kind, but not in God as described in Bible

Almost 80 percent of American adults believe a higher power or God has helped or protected them. Two-thirds of respondents believe that the Almighty has rewarded them. To compare, only a few view God as a punitive and judgmental entity. 60 percent of Americans believe any higher power or God will judge people on their deeds. 40 percent who say they have been punished in life claim their hardship is due to God or any other spiritual force.

The survey clearly shows that belief in God is on a decline. Christians, among all the religions, at 80 percent, believe God is as explained in the Bible. Black Protestants and evangelicals had the highest belief rates in a God as described by the Bible with 92 percent and 91 percent respectively. The numbers drop to 72 percent and 69 percent among the mainline Protestants and Catholics respectively. In comparison, only one-third of the respondent Jews believe in the Bible or in God. It is to be noted the survey had an insufficient number of Muslims or any other religion to be counted.

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